American Realness

Marjani Forté-Saunders

Memoirs of a…Unicorn

Presented by New York Live Arts

Sunday, January 6, 5:30pm

70 minutes

New York Live Arts
219 West 19th Street

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Memoirs of a…Unicorn is a solo performed non-linear installation that weaves sound and media to offer historic and personal narratives as embodied tales of fragmented histories, unabated love, and Warriorship. Spurred by stories of Marjani Forté-Saunders’ Arkansas born Father’s life, Forté-Saunders explores the tenets of his identity while riffing in the wound of its creation story.

“My Father’s story allows me to burrow into my lineage, to ritualistically remember, interrogate, and relish in the celestial ecliptic journeys of folks identifying with—and building legacies within—the spectrums of blackness, maleness, and womb-ness. Through this work I am researching the properties of Black American magic and resilience.”
– Marjani Forte-Saunders

Forté-Saunders mobilizes her work while honoring that it stems from being born in and having engaged with culturally rich, vibrant, historic, and politically charged communities.

Memoirs of a…Unicorn is the recipient of two New York Dance & Performance “Bessie” Awards for Outstanding Production and Visual Design. The work was selected one of Dance Magazine’s “Best Solos” of 2017.

Memoirs of a…Unicorn has been made possible through the support of the PGF-USA Special Projects Grant, The MAP Fund, Jerome Foundation, and Princess Grace Special Projects Award. Memoirs of a…Unicorn was co-commissioned by the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council Extended Life Residency with New York Live Arts. Memoirs of a…Unicorn has also received post-premiere residency support from the Maggie Allesee National Center for Choreography through a residency program in partnership with Urban Bush Women.

Photo by Maria Baranova

Media Designer Meena Murugesan
Sound Designer Everett Saunders
Set Designer Mimi Lien
Lighting Designer Tuce Yasak

Marjani Forté-Saunders is a Mother, choreographer, performer, a collaborative artist, community organizer and most recently a 3 time Bessie award winning choreographer and performer, for Memoirs of a…Unicorn. Anchored in a steady collaboration with partner and composer Everett Asis Saunders (New Music USA Awardee), the duo have produced seven award-winning works over the last 10 yrs. Marjani is an Inaugural recipient of the UBW Choreographic Center Fellowship and a two-time Princess Grace Foundation awardee. Her work has been incubated in residencies at the Maggie Allesee National Choreographic Center (MANCC), Lower Manhattan Cultural Center Extended Life Residency, Brooklyn Arts Exchange, CUNY Dance Initiative, 651 Arts and Movement Research. Humbly, she defines her work by its lineage stemming from culturally rich, vibrant, historic, loving, irreverent conjurers!

“Marjani Forté-Saunders’ choreography was powerful, quirky and original. Her shifts in personae was nothing short of remarkable. She, Everett Sanders, and their entire team of collaborators have created a multi-disciplinary work that should be seen and enjoyed by many throughout this country and beyond.”
– Jeff Slayton, LA Dance Chronicle

” Forté-Saunders is a confident, important, extraordinary performer hitting a new high mark in Memoirs of a… Unicorn.”
– Eva Yaa Asantewaa, InfiniteBody