Fortè-Saunders is a Pasadena, CA 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. []. Fortè-Saunders is a 2014 Princess Grace Choreography Fellowship Awardee, 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 []. Fortè has also received support from the Jerome Foundation (2013, 2014), Mertz Gilmore Foundation with LOVE|FORTÉ (2013), Yellowhouse (2013), and the Harkness Foundation (2014).


Her work has been presented at many theaters, centers, and in partnership with many communities across the United States and in the New York Triborough area including Danspace Project, the Kelly Strayhorn Theatre in Pittsburgh, PA, Movement Research at Judson Church, New Orleans Mckenna Museum, Harlem Stage, The Pillsbury Theatre in Minneapolis, Spelman College, Pomona College, and Hunter College City University of New York.   Fortè-Saunders 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.  With a commitment to culturally driven performance art, that ignites positive, equitable action, stirs the human soul, and speaks bravely against injustice Fortè-Saunders’ work has flourished into a bouquet of practices, which include teaching and lecture, community organizing/partnership, choreography, master classes in contemporary technique and improvisation, and research driven engagement that seeks to satisfy and inspire artistic development and structural critique.  

She is also a member of Urban Bush Women’s BOLD Teaching Network, offering UBW’s unique approach to dance training and community engagement.   Fortè-Saunders is currently serving as Adjunct Lecturer, teaching Modern Contemporary Technique at Hunter College City University of New York and Guest Lecturer/Choreographer at Princeton University in the Fall 2014.  With deep gratitude, she mobilizes her work honoring that it stems from being born in and having engaged with culturally rich, vibrant, historic, and politically charged communities.

theworkThe work stems from being born in and having engaged with culturally rich, vibrant, historic, and politically charged communities.  It explores the complexity, beauty, and connection of the human experience and is marked by bold expression, timely social commentary, critique, and questioning.  Dances are crafted two-fold: inside process that deepens relationships through the art making and as a cyclical experience where the fourth wall conceptually becomes a window, where audience emerges as a partner – a necessary and unpredictable entity.

Choreographer Marjani Forté-Saunders is influenced by the investigation and integrity of writers such as Zora N. Hurston, Octavia Butler, and Toni Morrison.  The brave choice to embrace literality and rawness from immediate mentors Jawole Zollar and Nia Love, and the relevant, multi-disciplinary, work of her contemporaries.

She’s involved in TWO steady collaborations that support The Work:


a research/process, performance, and teaching geared collective with choreographer Nia Love.  We share a commitment to social and politically conscious art making, that connects the human experience through time. We have developed work and a teaching methodology that reflects our artistic identity as artists of successive generations (

Forté & Saunders

An interdisciplinary Music/Dance collaboration that creates performance and engagement experiences, that are mutually rich for artist, audience, and student. We evoke memory, reflection, and empathy through provocative sound and movement that challenge and stir the participant.