Set Free: Jessica Marasa & Katie Ernst + Project Tool

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

Onye Ozuzu

Onye Ozuzu is a dance administrator, performing artist, choreographer, educator and researcher currently on faculty at the Dance Department at Columbia College Chicago. Her work has been seen nationally and internationally at The Joyce Soho (Manhattan, NY), KaayFecc Festival Des Tous les Danses (Dakar, Senegal), La Festival del Caribe (Santiago, Cuba), Lisner Auditorium (Washington, DC), McKenna Museum of African American Art (New Orleans, LA), and Made in Chicago at the Pritzker Auditorium (Chicago, IL). She has been Artist in Residence at EarthDance Workshop and Retreat Center, Bates Dance Festival and ChulitnaWilderness Lodge and Retreat and Camp Merveilles.

(Photo credit: William Frederking)

Anna Martine Whitehead

Anna Martine Whitehead uses movement and language to practice escaping the Planet Earth. Their solo performances, videos, and collaborations have been presented in North America and Europe, and they have contributed significantly to the work of Keith Hennessy, Jefferson Pinder, Julien Previeux, Every house has a door, and taisha paggett, amongst others. They write about Black performance in the contemporary art world and have contributed to an array of texts on queer dance, performance, and social practice, including a regular column in Art Practical, and a chapter in the forthcoming Meanings and Makings of Queer Dance, edited by Clare Croft. Their first chapbook TREASURE | My Black Rupture debuted this past Spring.




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.

Project Tool 

Created by Onye Ozuzu and produced in collaboration with Ozuzu, Anna Martine Whitehead and Jessica Marasa

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