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Ryan K.  Johnson
Arts Advocate. Creative Director. Educator. Percussive Dance Practitioner.

“Mr. Johnson’s commitment to artistic excellence lives at the intersection of social consciousness and a life-long scholarly journey of performance, notably focused on body percussion and tap dance.” -Elena Velasco


Ryan K. Johnson

Multidisciplinary Artist & Practitioner of Percussive Dance Pedagogies & Andragogy

Ryan Johnson @rkj.dance is an award-winning Artist, who seeks to provoke, inspire, and hold space for cultural dialogue and reflection by presenting historically informed, intellectually rigorous, and genre-bending performance and dance engagement activities. He is the co-founder and Artistic Director for SOLE Defined Percussive Dance company, an artist in residence at Dance Place in Washington, DC. SOLE Defined’s mission is to re-establish percussive dance as a vital part of the concert dance community while cultivating art education programming in historically disinvested communities.

Johnson’s movement qualities have been called “purely amazing” by Septime Weber, Artistic Director of Hong Kong Ballet in a handwritten note after experiencing his solo performance at The John F. Kennedy Center for Performing Art. His work has been performed globally throughout Africa, North, South, and Central America, Southeast Asia, and on stages including Lincoln Center Out of Doors, Lincoln Center Clark Theater and The John F. Kennedy Center of Performing Arts, along with commissioned new works by Universities across the United States.

Johnson’s performance career includes The Beatles LOVE & One Drop by Cirque Du Soleil, STOMP, Step Afrika!, Broadway’s After Midnight Tour, Rose Rabbit Lie at The Cosmopolitan Hotel & Casino, and was a resident tap dancer for The Washington Ballet’s The Great Gatsby performances at The John F. Kennedy Center for Performing Arts. Highlights of his choreographic achievements are contributions to Step Afrika! 2006-2011 seasons, 2010 Season Premier of Extreme Makeover Home Edition, The International Body Music Festival in Brazil, and Cirque Du Soleil A Choreographers’ Showcase.

Along with his extensive performance history, Mr. Johnson served on multiple grant review panels for the National Endowment of Art, along with other local panels to support artists, and arts organizations. As an educator, Johnson has served on faculty as an Adjunct Professor at Ball State University, Coppin State University, and guest lecturer at Universities across the country. He’s taught at Broadway Dance Center, Millennium LV, LA Tap Festival at Debbie Allen School of Dance, Motor City Tap Festival, and Black College Dance Festival and numerous dance studios, conventions and festivals across the United States.

He continues to weave together the techniques, history, and aesthetics of Tap Dance, Body Percussion, Stepping, and Theater to forge works that reclaim Black narratives. Ryan K. Johnson actively engaging in cultivating conversations and systems to support the equality of Black, Indigenous and People of Color artists.

  Download Ryan’s Bio and Resume 

“I am inspired by the discipline, drive, and integrity with which Ryan works. He’s a wonderful collaborator and is deeply committed to his vision, personal and artistic growth.” -Ayodele Casel




Sole Defined.Dynamic, Infectious, and High Energy.



SOLE Defined is the intersection of music, movement, and imagination, providing a multifaceted experience promoting an understanding and appreciation for African-American percussive dance forms rooted in the African Diaspora. SOLE Defined seeks to provoke, inspire, and hold space for cultural dialogue and reflection by presenting historically informed, intellectually rigorous, and genre-bending performance and dance engagement activities. SOLE Defined’s mission is to use percussive dance to raise awareness about social and economic issues directly affecting people of color. SOLE Defined uses percussive dance to entertain the masses, educate communities, and empower youth. We are committed to creating high-quality immersive performances, art integrated curriculum, and policies that advance the visibility of Black vernacular percussive dance.

SOLE Defined Press Kit
Visit SOLE Defined.com


Recent Work.

STOMPStep Afrika!Bloc South

The Washington BalletSOLE Defined.

Broadway Dance CenterCirque du SoleilUS EmbassyExtreme Makeover Home Edition

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