‘Being Future Being’: Indigenous show unites people and nature

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Emily Johnson (front) and Sugar Vendill (back) dance at Jacob’s Pillow theater in ​​Becket, Massachusetts, 2021. Photo by Cherylynn Tsushima.

A new show called the “Being Future Being” is debuting today at The Broad Stage in Santa Monica. It’s told from the perspective of an Indigenous artist who struggles with the relationship between people and the land they live on, and it combines immersive dance and conversation. 

Emily Johnson, the project’s creator and choreographer, is part of the Yup’ik Nation and grew up on Dena'ina land in Alaska, where she says she often played and danced among the trees. That experience informs how she views performance: It’s all about being one with nature.

“Even if we are on a stage or indoors, for example, we are thinking of our relationship and responsibility to the land, to us. That also means the land and the water, and the people whose land this is, as well as the people who currently live on this land, as well as our more-than-human kin.”