Nikolai McKenzie Ben Rema
Nikolai is a multidisciplinary dance theater artist, writer, storyteller, and amateur genealogist, whose work is fed by their identity as a queer, multiracial, interclass, intercaste immigrant from Jamaica. Nikolai’s Philly performance highlights include the works of Jumatatu m. Poe and Jermone Donte Beacham, Gunnar Montana, Vince Johnson, Kingsley Ibeneche, Wally Cain Carbonell, Bryan Koulman, and Kun-Yang Lin alongside their own works. Nikolai is a firm believer in the liberation of black and brown bodies and minds through movement, inviting softness, vulnerability, weirdness, uncool, and tender surrender into their movement practice. Juxtaposing vehement Caribbean patriotism with innate, vibrant queerness, Nikolai aims to cultivate community upswell through storytelling, confronting trauma, mutual support and truth-telling through performance. Nikolai seeks to address the notion that the body is not an apology; that memory, history, protest, pain, pleasure, and joy are all means of resistance in the face of ignorance. Nikolai holds a BFA in Dance and Choreography from Virginia Commonwealth University and their works have been presented at BAAD! Bronx Academy of Arts and Dance in New York City, the in-hale series at KYLD in Philly, and in Washington, D.C., Richmond, and Norfolk, Virginia.