Marjani Forté-Saunders

Artist in Residence


Marjani Forté-Saunders is a three-time Bessie award-winning choreographer, performer, teaching artist, and Mother. She is a recent awardee of the prestigious Dance Magazine Harkness Award (2020) and the Foundation for Contemporary Arts Fellowship. She is an inaugural recipient of three distinguishing fellowships in dance, including Urban Bush Women’s Choreographic Center Initiative Fellowship (2017), the Jerome Hill Artist Fellowship (2018), and the DanceUSA Artist Fellowship (2019). Her latest work Garden of Unicorns—a Surrealist Ode to Blondell Cummings was an installation in The Getty Gardens as part of the Ever Present Series, curated by Kristin Juarez and Sarah Cooper.

Forté-Saunders is a founding member of the collective 7NMS|Art x Power, alongside composer/sound designer Everett Saunders. They are recent recipients of New Music USA and the National Dance Project Production & Touring award for their latest work Prophet: The Order of the Lyricist. In 2022, Saunders made her off-broadway debut as choreographer of Dreaming Zenzile, written and starring Grammy-nominated jazz vocalist Somi Kakoma, and directed by Drama League Founder’s award-winning artist Lileana Blain-Cruz. Commercially, Saunders has worked with Sundance Award-winning director Kahlil Joseph, Kevin Willmott, Kevin Everson, and Tracee Ellis Ross’ product launch video campaign for PATTERNS. Forté-Saunders is honored to be a part of the creative team of Dreaming Zenzile, in utter admiration of our beloved Miriam Makeba. Humbly, she defines her work by its lineage stemming from culturally rich, vibrant, historic, loving, irreverent conjurers.