Johari Mayfield is a dancer, choreographer, activist, healer, anatomy geek, and ACE certified personal trainer living in New York City. After training extensively in ballet with Sylvester Campbell, she received a scholarship to the Ailey School, where she studied for over two years. She has been a performer in NYC with Forces of Nature Dance Theatre, Joan Miller’s Dance Players, and Peggy Choy Dance Company. As a choreographer, her work has been presented at several different venues including HERE Arts Center, The Gatehouse at Aaron Davis Hall, 45 Bleecker Theater, and Dance Theatre Workshop (now New York Live Arts). She received her ACE certification in 1998 and, since then, has been an avid personal trainer, providing both group and private instruction for a diverse range of movers.
In addition to dance, fitness, and choreography, Johari has authored two comic books: Wildcard, written with visual artist Teylor Smirl, and Wildlife. Wildcard was publicly presented in January 2011 as part of the Schomberg Center for Research in Black Culture’s conference “The State of African American and African Diaspora Studies: Methodology, Pedagogy, and Research.” She has also conducted research on the therapeutic potential of creative movement training in treating victims of sex trafficking. Most recently, she self published Ayana and Jamal Dance Presents, a coloring book that addresses the need for children to remember the importance of movement and healthy food choices. Johari’s community outreach initiatives have included children’s workshops on healthy eating at Lincoln Medical and Mental Health Center, and movement and fitness with Girls Education and Mentoring Service (GEMS), an organization committed to empowering survivors of sexual exploitation and Reveal NYC, a nonprofit organization that encourages female survivors of domestic violence in self-care.
"Double Dutch meets Martha Graham, meets African dance, meets Beat-boxing” best describes my current eclectic alchemy of dance, theatre, music, and digital media. But those are containers, words, images. They are not the viscera that fill them. To understand the living, moving inside of my process, we must watch children. Frustrating, non-linear, captivating, and eventually so wise, children are at the heart of my artistic momentum.
Teaching children requires me to be alert and open to imagination as the ruling vehicle. I attempt to transcend judgment, fear, linear narratives, the deadly trifecta of beginning/middle/end, and the oppressive binary of good or bad. I strive to take this magic and wield it to create new spaces for myself and my collaborators. I invite spontaneity to spring forth, as I hold on or let go, to begin with fresh eyes every single time.