“This area of research is important to me because I want to keep finding ways to exist in a world that doesn't want me to exist—to practice freedom and work toward liberation.”
J’Sun Howard is an accomplished dancer and choreographer who has pursued his education with great determination. When J’Sun arrived at Columbia College in Chicago to begin his undergraduate studies in dance, he made a promise to himself that he would earn his degree no matter how long it took. Through each challenge, J’Sun found strength, guidance, and possibility in his artistic community, volunteering at Links Hall, the Ruth Page Center for the Arts, Hamlin Park, and other spaces in Chicago where he could see local and touring works, engage directly with artists, and participate in masterclasses. J’Sun fulfilled his goal and is now pursuing his MFA in Dance and Choreography at the University of Michigan as a Center for World Performance Studies Graduate Fellow.
J’Sun cares about “creating art that teaches us how to live with one another” and is building a thriving artistic career that seeks to reach both new and familiar people and communities. His current research is on the embodiment of Black Fugitivity, the spirit of escape. J’Sun says, “This area of research is important to me because I want to keep finding ways to exist in a world that doesn’t want me to exist—to practice freedom and work toward liberation.” His current multi-year project, The Righteous Beauty of the Things Never Accounted For, deepens the notion of practicing freedom by exploring the spatial politics of how Black people negotiate and perceive space. Professors and colleagues remark that J’Sun is “an exceptional scholar and artist” whose “work will make a real impact on the profession and on continuing discussions about intersections of race and gender.”
Already a celebrated choreographer, dancer, and poet, J’Sun’s work has been performed across Chicago, the United States, and internationally. He has been named a Links Hall Co-MISSION Fellow, a Ragdale Foundation Sybil Shearer Fellow, a Chicago Dancemakers Forum Lab Artist, and a grant awardee by 3Arts and the National Performance Network Creation Fund, among many other accomplishments.
CEW+ celebrates J’Sun’s artistic vision and names him an Elsie Choy Lee Scholar.