C. Nicholas Johnson: Co-Founder

c. johnsonMr. Johnson’s career in movement arts began in 1977 with a parallel interest in both mime theatre and dance. He was introduced to mime by Gregg Goldston and dance by Joan Woodbury in Salt Lake City, developing his early movement skills in mime, modern, jazz, and ballet classes. Johnson continued his parallel training in New York City with world renowned Polish mime director/performer, Stefan Niedzialkowski. He became a company member of Niedzialkowski’s New York company Mimedance Theatre and performed in New York from 1980-1983. Johnson continued to train in dance with Frank Hatchett, Richard Levi, De Marco. In 1980, he co-founded the Goldston School for Mimes, a summer residency program dedicated to teaching mime based at Kenyon College, Gambier, Ohio. At the School for Mimes he began to fuse his eclectic training into an artistic vision of choreography that reflects both mime and dance. Goldston and Johnson further combined their efforts by forming The Invisible People Mime Theatre in 1986. The company toured extensively in the Mid-Western United States from 1986-1993. The Invisible People was invited in 1988 to perform at the Marcel Marceau World Centre for Mime in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Mr. Marceau, delighted by what he saw, then became mentor and advisor to the school and company. Johnson created the solo A Fisherman’s Dream for Mr. Marceau in 1995. In 1996, the Invisible People further delighted audiences as invited guests of The International Children’s Theater Festival, Hong Kong. In 1989, due to his dedication to teaching and the quality of his work, Johnson became Associate Artistic Director when the school was renamed The Goldston & Johnson School for Mimes. In 1986, the school invited Marcel Marceau to teach his Seminar in America at the school, a tradition that would continue for five more years. Since 1998, Niedzialkowski has also taught his Beyond the Word seminars at the recently renamed – School for Mime Theatre.
In 1990 Johnson developed Alithea Creations, a company dedicated to the production of single discipline and multi-discipline performances in mime theatre. Recognizing the need of a strong identity in American mime theatre, Johnson began to create new works and re-stage former company pieces that would later become the touring repertory for the Alithea Mime Theatre, a performing company that would highlight his group and solo choreography. Angels Rising and Asylum would soon become the signature works.c. john
In 1994, further blending of the arts occurred when Mr. Johnson premiered his production Seg way, a multi-disciplinary performance combining film with mime, dance and original music, Tucson, Arizona. After re-staging, the production was introduced to Chicago audiences at the Ruth Page Theater in 1996. In 1997, Alithea Mime Theatre performed his repertory works at the Athenaeum Theatre, Chicago. Johnson received a 1998 Kansas Arts Commission Fellowship for his multi-disciplinary vision. Fusing mime theatre and film, he also placed 1st and 3rd in the 1998 Kan Film Festival for the experimental Seg way films and won 1st place in the Wichita National Short Film Competition 2002.
As Artistic Director of The Alithea Mime Theatre, a company based in Wichita, Johnson and Sabrina Vasquez, wife and Associate Artistic Director have toured Alithea to the International Mime Art Festival, Warsaw, Poland, in May 2000, and the First International Mime and Physical Theatre Festival in the Caribbean, San Juan, Puerto Rico, in May 2001. The documentary film, Beyond the Word, made in collaboration with the Wichita State University Media Resource Center documenting the tour to Poland, directed by Greg Mathias, won a national Telly award in 2001.
Screen shot 2009-11-16 at 12.56.13 PMHis love of working with young people has kept him busy in many states engaging his students in final performances and original productions highlighted by his mime theatre production -The Nickracker. In January 2000, Alithea Creations created and produced ‘Alice’ , a multi-disciplinary children’s theatre production based on Through the Looking Glass, and featuring the creative talents in collaboration with Rick Wamer, Stephen Chipps, and Sabrina Vasquez.
Academically, Mr. Johnson completed an MFA in Dance/Drama at the University of Arizona, Tucson, in 1990, and became adjunct faculty where he kick started the jazz dance program and introduced mime theatre classes to the curriculum. In 1997, Johnson accepted a job as Director of Dance at Wichita State University, Wichita, Kansas. From 1997 to the present he has been teaching mime theatre, modern dance, jazz dance, and movement for actors while continuing to perform and choreograph his unique blend of mime and dance. The Alithea Mime Theatre tours Kansas as part of the Kansas Arts Commission touring roster, performing repertory works and introducing mime theatre to an area that previously experienced little or no exposure to the art.
Johnson and Alithea Mime Theatre continue to perform, choreograph, and teach year around in Wichita, nationally, and internationally.