Artist of the Month: Johanna Kepler

Sara Hogenboom, Staff Writer

by Sara Hogenboom

Every two years junior Johanna Kepler returns to her native Guatemala. She is not on vacation, however. She is there to work. She is there to teach dance.


Kepler works with an organization called Common Hope, which helps Guatemalan kids complete school. The organization does everything from setting up clinics, to stocking libraries and providing food baskets. It also allows volunteers to teach a speciality if they have one and for Kepler, it is dance.


According to Kepler, she travels to Guatemala with one of her mothers, and really enjoys teaching and seeing the kids dance.

Photo contributed by Johanna Kepler. Kepler teaches dance in Guatemala. She has traveled back to her native country twice in five years.
Photo contributed by Johanna Kepler. Kepler teaches dance in Guatemala. She has traveled back to her native country twice in five years.


“They love dancing. They are really shy at first, but it’s just a really great way to express yourself,” Kepler said. “Because they all live in pretty tough situations, you just kind of put yourself out there and forget what’s going on at home.”


Kepler was adopted from Guatemala when she was about a year old. Now, sixteen years later, Kepler said she feels like she has a duty to go back to help.


“I need to go back and connect with the people in my country and give everything and anything that I have,” she said.


On average Kepler dances six days a week. She dances in the student-run group Cantico at the high school, at Mass Motion Dance Academy and with the BoSoma Dance Company. Kepler said while she is primarily interested in modern and contemporary dance, she also takes classes in ballet and hip-hop.


According to Cantico captain senior Eva Ringquist, Kepler expresses her passion for dance through her dedication and hard work.


“She is one of those people that you can tell that she loves it because she will stay for an extra hour after we rehearse so she can just practice things that she is performing for other things,” Ringquist said. “She is constantly dancing.”


According to Kepler’s mother, Karen Kepler, dance has really helped her daughter strengthen her inner voice, and that it has made her a much more mature.


“Dance has made her a very positive and hardworking person,” Karen Kepler said.


According to Kepler, dance puts a lot of stress on her body and that it is very common for dancers to get injuries. However Ringquist said that Kepler is never one to complain if her body is hurting; she just keeps on dancing.


“When she is freestyling you can see just a release of stress in her eyes,” Ringquist said. “Her body just relaxes and you can see the enjoyment in her expression with the movements, and it just seems like an escape for her.”

Sara Hogenboom can be contacted at [email protected]