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John Sorensen-Jolink | photo by Elizabeth Romanski John Sorensen-Jolink | photo by Elizabeth Romanski

Artist Feature: John Sorensen-Jolink

John Sorensen-Jolink is a dancer, choreographer and furniture designer living in Brooklyn, NY. Training: Jefferson High School  (Portland, OR); NYU’s Tisch School (BFA).  Credits: Twyla Tharp (Movin’ Out, Come Fly Away); Punchdrunk (Sleep No More); Tino Seghal (Kiss); Boris Charmatz (Levée des Conflits, 20 Dancers for the XX Century); Lucinda Childs (DANCE, Einstein on the Beach); Doug Elkins (Fraulein Maria, Hapless Bizarre); Eckert+Sorensen-Jolink (RescYou).

I am happy to say that today I dance because it gives me pleasure.  The pleasure derives more from performing movement and affecting and relating to others than from the way it feels to move through space, although I get pleasure from that too.  My evolution as a professional dancer began with lots of technique and lots of judgement of myself and the world around me.  I’ve spent almost 15 years trying to let that technique recede into the background, there when I need to call on it, but relaxed enough to allow my more human side to show in the way I move.  I’ve found that the more I let go of that technique that had been driven so hard into me from a young age, the more the judgement has gone with it.  About three years ago I began to listen to an already familiar desire to express my creativity in new ways.  I craved something more lasting and less etherial than an evening’s performance.  I wanted to make something with my hands.  I began taking woodworking classes, which eventually evolved into an apprenticeship with a craftswomen in a Brooklyn design studio.  After a bit, while still dancing full-time, I began making custom furniture for friends.  After a year of making custom pieces I presented my first full collection last May, which was very well received, and simultaneously launched my own design studio, Coil + Drift.  This March I will present my second full collection of furniture, lighting, and objects at the Architectural Digest Home Design Show.  I have just moved into a new, much larger, studio where I have two people working with me and am actively seeking a co-founder with a business background to join me to help expand the company.  My goal for the next year is to increase my manufacturing capabilities, which all take place locally using sustainable materials, to be able to handle the larger demand from new hotels and other commercial spaces that have started coming in.  It turns out I really love running a business and all the craziness that comes with it.  At the same time I still dance, no longer out of financial necessity, but because I still love it.  I just finished performing at The Joyce with Doug Elkins, with whom I’ve danced for for five years, and will continue to tour the same show this Spring and Summer.  I am proud to be a multi-medium artist and wouldn’t have it any other way.  I know artists have been crossing genres for a long time and I understand now why.  I see every day how much each discipline informs the other.

This is part of our ongoing Artist Features series, showcasing artwork in various visual and design mediums, made by dancers. Check back often to discover the diverse expressions of the movers you love.

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Post by Kenna Tuski

Kenna Tuski, a Portland Maine native, graduated from SUNY Purchase Conservatory of Dance with honors in the spring of 2013. Kenna was given the opportunity to study abroad at Taipei National University of the Arts in Taiwan in her Junior year at Purchase. In 2013–2014 Kenna worked with pop singer Betty Who as her personal assistant and tour manager. Kenna danced with Nimbus Dance Works and was assistant coordinator of their 2013 Nutcracker Production. She has toured nationally and internationally with Shen Wei Dance Arts and in 2014 became a performer in Punch Drunk’s Sleep No More.

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