Set Free: J'Sun Howard + Jessica Marasa & Katie Ernst

J'Sun Howard

Movement Maker: J'SUN HOWARD is from Chattanooga, TN. A Chicago Dancemaker’s Forum grantee, 2014, his choreography has appeared at local venues Links Hall, Northwestern University, Sonotheque, Lincoln Square Theatre, Insight Arts/Center for New Possibilities, Epiphany Church, and Rumble Arts. In 2009, J'Sun was selected to be a LinkUp Residency to deepen his artistic practice at Links Hall and in 2010 he was granted the Julius Margolin "Youth in Labor" Award to protest at the gates of the School of Americas in Fort Benning, GA. He has also performed at Patrick's Cabaret (Minneapolis, MN), had work commissioned by the Chicago Academy School for the Arts, and been a sponsored artist at High Concept Laboratories. J’Sun has performed for many choreographers including Malcolm Jason Low, Asimina Chremos, Sara Wookey, Paige Cunningham, Selene Carter, but most extensively with collaborators Darrell Jones and Damon Green in their research of (e)feminized ritual performance, which received a 2013 Juried Bessie Award in support of Hoo-Ha (for your eyes only). His collaboration, Utopic Monster Theory, with poet Jennifer Karmin has been performed in exhibitions "I Can't Breathe" at ARC Gallery, "Law and Disorder" at Women Made Gallery, and Small Traffic Press's production of Poets Theater Festival (San Francisco, CA), and the IN>Time Performance Festival. His literary work can be read in the journals: Chicago IRL, Inkwell, Danspace's Constellations and Influences, Garland Court Review, Storyglossia, 3rd Language, Bird's Thumb, and Manifold, The Body.

Jessica Marasa

Jessica Marasa is a producer, improviser and dance performance artist based in Chicago. She is the founder of The Watering Can and her works have been seen at Links Hall, Hamlin Park, Stage 773 and Signal Ensemble Theater. The culminating performance of her recent series Jewel Tones: SPECTRUM was named one of the Chicago Tribune’s Dance Top Ten of 2015 by Laura Molzhan. She has collaborated with Molly Shanahan/Mad Shak since 2008 and had the pleasure of performing alongside Chicago’s creative talents including Ayako Kato, Onye Ozuzu, Kristina Isabelle and Khecari Dance Theater.

Katie Ernst

Katie Ernst is a bassist, vocalist, and composer from Naperville, IL. As both a bassist and vocalist, Katie has performed at the Chicago Jazz Festival, the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, the Hyde Park Jazz Festival, and Xerox Rochester International Jazz Festival, among others. In 2013 and 2014, Katie was one of 24 young artist-composers selected for the Betty Carter Jazz Ahead Program, an international jazz residency program at the Kennedy Center under the direction of pianist and MacArthur Fellow Jason Moran. In May 2014, she performed at the Chicago Symphony Center as part of Jason Moran's Looks of a Lot premiere, which also featured Nasheet Waits, Tarus Mateen, Ken Vandermark, Theaster Gates, and Kenwood Academy Jazz Band.

Katie is an active bandleader and side-woman in Chicago. She regularly composes and performs with the band TWIN TALK, alongside co-leaders Dustin Laurenzi (saxophone) and Andrew Green (drums). She is currently working on a new duo project called Wayfaring with clarinetist James Falzone. Wayfaring will release their debut recording, I Move, You Move, in early 2017 on the Allos Documents label and was included on Constellation's 2015 compilation Nine/Two, featuring many of Chicago's finest jazz and improvised music artists.

Katie Ernst - bass and voice

"An increasingly valuable figure in new-music Chicago" -Chicago Tribune

" of the brightest lights on Chicago's jazz scene" —Chicago Reader



Better Versions of Prayers

Choreographed by J’Sun Howard

Performed by J’Sun Howard, Dedrick “Deddy Bank” Gray & William Harris

Working on Better Versions of Prayers makes a space for black boy joy.  A poetic testimony that miracles erupt at any moment. Through self-portraits, ecstasy, and forms of floating–disappearing, hollowing, and possession–this work also flirts with notions of divine radical presence and how it holyficates.


Composed and Improvised by Katie Ernst & Jessica Marasa

Evergreen takes inspiration from trees whose leaves remain year round.  With this lifegiving strategy at heart, bassist Katie Ernst and Jessica Marasa use their improvisational interests to practice the possibility of continuity.  This possibility employs the process increasing one’s willingness to trust the life in each moment as it arises, remains and passes away.

Who’s Going


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Links Hall At Constellation