Ni’Ja Whitson

Image by Scott Shaw

Ni’Ja Whitson

 

Ni’Ja Whitson (NY/LA) is an award-winning Queer Nonbinary Trans multidisciplinary artist and futurist. They engage transdisciplinarity through a critical intersection of the sacred and conceptual in Black, Queer, and Transembodiedness, site, body and spirit. Whitson is a Creative Capital Awardee (2019), two-time “Bessie” Awardee (2017 & 2019), Hermitage Fellow (2020), and an artist in residence at 18th Street (Los Angeles). Whitson was the featured choreographer of the 2018 CCA Biennial, 2018-2020 Urban Bush Women Choreographic Center Fellow, and invited presenter at the 2019 Tanzkongress international festival.

Commissions include Danspace Project at St. Mark’s Church, Abrons Arts Center, American Realness, the Experimental Media and Performing Arts Center at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, and the California African American Museum. Whitson’s practice extends to choreography in conventional and experimental theatre and performance, most recently with Yale Dance Lab and Omar, composed by Rhiannon Giddens, directed by Charlotte Brathwaite, to premiere at the 2021 Spoleto Festival. Their publishing credits include Contact Quarterly, Dancing While Black journal, and the anthology, Critical Black Futures (2021).

Whitson holds an MFA in performance from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and an MFAW in creative writing from Goddard College. They are an assistant professor of experimental choreography at UC Riverside and a sought-after speaker, consultant, masterclass facilitator and conversationalist sharing among notable institutions and organizations: Princeton University, Cornell University, Rutgers University, LAX Festival, Movement Research, American Dance Festival, Collegium for African Diasporic Dance conference (2020 keynote), and UNESCO