The press wrote about Stigma
The creature is in all its foreignness so intense that the spectator almost instinctively must erupt: Don’t come any closer! … But from inside of the demonic coat, the humor momentarily gleams… And occasionally, the dancers naked skin and muscles are reduced to abstract expressive forms… Through the minimalism you begin to perceive a comprehensive spectrum of visions. Half an hour’s concise performance, mightier than its size. The strongest experience on the Opening day of the Festival. Tenka Issakainen, Lapin Kansa, Finland, June 2019
STIGMA was created in 1999 …. and could be even more relevant than when it was created 20 years ago. In contemporary society where identity politics can be a defining narrative of one’s place in the world based on colour and class; stigmatisation is an internal battle that every human faces. Bringing these challenges into choreographic thinking with the body expands the conversation beyond a place in time and space – the meaning of the piece grows as the environmental landscape changes.
Cloe Chotrani, Artsequator, Singapore, July 2019
The world of STIGMA is peculiar and stunning… a visual feast…. I sat there with a sense of wide-eyed curiosity and amazement. And perhaps it is through this curious lens without preconception or prejudice that STIGMA encourages us to approach the other. Despite being 20 years old STIGMA still feels fresh and avant-garde.
Valerie Lim, Five Lines, Singapore, June 2019
Stigma presents a creature unlike any I have seen before (…) The rumbling, wet soundscape keeps you on edge with your eyes on Johnson, as it made me feel as she could sprint straight off stage into the audience at any moment. Johnson’s incredible body control and unique manipulation of costuming attest to her massive worldwide success.
Deanne Kearney, Mooney on theatre, Canada, November 2018
This intriguing work is very European … Johnson’s cerebral choreography contains the wisdom of the ages, and is fey, even precious in its presentation. There is a delicacy and whimsy to her work that is just not part of a North American aesthetic.
Paula Citron, The Globe and Mail, Canada, October 2004
Stigma is, at heart, a meditation on connotation – not just the meanings of the title but the signs and significances of the body. When she moves, Johnson creates an incredibly flexible body-language that can be grotesquely deformed, incredibly vulnerable, richly personal yet highly expressive of inner states. Her body sets up no filters, no defences. It lays itself bare to influences of light and dark, sound, and some invisible spiritual force. When she stands unhooded, bare-breasted and almost nude, with a shower of sand pouring down on her upturned face, she completes a stunning composition of hypnotic intensity, shifting geometric shapes and planes, extraordinary animality and ineffable spirituality. She turns the gothic into something mysteriously magical.
Keith Garebian, Stage and Page, Canada, November 2004
Johnson is an absolutely riveting performer. She could almost be seen as an amalgan of two styles’ greatest exponents – Kazuo Ohno crossed with Mary Wigman. Stigma is the pinnacle of seasoned artistry.
Michael Crabb, National Post, Canada, October 2004
Not since Ingmar Bergman filled the screen with haunting images of gloom and doom has such a character visited us …
William Littler, Toronto Star, Canada, October 2004
Disturbing transformations powered by inner states … elegantly, phantasmagorically minimal.
Deborah Jowitt, The Village Voice, USA, August 2003
The body is a microscope or telescope through which we observe the minute and the vast pulse of life simultaneously … Johnson’s exposed back and flanged shoulder blades, her ribs and breasts become gaping mouths, planes and hollows, shifting optical illusions under the influence of which we loose our grip on reality … a wonderful manipulation of audience perception that also carries a profound social message. What is a stigma? … Johnson’s tight, controlled work remains etched in our minds, covering less ground and more constricted meaning, but full and complete. It suggests that the power of the solo is the ability to stand both inside and outside a work of imagination, as both shaman and artist, medium and message, if you will, controlled and controlling.
Allison Tracey, The Berkshire Eagle, USA, July 2003
… as a tribute to the downtrodden … a female counterpart of the lackless fellow who became a cockroach in Kafka’s story … unusual, vividly expressive solo … The continuing vitality of the soloform was affirmed.
Jack Anderson, New York Times, USA, July 2003
… dance in a class of its own … She needed no stage hardware to transform the space into one breathing presence, gathered up into one tremendous concentration on the marginal, yet immortal, being which was created before our very eyes. It in turn became creatures, beyond control of the possible, … fetched from the cells’ blacked out memory.
Janus Kodal, Politiken, Denmark, February 2003
A Sorceress in the greatcoat of a desert insect…undergoing various curious and alarming deformations she exposes the body from the angle of a peculiar and cold animality. An extraordinary composition…scalding and rigorous. Don’t miss it.
L.V.D.W., L’Express, Belgium, August 2001
A rich inner world of images … the body looks hollow and spiritual … the touch of her extremities on the floor is hypnotizing … Her movement quality creates a halo of magic.
Ruth Eshel, Ha’aretz, Israel, June 2001
Kitt Johnson’s presence enchants the soul… as a character out of an early Ingmar bergman film – dark and mysteriously ominous. It is a modest, but brave and mature work that touches the emotions and challenges the intellect.
The Jerusalem Post, Israel, June 2001
A masterpiece on stage. Huge bravura, a lot of atmosphere, deep emotion. The plasticity of the body, the perfection of the gestures and the absolute harmony between sound and movement fused into the most excellent artistic expression.
La Paginaquattro, Italy, March 2001
The hit of the evening was Kitt Johnson’s intense Stigma, which – as a grotesque transformation image – transformed itself from a pale pietist and suffering Madonna into an insect in the dessert, a fallen black angel and a sqealing witch racing across stage. Brilliant!
Majbritt Hjelmsbo, Weekendavisen, November 1999
A victory for Kitt Johnson who enters the endless column of pouring dust grains in no-man’s-land… the most bizarre endurance…a clarity of form and a dramaturgic balance of tension which marks the result of years of work – nonchalant and unostentatiously served like rare delicacies on a sushi plate…impelled by the fiery music of Sture Ericson and Jacob Kirkegaard.
Anne Middelboe Christensen, Information, November 1999
Via deformations of the body, including the creation of absurd body dimensions and perspectives through an imaginative utilization of costume and light, one experiences an incredible intensity in Kitt Johnson’s slow and minimalistic body language…nicely accompanied by fine sound images.
Vibeke Wern, Berlingske Tidende, November 1999
A sinister creature in whom the stigmatization has worked marking all joints of a crumpled, gnarled, hunchbacked body…a composition of extreme control…more efficient than most solowork.
Alexander Meinertz, Politiken, November 1999
Photo: James Quah
Performer: Kitt Johnson