Sage Ni’Ja Whitson
Artist in Residence (2015-2017)
Creative Capital and Bessie Award-winner, gender nonconforming/astral transmogrifier, interdisciplinary artist and writer, Sage Ni’Ja Whitson, has been referred to as “majestic” and “magnetic” by The New York Times and is recognized by Brooklyn Magazine as a culture influencer. Ni’Ja is a 2018 MAP Fund recipient, featured choreographer of the 2018 CCA Biennial, and 2018-2020 UBW Choreographic Center Fellow. Other recent awards include a US Artists Fellowship nominee, Shortlist for the Tarpaulin Book Award (The Unarrival Experiments), Camargo/Jerome Foundation Fellowship, Dance in Process (DiP) Residency, Hedgebrook Fellowship, LMCC Process Space Residency, Bogliasco Fellowship, Brooklyn Arts Exchange Artist Residency, among dozens of other residencies and awards across disciplines.
Whitson has been a student and practitioner of indigenous African ritual and resistance forms for two decades, creating work that reflects the sacred in street, conceptual, and interdisciplinary performance. They engage a nexus of postmodern and African Diasporic performance practices, through a critical intersection of gender, sexuality, race, and spirituality. Working internationally, creative efforts include collaborations and performance in theater, dance, music, and visual art. A noted innovating practitioner of the Theatrical Jazz Aesthetic and accomplished improviser Whitson performs nationally with renowned musicians and enjoys a close collaborative partnership with Douglas Ewart of the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians. Meditation on Tongues, premiered to sold out New York audiences at the American Realness festival, received a Critic’s Pick from the New York Times and toured nationally. Whitson’s 2019 premiere Oba Qween Baba King Baba received three Bessie nominations including Outstanding Production, Outstanding Design (of which Whitson was co-costume designer) and Outstanding Performance (Kirsten Davis).