Jenny was born in Bristol on November 2nd,1945, to Jewish parents. Her mother’s ancestors came from Belarus and her father was an American naval officer during the 1939-1945 World War. As they were unable to share in her upbringing, Jenny was placed with various "mothers" until 1947 - when she was finally adopted by the Johnsons, who lived in Westbury-on-Trym. She began to write poems at the age of 5, by which time she had been an enthusiastic pupil in a ballet class for 2 years. From 1957 to 1964, she attended The Red Maids’ School, the oldest girls’ school in England.
Poetry writing, including a poem about the meeting with her birthmother in 1984, continued until she was 50, after which her creative energy became almost dormant for a decade. When, quite unexpectedly, it re-emerged, it was through both poetry and choreography for circle dancers. The latter is now a passion equal to that of writing and Jenny is grateful for the influence of her main teachers: Julie Bell and Chrisandra Harris in Nottingham, Val Dawes in rural Devon and Friedel Kloke-Eibl, who lives in Germany.
Jenny sees all circle dance as an opportunity to integrate mind, body and spirit: to heal the individual, the community and the wider world. She first came to it in 1996 while beginning to recover from her 3rd bout of severe depressive illness. The music she uses is widely varied and she believes that there is no real divide between the spiritual and the secular: if music, of whatever kind, touches her heart and inspires her to create a dance, that in itself is to be honoured. In the past 2 years, she has led day events featuring her own dances.
Jenny now lives in Exmouth, Devon, with her husband, Noel; here, by the sea, she finds the energy much more conducive to creativity than it was in the city. Besides having a son, Alex, who is married and lives in Nottingham, she is the owner of an adult tricycle, Triksi.
DATES FOR YOUR DIARY
SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 2ND, 2013: Dances with Many Colours - a day event when Jenny will teach her own dances at the Small World Theatre, Cardigan, West Wales. Teaching his own dances alongside her will be Bob Minney, who is a talented composer and musician as well as being a dancer and choreographer. They are very different from each other in their dance style and manner of teaching - which at least makes for variety. Jenny has created dances to several of Bob's musical pieces and will share at least one of these on the day. Dancers are asked to bring vegetarian or vegan food to share for lunch. The event starts at 10.30am and ends at 4.30pm and the cost, according to what the purse will allow, is as follows: Early Bird - deadline AUGUST 2ND - £10 to £14; Late Bird - deadline OCTOBER 19TH - £16 to £20. Bob will be playing live music to accompany some of his dances.
IN THE AUTUMN OF 2014, Jenny and Bob hope to lead another circle dance day, this time in Old Colwyn, North Wales.
IN THE NEXT FEW MONTHS, Jenny's book, Selected Poems: Revised & New, will be published by Brimstone Press. The exact publication date and cost are yet to be decided, so watch this space! Meanwhile, you might like to read some of the poems on this website. Jenny intends to launch her book at a venue in Exmouth, possibly the local library, and has invited her husband, Noel Harrower, to provide a contrast by reading some of his poetry and prose.
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION ABOUT ANY OF THESE EVENTS, please contact Jenny via this website or by telephone: 01395 271731 or 07751 673340. Cheques should be made out to "J.H.Harrower" and sent to: Jenny Johnson, Ground Floor Flat, 6 Lyndhurst Road, EXMOUTH, Devon EX8 3DT.