About

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Bio

Sojourner Zenobia (she/her and they/them) is a Chicago-based storyteller, performance artist and ritual-space holder. She graduated from Naropa University (Boulder) in 2006 with a BFA in Interdisciplinary Performance and a minor in Buddhist Philosophy. She studied performance at the School at Steppenwolf (Chicago) under Alexandra Billings in 2009 as well as Pantheatre (Paris) in 2011 with a focus on Vocal Training and Choreographic Theater. She went on to study energy work and ritual at Life Force Arts Center in Chicago (2011), peace circle training through Circles and Ciphers (2014), and in 2015 completed the Urban Bush Women Summer Leadership Institute in New York.

Sojourner’s artistic process lives at the intersection of spirituality and performance and has opened gateways for her to be received in Chicago’s underground performance scene as well as it’s healing community as a facilitator of ritual, specifically centering love and the brown body. She is the founder of Soul Journey Productions under which she works as a solo artist, director and event curator and more recently founded Breath to Bloom as a conduit for facilitating holistic meditation for individual, group and community-based clients. Her work as a teaching artist in classrooms and communities is geared towards facilitating re-connection with self, nature and tribe through the arts.

Aside from joining Chicago Folklore Ensemble in 2015 as the resident storyteller and working with Lucky Plush Productions from 2016-2018, Sojourner has produced and directed various solo works including On the Altar at Chopin Theater (2016) and Bloom for the Chicago Home Theater Festival (2017) as well as ensemble projects like Soul Journey Project (2008-2016) and Black Prism Moon (2018).

Sojourner leads people to investigate the beliefs they hold about the world to reveal illusions and explore manifestations of freedom. Her solo work embraces the passage of time inherent in spaces, places, objects, gestures, sounds, movements and nature in order to fully become a vessel for whatever transmission is seeking to emerge. As a vessel, she seeks to magnetize people into a vortex of love and awakening that can lead to reflection, wholeness, connection and gratitude.

Artist Statement

“I use meditation, ritual, storytelling and somatic healing practices as, “now portals,” to reach across time and connect with ancestors, listen to the earth and follow the wisdom of the body. Through deep presence and listening I collect movement, song, characters and poetic narratives to create participatory, non-linear, ritual-dreamscapes.

My work comes to life in galleries, homes, lofts or other site-specific locations. In these intimate, spaces the audience asks where do I place my body? Do I want to participate? I subvert the typical audience-performer dynamic and insist that as audience members your bodies, feelings and ideas are necessary special additions.

I create performance and healing spaces where femmes of all body types collectively practice femininity through the physical body, emotional body and the energetic body. Femininity is a balm that will dissolve toxic hyper-masculinity in any body that surrenders to it. My focus on femmes of color brings the margins to the center.”

Curriculum Vitae

TRAINING

  • Urban Bush Women Summer Institute (2015)

  • Pantheatre Roy Hart, Experimental Vocal Technique and Choreographic Theater with Jonathan Hart Makwaia (2011)

  • Amaravati Buddhist Monastery (2011)

  • School at Steppenwolf with Alexandra Billings (2009)

  • BFA: Interdisciplinary Performance Naropa University with Barbara Dilley. Boulder CO (2006)

  • Marymount Manhattan, Acting. New York NY (2002-2004)

SOLO WORKS

  • Bloom, Chicago Home Theater Festival. Chicago IL (2017)

  • On the Altar, Chopin Theater. Chicago IL (2016)

  • Hell You Talmbout, Chopin Theatre. Chicago IL (2015)

  • Dream-Scape, Links Hall. Chicago IL

  • Fultonia, Durational Ritual Performance, Gallery 400. Chicago IL

  • The Kitchen Project, Rumble Arts Center. Chicago IL (2014)

  • Lily Golden, Chicago Home Theater Festival. Chicago IL (2013)

  • Nina Simone Tribute, Wangs Bar. Chicago IL (2012)

ENSEMBLE

  • Black Prism Moon, Links Hall and Out of Site Festival. Chicago IL (2018)

  • Storyteller, Chicago Folklore Ensemble. Chicago IL (2015-present)

  • Lucky Plush Dance Theater Company. Chicago IL (2016-2018)

  • Participatory Music Coalition. Chicago IL (2014-2015)

  • Sonnets for an Old Century. Steppenwolf Theater, Chicago IL (2011)

DIRECTING

  • Black Prism Moon, Links Hall and Out of Site Festival. Chicago IL (2018)

  • Give Love, Soul Journey Project. No Sandbox Loft Space. Chicago IL (2016)

  • Upright Priestess, Soul Journey Project. 501 Collective. Boulder CO (2014)

  • Hive. Co-Directed. Naropa University. Boulder CO

  • Manipura, Soul Journey Project. Temple Gallery. Chicago IL (2013)

  • Electric Sunrize, Soul Journey Projects. Rumble Arts. Chicago IL (2012)

  • Red, Soul Journey Project. The Observatory. Chicago IL (2011)

  • Forgotten Angels, Soul Journey Project. Chicago Academy for the Arts. Chicago IL (2010)

  • Come to This Place, Soul Journey Project. Danny’s Bar. Chicago IL (2008)

WORKSHOPS/ RITUALS

  • Connecting with Nature Workshop, John Kolher Art Museum. In collaboration with Saya Woolfalk. Sheboygan WI (2019)

  • Coming of age ritual, Family Matters Girls Group. Chicago IL (2019)

  • Grieving Ritual, Haji Healing Salon. Chicago IL (2018-2019)

  • Let The World Die Ritual, Mystic Soul Conference. Chicago IL (2018-present)

  • Connecting with Ancestors Ritual, Heal the Healer Conference. Chicago IL (2017)

  • Youth Vision Quest for Self Empowerment, Lumenkids. Chicago IL (2017-present)

  • Cards Against Humanity Corporate Retreat. Chicago IL (2017)

  • Stillness: Meditation and Ritual for Femmes of Color. Chicago, IL (2012-present)

TEACHING ARTIST

  • Lead Teaching Artist, Yoga, Meditation. Chicago Park District’s Young Cultural Stewards (2018-present)

  • Lead Teaching Artist and Director of Curriculum Design. Lumenkids (2016-present)

  • Youth Speak Out Spoken Word Co-teacher. After School Matters (2009-2011)

RESIDENCIES/ AWARDS

  • DCASE Grantee (2019)

  • Landing Fellowship with Miguel Gutierrez (2019)

  • Co-Mission Residency at Links Hall. Chicago IL (2018)

  • Chicago Academy for the Arts Alumni Grant (2018)

  • Illinois Arts Council Grant (2018)

  • Swarm Residency. Winnemac, IN (2018)

 
 

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