Image by Marisol Diaz

plunge in/to 534

Johnnie Cruise Mercer

Plunged into the spirit, the body reacts and finds joy in exhaustion. It clings to the acceptance of weight. Pain becomes the inspiration for continuation. Exhaustion. Sweat. Blood. Your (our) fluids become the call to conjure figures that linger in the darkness. The audience, I, we all are transported into an exorcism, a ritual of containment, of freedom, of war between realism, and deep trance. Our poly-centric origin is given permission to possess us- as our people, we are called upon. Something responds. Deep. Inside, it responds. Conceptualized through the lens of Johnnie Cruise Mercer’s black southern queer-baptist roots, plunge in/to 534 initiates a ritualistic ceremony (a practice) that calls/responds to the need for emotional, spiritual and generational release.

From Fusebox Johnnie Cruise Mercer’s choreography prioritises non-cognitive experiences felt in the body as well as the active involvement of both social and subconscious compositions of self. His movement vernacular insists on a decolonized aesthetics that incorporates western phrasings when optimal rather than by default. Mercer’s Fusebox Festival 2018 performance plunge in/to 534 marks the premiere of the first work of ‘and to the decades of hell’, a four year creation process documenting, remembering, and engaging the years 2000-2020. Segmented into ten individual process-memoirs, Mercer prepares to question both personal and generational connections to the contemporary and peer into what follows soon after. Can we learn anything from our past (in)actions or are we doomed to repeat them?


“plunge in/to 534” is being explored while in residence at York College as a part of the Cuny Dance Initiative 2017-2018, and also with support from Abrons Arts Center through the Abrons AIRspace Grant Residency Program. It was also developed while in residence at Brooklyn Arts Exchange’s 2017 Fall Grant Space Program.

Choreography by Johnnie Cruise Mercer, Cast/Collaborators: Shanice Mason, Nick Rodrigues, Thomas Tyger Moore III, Creative Director/Visual Designer: Torian Ugworji

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