Jenny Johnson


Jenny Johson

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 few 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.