Sybil Shearer Fellowship at Ragdale: 2017
MSF awarded a Sybil Shearer Fellowship at Ragdale to J’Sun Howard, a Chattanooga native and Chicago-based dancemaker and poet. At the conclusion of his residency, J’Sun wrote, “I’ve had a productive time doing movement research and creating a solo for a larger project, ‘Working on Better Versions of Prayers,’ which is about radical hope, intimacy between men, and joy. The dedicated time and space provided by the Sybil Shearer Fellowship through Ragdale has been valuable and meaningful, especially as I am discovering ways to balance, challenge, and invent choreographic methods that incorporate poetry into my artistic practice.”
J’Sun Howard is a Chicago-based dancemaker, writer, curator, and administrator who was awarded an inaugural 2020 Esteemed Artist Award from the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE) and is an Asian Cultural Council Fellow.
A Links Hall Co-MISSION Fellow, a Ragdale Foundation Sybil Shearer Fellow, 2017 3Arts Make A Wave Awardee, and 2014 Chicago Dancemakers Forum Lab Artist, J’Sun has presented his choreography at venues as Steppenwolf Theatre Company, Links Hall, Art Theatre Dance Box Kobe (Kobe, Japan), Ruth Page Center for the Arts, Sonotheque, Lincoln Square Theatre, Insight Arts/Center for New Possibilities, Epiphany Church, Rumble Arts, California Institute of the Arts, Oakton Community College, Defibrillator Performance Art Gallery, Patrick’s Cabaret (Minneapolis, MN), Danspace Project (New York City), The Arts Club of Chicago, California Institute of the Arts, Art Institute of Chicago, Center for Performance Research (NYC), Detroit Dance City Festival (Detroit, MI), New Dance Festival International Festival (Daejeon, South Korea)—where he won Best Dance Choreographer 2019—and World Dance Alliance Asia-Pacific’s International Young Choreographers’ Project (Kaohsiung, Taiwan).
J’Sun has performed for several choreographers including Malcolm Jason Low, Asimina Chremos, Sara Wookey, Paige Cunningham-Caldarella, and Selene Carter, but most extensively with ongoing collaborators Darrell Jones, Damon Green, and DJ Justin Mitchell in their research of (e)feminized ritual performance, which received a 2013 Juried Bessie Award for Hoo-Ha (for your eyes only).
J’Sun has been commissioned by Northwestern University, Columbia College Chicago, World Dance Alliance, and Art Institute of Chicago. Additional awards include Illinois Arts Council Agency’s Individual Artist grants, City of Chicago DCASE Individual Artist Program grants, Foundation for Contemporary Arts, and Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation USArtists International. A 2018 Bests New Poets nominee, J’Sun’s poetry is forthcoming in the visual art catalog Eclipsing: death and transformations and I Can’t Breathe: A Poetic Anthology of Fresh Air. His poems have appeared in The Matador Review, WusGood, The Shade Journal, Calamus Journal, Bird’s Thumb, and Propter Nos.