Memory Withholdings is predicated on the collective consciousness, a shared history and reality that informs our practices, our bodies, and our dreams. While this is hardly a singular idea, Memory Withholdings is a porous project that draws from the immediacy of it?s environment, audience, and moment in time. Through movement LOVE|FORTÉ is exploring the residue of oppression, the mechanics of survival, and the weight of memory held and emanated in the body, over generations– through gesture, stance, gait, and expression. We too, have galvanized our bodies with the powers of architectural structures and their holdings, in an effort to fully realize the inter knitted, crisscrossing complexities of memory and it’s power to reinvent, rebuild, and reconfigure life and death’s partnership.
Finally, as artists of successive generations we?re often challenged with institutions looking to support either the emerging or established artist. Rarely do we get to introduce ourselves as a composite of both, with emerging and experienced perspectives that are essential to the rich foundations of our work.
LOVE|FORTÉ came from a desire to develop transformative work at a transitional point in our careers. In 2010, Nia Love?s BSD|dance was centered in her teaching and Marjani Fort was concluding her work with Urban Bush Women. With a 20yr age gap between us, we realized that our creative union was unique to the dance world, yet aligned with our spiritual & creative philosophies. Each maintains that learning is cyclical, process-driven, and culturally rooted. LOVE|FORTÉ?s repertory include Sign Posts and the iterative project developed over a 2 year residency at Brooklyn Arts Exchange, called Memory Withholdings; an ethnological and experiential study of memory held in the bodies and practices of African descendants in North America. LOVE|FORTÉ embraces a spectrum of performance venues and spaces i.e. theatre, installation/ gallery, and site-speci?c spaces. Current and recent activities include WOW Café (Sign Posts), DanceNOW at Joe’s Pub festival 2011 & 2012, Movement Research at Judson Church (2013), No Longer Empty Exhibit Site-Speci?c Performances (2013), guest artists for Mascher Space Fresh Juice performance series co-sponsored by The Requisite Movers in Philadelphia, PA, and upcoming at the Pillsbury Theatre in Minneapolis, MN curated by Laurie Carlos.LOVE|FORTÉ are recent recipients of the Mertz Gilmore Foundation Production Grant awarded to us by way of Brooklyn Arts Exchange for the production of Memory Withholdings at the culmination of our residency May 2014.
Nia was invited to apprentice with the world renowned Ballet Nacíonal De Cubá in the very early part of her career. Nia Love graduated from Howard University with a BFA, pursuing her two life-long interest: medicine and performance. Love received numerous choreographic awards before gaining admission to the graduate program in Dance at Florida State University, earning her MFA and graduating with honors and distinction for her academic and artistic excellence. Love was awarded the prestigious 2001-2003 Fulbright Fellow as a lecturer/researcher and continues to work in England, Guinea, Gambia, Ghana, Mali, Japan, Paris, Colombia, Cuba, the USA, and most recently Tanzania. She has taught, performed, and guest lectured at some of the most distinguished art and educational institutions and festivals throughout the USA and abroad including American Dance Festival, Fordham/Ailey BFA, Texas Woman’s University, Princeton, Hunter College, Visa2Dance-Dar Es Salaam-Tanzanian Dance Festival, Williams College, Smith College, Sarah Lawrence College, Florida A&M, Florida State University, Columbia University, Barnard College, and the University of Ghana at Légòn. Nia worked in Japan with Min Tanaka, one of the most celebrated Butoh masters, on his Poe Project, written and conceived by Susan Sontag. Her own work has been presented at Black Choreographers Moving Towards the 21st Century, Bates Dance Festival, Alvin Ailey under the NDCL as the 2013 choreographer awardee, Harlem Stage, Tanzanian Time 2Dance Festival in conjunction with the Suitcase Fund. Her newly investigated and performed project entitled S(oil) was made possible, in part, by the Africa and Middle East Cultural Partnerships Program of the Suitcase Fund, an initiative of New York Live Arts. Love’s continued exploration of choreographic investigation with a deep sense of independence and autonomy accessed her to pave her own path, traveling basically without allegiance to any particular company but rather to the world of dance, in a continued pursuit of global language. Her new collaboration and partnership with Love|Forté is an unmistakable act of intergeneration solidarity.
Marjani Forté Saunders
Saunders is a 2014 Princess Grace Choreography Fellowship Awardee and has received support from the Foundation of Contemporary Arts (2012), Puf?n Foundation (2013), 651 Artists Development Initiative (2013), Lower Manhattan Cultural Council (2014), and a New Music USA (2014) grant for a ?fth collaboration with husband and composer Everett Saunders in the construction of a 3-D Sound Installation for her a trilogy of works examining the intersections of Mental Illness, Addiction, and Systemic Poverty, being Here… (being-here.org). Her work has been presented by Danspace Project, the Kelly Strayhorn Theatre in Pittsburgh, PA, Movement Research at Judson Church, New Orleans Museum, Harlem Stage, Dance New Amsterdam, Spelman College, Pomona College, and Hunter College City University of New York. She has worked in residence at Dance Theatre Workshop (2010), Movement Research (2011-13), Brooklyn Arts Exchange with LOVE|FORTÉ (2012-2014), Dance Place (2013), Kelly Strayhorn Theatre (2014) and will begin a New York Live Arts Studio Series Residency in 2015. Saunders is a passionate educator, having taught master classes and workshops across the U.S. and beyond including the American Dance Festival and ADF China. She is also a member of Urban Bush Women?s BOLD Teaching Network, offering UBW?s unique approach to dance training and community engagement. Saunders is currently serving as Adjunct Lecturer, teaching Modern Contemporary Technique at Hunter College City University of New York and will be Guest Lecturer/Choreographer at Princeton University in the Fall 2014. With deep gratitude, she moves onward in her work honoring that it stems from being born in and having engaged with culturally rich, vibrant, historic, and politically charged communities.
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