Journalism, Communication and Theatre

Ni’Ja Whitson

Faculty: Ni'Ja Whitson

Ni'ja WhitsonNi’Ja Whitson is an interdisciplinary artist, independent choreographer, and writer who engages a nexus of postmodern and African diasporic performance practices. A 2013-2014 Movement Research Artist in Residence, she is creating a live interdisciplinary adaptation of 1980s black gay films. Choreographic works include assisting and collaborating with theater and dance artists such as Dianne McIntyre, Regina Taylor, April Berry, and Darrell Jones; while creating her own touring solo and group projects. Her current work-in-progress "Babanla Ayaba" was marked as a 2013 Creative Capital “On Our Radar” project to watch.

Whitson is a noted innovating practitioner of the Theatrical Jazz Aesthetic and enjoys ongoing collaboration with award-winning artist Sharon Bridgforth, including co-facilitation of Bridgforth’s Theatrical Jazz Institute. Her solo, "root shock", developed in the aesthetic, toured internationally with invitations in New York, Chicago, Brazil, and Canada. As a dance soloist and percussionist Whitson has also recorded a live album under direction of Douglas Ewart at the legendary Velvet Lounge, and is an ongoing dance soloist of Ewarts’ Nyabinghi Choir and Inventions ensembles.

Awards include a Vermont Studio Center residency for writing, Allgo Artist Residency with collaborator Oluseyi Adebanjo, Lake Forest College Visiting Artist Residency, Illinois Arts Council grant, LinkUI residency award,  Lisa Dershin residency award, Chicago DanceBridge residency award from the Chicago Cultural Center, a 3Arts Visual Artist Award nomination, Andrew R. Mellon Research Fellowship, as well as a Fellowship Award from the School of the Art Institute where she received her MFA. She is featured in "Living Thinkers: Black Women and the Ivory Tower", and has published in print and online journals.

(Photo credit: fly at Daybird Photography)

 

Last modified: Apr 3, 2014

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