PORTAGE | When Natalie Johnson was growing up in Portage she wanted to be a mad scientist.
That might explain why the 2008 Portage High School graduate double majored in biology and dance at the University of California Irvine.
It was the creative side of Johnson that won out after she graduated in 2012 and it's that creativity that's led the 24-year-old woman to New York City where, on Sunday, she will be performing an original dance number to some of the world's top dancers, choreographers, producers, agents and managers.
"My hope is for better exposure. It is very hard as a fresh face to be known. This allows me to have some actual presence," Johnson said.
She will perform as part of the Association of Performing Arts Presenters annual conference Sunday as part of a showcase of artists at the Peridance Capezio Center.
"I will be dancing my own work. I'll be performing a duet that I choreographed by myself with one of my dancers," she said. The original piece is titled "KEYp me," she said, and explores choice and its impact on the individual.
Johnson began her own company, Natalie in Motion, in 2012, a project-based effort to showcase not only her dancing and choreography, but also her efforts as a photographer, videographer and movement artist.
The showcase, Johnson said, is a place to be discovered, to be seen and recognized as a creative entity in the community.
Johnson had to apply to perform in the showcase by submitting a video of her work.
"My performances prior to this would have been in a school setting," she said, likening the event to a "taste testing," where people come to browse the newest talent and hope to find the next big thing.
"It is just an honor for someone my age to be participating," she said.