Dance Past Faculty

Marjani Forté-Saunders

Marjani Forté-Saunders headshot

Photo by Judith Stuart


Marjani Forté-Saunders is a Pasadena, California, native and Harlem resident. She traveled as a performer with Urban Bush Women Dance Co. for 5 yrs, and is now co-founder with Nia Love, of LOVE|FORTÉ A COLLECTIVE. Marjani received a 2014 Princess Grace Choreography Fellowship Award for new work commissioned by Los Angeles-based dance company CONTRA TIEMPO. For her work being Here…, a trilogy of works examining the intersections of Mental Illness Addiction, and Systemic Poverty, she’s received support from the Foundation of Contemporary Arts—Emergency Grant (2012), Puffin Foundation (2013), 651 Artists Development Initiative Artist (2013), Lower Manhattan Cultural Council (2014), and a New Music USA (2014) grant for a fifth collaboration with husband and composer Everett Saunders in the construction of a 3-D sound installation. Marjani has also received support from the Jerome Foundation (2013, 2014), Mertz Gilmore Foundation with LOVE|FORTÉ (2013), Yellowhouse (2013), and the Harkness Foundation (2014).

Marjani's work has been presented by Danspace Project, the Kelly Strayhorn Theatre in Pittsburgh, PA, Movement Research at Judson Church, New Orleans Mckenna Museum, Harlem Stage, Dance New Amsterdam, The Pillsbury Theatre in Minneapolis, Spelman College, Pomona College, and Hunter College City University of New York. Marjani has worked in residence at Dance Theatre Workshop (2010), Movement Research (2011-13), Brooklyn Arts Exchange with LOVE|FORTÉ (2012-2014), Dance Place (2013), Kelly Strayhorn Theatre (2014) and will begin a New York Live Arts Studio Series Residency in 2015.

Marjani is a passionate educator, having taught master classes and workshops across the U.S. and beyond including the American Dance Festival and ADF China. She is also a member of Urban Bush Women’s BOLD Teaching Network, offering UBW’s unique approach to dance training and community engagement. Marjani is currently also serving as Adjunct Lecturer at Hunter College City University of New York where she is teaching Modern Contemporary Technique. With deep gratitude, Marjani moves onward in her work honoring that it stems from being born in and having engaged with culturally rich, vibrant, historic, and politically charged communities.