Djassi DaCosta Johnson is a native New Yorker, dancer, choreographer, filmmaker, photographer, writer, anthropologist and activist. A product of dance scholarship programs, growing up in New York City, Djassi studied at Harlem School of the Arts, Ballet Hispanico, Clark Center and as a fellowship student at Alvin Ailey American Dance Center while obtaining her BA in Anthropology and English from Barnard College, Columbia University. She has apprenticed, performed and toured with, Dance Brazil, Earl Mosley, Hernando Cortez, Bill T. Jones, Nia Love, Urban Bush Women, among others, and was a featured soloist with MOMIX for 8 years. Her choreography has been showcased internationally in films, music videos and performance piece collaborations with musicians and visual artists such as Eddie Peake, Brendan Fernandes and Lia Chavez.
Djassi’s love of fashion has infected her dance, and in 2002, she founded her line of women’s clothing, dja. She continues to design and currently has a line of bags and accessories as part owner of the store and artist collaborative Radical Women, based in Brooklyn, NY.
In 2017, Djassi collaborated wth the Museum of Sex as creative director/ choreographer for their first Virtual Reality Installation featuring music by DIPLO, “Celestial Bodies”, currently running. Djassi’s styling, designs and choreography were recently displayed in the music video for “Civil War” from Joan Baez’s 2018 visual album for which she also danced.
After working in Film &Television in Italy for 7 years, Djassi’s recent state-side film & TV credits include THE INTERN, BOLDEN!, “The Knick” and “The Get Down” among others and she has been featured in ads for Volkswagen, FIAT, Ferarrelle BlackStartup.com, Kate Spade, Stuart Weitzman, Coach, PHILLIPS, La Placa Cohen and VERIZON.
Djassi obtained her MFA in Dance & New Media from NYU Tisch in 2018 as a Dean’s Fellow, traveling abroad for her thesis research in Cuba. She is also in post production for her mini-documentary profiling black Brazilian Ballerinas history and current presence at Dance Theater of Harlem and will further develop her thesis work with the Acosta Danza company – photography, dance films and mini-documentaries — for a solo show this coming Fall. Djassi’s student film, “.sleepless.” was selected and screened at the Barnard Film festival “Moving Body-Moving Image” in April of 2018. Djassi is also a published writer and currently an arts contributor for the international lifestyle magazine KINFOLK.