Part of ReadOut 2020
This year, as part of ReadOut 2020, a three-day festival that brings together writers and readers of lesbian literature, now in its third consecutive year, the black, lesbian, dancer-poet performance art duo, Nia & Ness, will perform their newest work, “home,” at Gulfport’s Catherine Hickman Theater, Saturday, February 1st, at 8 PM. Tickets to the show are available online at via niaandness.brownpapertickets.com or they may be purchased in-person, at Beach Bazaar, in Gulfport, Florida.
If you’re unfamiliar with Nia & Ness, this description of them by Lilli Hime, in The Austin Chronicle, encapsulates the raw dynamic of their work: “While Ness’ spoken word, grounded in a voice that swells with power, narrates the majority of the show with unapologetic and knowingly brave statements, Nia’s dance pulls the invisible strings that visual work so often does, invoking a wordless language to create such strong feelings of anguish, agitation, and finally at the end, a hard-fought-for joy.” Audience members Edie Daly and Jackie Mirkin, of Gulfport, also described the Nia & Ness experience as one of sheer power: “We were blown away by their frankness and their ability to hold the audience spellbound.”
Reflecting on their work, Ness explained the audience is invited “to be a fly on the wall and listen to our very intimate and deep conversations, which have to do with our being an out, black lesbian couple. All the things that we experience, the good the bad and everything in between.”
The duo met and became a couple in 2013, and founded their company in 2016. They premiered their first evening length work, run., in August 2017, and have been touring “run.” nationwide ever since. “home.” premiered in 2019.
Nia & Ness have performed at multiple venues, including many college campuses, nationwide, and have been welcomed abroad, in just three short years of performing. The duo was featured in a 2017 BRIC TV (Brooklyn Information and Culture TV) segment, a documentary for The Advocate, as well as in the Windy City Times and Dance Writer Australia. They are recipients of funding from the 2018 Virginia Giordano Memorial Fund and were the winners of the 2017 National Women’s Music Festival Emerging Artist Contest.
Tickets to see Nia & Ness are available at niaandness.brownpapertickets.com, or go to Beach Bazaar, in Gulfport, to get Nia & Ness tickets in-person. The suggested donation for Nia & Ness is $20 for early-access choice seating, at 7 PM. $15 is the suggested donation for general admission entry, starting at 7:30 pm. To see the full schedule of ReadOut 2020 events, which, this year, run from Friday, January 31st – Sunday, February 2nd, go to gulfportreadout2020.brownpapertickets.com/. Registration for the free events is not required, but you can register there to get event reminders.