Shemica Watkins-Johnson is a dancer, performer and teacher with extensive experience in traditional and contemporary dances of the African diaspora including Afro-Haitian, Hip hop, Gineue and Dancehall. Born in Nuremberg, Germany and raised in Oakland, California, Shemica comes from a family of dancers, including her parents who were international performers and competitive dancers. Dancing under the tutelage of Linda Johnson since age five and training at Laney College, Malonga Center for the Arts, and with various teachers and studios in Oakland and across the Bay Area, Watkins-Johnson has emerged as one of the Bay Area’s most versatile and captivating dancers.
Her performance experience includes appearances in John Lee Hooker’s “Dimples” video (2010) and the San Francisco Ethnic Dance Festival (2012) with Rara Tou Limen, a Bay-Area based Afro-Haitian group directed by Portsha Jefferson. She has choreographed and directed dance pieces for performances at Dance Mission Theater, Oakland’s Pan African Festival, East Side Arts Cultural Center, and many more. In 2013, Shemica was crowned Oakland’s Dancehall Queen.
Shemica is the originator of Caliwynd, a dance style with influences in Afro-Haitan, Reggae Vybz and Hip Hop. Her dance and teaching practice is rooted in the understanding that dance builds community by uniting people and unlocking their ability for uninhibited creative expression for healing and empowerment. She currently works as an artist collaborator with Afro Urban Society, an organization dedicated to bringing together urban African art, culture and people. Watkins-Johnson’s goal is to leave a dance legacy for her daughter, which includes rolling out Caliwynd to a broader audience across the United States, her birthplace of Germany and all over the world.