Kathy Johnson Teaches World Figure Skating Champion Patrick Chan:
She moved to New York after she was accepted to the prestigious Juilliard School when she was a teen.
After living and dancing in New York for a number of years, Johnson moved to Munich, Germany where she had an opportunity to dance with Tanzprojekt Munchen, a modern repertory company that was based in Germany. It was with Tanzprojekt that she had an opportunity to work with some of the most well respected choreographers in the modern dance world.
When her performing career ended, she attended graduate school at Temple University in Philadelphia and received a Master’s Degree in Dance. She taught college level modern dance classes and also taught dance in private studios.
Figure Skating Involvement:
Johnson began to work with her own daughter off the ice in exploring that use of center, shift of weight, and precision of body line. Other coaches at the local ice arena began to notice the work she was doing with Tess and asked her to work with their students. Eventually she was asked to teach some dance classes for figure skaters.
Figure Skating Choreographer Tom Dickson "Discovered" Kathy Johnson:
Dickson and Johnson started a dialogue and an exchange of ideas comparing the skating world and the dance world. As time passed, Tom suggested she start a modern dance program at the Colorado Springs World Arena Ice Hall. Together, the two developed a program that they felt would enable skaters to take what they learned in the dance studio and directly relate it to what they do on the ice.
Kathy and Tom wanted to develop figure skating artists. They also worked closely with other figure skating coaches and choreographers to address the needs of figure skaters.
How Kathy Johnson Helps Figure Skaters:
Kathy Johnson travels from her home in Kansas City to figure skating training centers to work with some of the world's best figure skaters. The work Johnson does with elite skaters is ithe same work she does with all skaters. Everyone has to develop the basic vocabulary of movement and dynamics.
She works closely with other choreographers and makes sure that she addresses exactly what the choreographers want to see from their skaters when they perform a program. She also works closely with the skaters' coaches to make sure it is a team effort in putting together a program that is technically, musically, dynamically and artistically brilliant.
Elite Figure Skaters, Including Patrick Chan, Enjoy Working With Kathy Johnson:
Some of the elite skaters Johnson works with, including Patrick Chan, ask her to accompany them to competitions to continue the off ice and on ice work they do at home. At the 2012 World Team Trophy for Figure Skating, Johnson functioned as Chan's primary coach.