photo by Ian Douglas

Marjani Forté-Saunders

Marjani Forté-Saunders is a choreographer, performer, educator, community organizer, and mother. She refers to dance and embodiment as her sorcery—revolutionary, transformative, wild, ancient, and fresh. Her practice is informed by years in anti-racist organizer training and as a lead facilitator with Urban Bush Women’s (UBW) Builders, Organizers and Leaders through Dance.

She is anchored in a steady collaboration with partner and composer Everett Asis Saunders. Working together as 7NMS, their project A Prophet’s Tale has been awarded residencies at Bard College (2019), Baryshnikov Arts Center (2019), Petronio Residency Center (2019), and The Yard (2020). The two are founding directors of ART & POWER, established in 2018, an emerging platform for artists, writers, scientists, spiritualists, and scholars mobilizing regional and international communities through the transformative power of art, philosophy, spirituality, and practice.

Spurring from stories of her father’s life, Forté-Saunders’s Memoirs of a…Unicorn wove performance, sound, visual art, and media to embody tales of spiritual exploration, love, and metaphysical warriorship. The work relished in the celestial and infinite journeys of those building legacies within the spectrums of blackness, maleness, and womb-hood. The work was supported by a Foundation for Contemporary Arts Emergency Grant and received two New York Dance and Performance “Bessie” Awards, one for Outstanding Production, and the other for Outstanding Visual Design (2018). In 2012, she debuted the FCA supported work Here… at Danspace Project.

As part of the ensemble Skeleton Architecture, Forte-Saunders received a “Bessie” for Outstanding Performer (2017). She is the recipient of the UBW Choreographic Center Fellowship (2017), a Jerome Foundation, Jerome Hill Artist Fellowship (2018), a Dance/USA Artist Fellowship (2019), and is a two-time Princess Grace Award winner. In 2018, she was an Artist-in-Residence at the University of Southern California Glorya Kaufman School of Dance. Her work has been incubated in residencies at 651 ARTS, Brooklyn Arts Exchange, the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, the Maggie Allesee National Center for Choreography, and Movement Research.

As a performer, Forté-Saunders was a touring artist for five years with UBW. She received her B.A. from Loyola Marymount University, and has served as a visiting Lecturer at Bard College, Princeton University, and Yale University.

Past Classes & Events

[Virtual] Imagining Liberation: A Conversation, A Game, A Study, A Process, A Meeting, An approach to Making Dances. Prayerfully, an approach to "Shaping Future".

Jul 25 – Jul 29, 2022


Jan 11 – Jan 15, 2021

MELT – Imagining Liberation - A Conversation, A Game, A Study, A Process, A Meeting, An approach to making dances

Jul 22 – Jul 26, 2019

Morning Class

Mon, Wed & Fri, Feb 20 – Mar 1, 2017

MELT—LOVE|FORTÉ Workshop on Composition

Aug 8 – Aug 12, 2016