Meet 6x9 dancer: Johnny Huy Nguyen, "Ramon delos Santo"
Where were you born?
Calgary, Alberta, Canada
What is your favorite food?
I have so many. My mom’s pho, fried chicken, dumplings, potato chips, donuts. I do eat lots of vegetables and eat quite healthy on the regular though. I swear!
Tell us about your understanding of your character, and what you bring to your performance of them.
I’m in the process of really getting to know my character, Ramon. He’s experienced a lot of pain and loss in his life. He’s in a place of despair and I imagine it would be a daily struggle to fight the demons, but he’s committed to living and getting to the other side. In my work, I like to be in conversation with the characters I play. I will write from the perspective of my character to get into their head and heart, what they’re thinking, what they’re feeling, what’s most important to them. I want to get to the nuances and complexities of this person. When it comes to performance day, I literally talk with my character and ask them what they want me to communicate through my body. From there, I do my best to give myself up to the spirit of my character, this other being. It’s me and not me all at the same time.
Describe your most intense moment as a dancer.
I have a lot of memorable moments, but one that definitely sticks out in my mind was when I was in an altered state and discovered the dance form of vogue in my own body. I was at a club in SF called Mighty to see Kerri Chandler, a world-renowned deep house DJ. The music was amazing and I just had to dance right from the jump. I felt the joy of movement and music that I first felt when I started dancing. What surprised me most is that very feminine movements and expressions began to move through my body. I started out with breaking but knew the voguers in my hometown Calgary. I even took some classes with them at the beginning of my dance journey years ago, but I just couldn’t quite “get it”’. I always admired them but figured the dance was not for me. The best way I can explain it is that I was trying to wear clothes that didn’t quite fit my style, like the clothes are wearing you and not the other way around. That night though, the movements just came out of me and it felt natural. It was a revelation for me connecting with the feminine aspect of my being and there was so much joy in it. I felt like expressing my feminine aspect actually only served to strengthen my masculine. It’s the balance. Since then, I’ve continued to practice and train in vogue alongside the other styles I do.
Johnny Huy Nguyen is a dancer, performance artist, and child educator based in San Francisco, California. He graduated from the University of Calgary with a degree in Mechanical Engineering, but his life changed when he started dancing in clubs at age 23 and then later began training in street dance. Starting first with breaking, his dance practice has expanded to encompass a variety of styles including house, vogue, and contemporary. Past and current projects include work with Embodiment Project and Lenora Lee Dance Company. This will be his first project with Alleluia Panis and Kularts. As an artist, his vision is to use his craft and creativity to activate awareness, healing, and action in ways that are raw, vulnerable, and honest.