Urban Bush Women: telling it with sass and style.In the witty and caustic tradition of African American African American Multiculture A person having origins in any of the black racial groups of Africa. See Race. wordplay, the name Urban Bush Women plays games with us. Filled with double meanings, it suggests guerrilla warfare guerrilla warfare (gərĭl`ə) [Span.,=little war], fighting by groups of irregular troops (guerrillas) within areas occupied by the enemy. , city smarts, and a streetwise street·wise
Having the shrewd awareness, experience, and resourcefulness needed for survival in a difficult, often dangerous urban environment. slang word for the female anatomy. Its founder and artistic director, the diminutive, quicksilver quicksilver: see mercury.
(1) (QuickSilver Technology, Inc., San Jose, CA, www.qstech.com) A mobile communications company that specializes in a reconfigurable logic chip for cellphones and PDAs. See adaptive computing. Jawole Willa Jo Zollar, has created works that integrate dance, music, and theater in an innovative brew with a distinctive flavor. Over the past two decades the all-women ensemble has paved the way for narration in postmodern dance Postmodern dance is a 20th century concert dance form. A reaction to the compositional and presentation constraints of modern dance, postmodern dance hailed the use of everyday movement as valid performance art and advocated novel methods of dance composition. and revolutionized the image of the female dancing body. Big or small, short or tall, UBW's diversity defies a stereotyped ideal. Its work is frequently based on personal stories and women's lore, and is drawn from African traditions. The funny and pungent HairStories (2001) explores conflicts around black women's hair, beauty, and self-esteem; Batty Moves (1995) celebrates the female buttocks buttocks /but·tocks/ (but´oks) the two fleshy prominences formed by the gluteal muscles on the lower part of the back. ("batty," in Caribbean-speak)--a particularly touchy topic for dancers trained to "tuck it under"; Sheller (1988), inspired by a bag lady on a Manhattan sidewalk, suggests how close we all are to homelessness. In each case Zollar shapes the movement vocabulary to meet her dramatic needs. Her choreography combines text, musical accompaniment, and motifs inspired by African, pedestrian, modern, and social dance techniques. The result is a repertoire of heart-wrenching, soul-searching works that communicate the ecstasy and agony of the human condition.
Zollar began formal dance training in her native Kansas City, Missouri Kansas City is the largest city in the state of Missouri. It encompasses parts of Jackson, Clay, Cass, and Platte counties and is the anchor city of the Kansas City Metropolitan Area, the second largest in Missouri, which includes counties in both Missouri and Kansas. , with ballet classes at the age of 6, but soon transferred to community classes run by Joseph Stevenson, a Katherine Dunham alumnus ALUMNUS, civil law. A child which one has nursed; a foster child. Dig. 40, 2, 14. . She received her BA in dance from the University of Missouri at Kansas City Kansas City, two adjacent cities of the same name, one (1990 pop. 149,767), seat of Wyandotte co., NE Kansas (inc. 1859), the other (1990 pop. 435,146), Clay, Jackson, and Platte counties, NW Mo. (inc. 1850). and, in 1980, her MFA See multifactor authentication. in dance from Florida State University Florida State University, at Tallahassee; coeducational; chartered 1851, opened 1857. Present name was adopted in 1947. Special research facilities include those in nuclear science and oceanography. .
Storytelling, along with dance and music, is a revered form of African art African art, art created by the peoples south of the Sahara.
The predominant art forms are masks and figures, which were generally used in religious ceremonies. . Smiling wryly, Zollar says, "I fought all through college and even in my professional career for the idea of storytelling in dance, because it's always considered a lower art form." Her love of this tradition was stimulated by her college training. All of her elective undergraduate courses were in theater. In graduate school, she performed with collegiate drama troupes and studied the work of avant-garde directors such as Peter Brook and collectives such as the Free Southern Theater. She read the writings of Antonin Artaud Antoine Marie Joseph Artaud, better known as Antonin Artaud (born September 4, 1896, in Marseille; died March 4, 1948 in Paris) was a French playwright, poet, actor and director. , which espoused a radical, gutsy approach to art-making. These influences help explain the social and political dimensions of her work. Zollar formed her company "to explore culture as a catalyst for social change, creative expression, and spiritual renewal."
At FSU FSU Florida State University
FSU Former Soviet Union
FSU Ferris State University
FSU Fayetteville State University (North Carolina)
FSU Frostburg State University
FSU Finance Sector Union Zollar created Crossings (1978), about her mother's passing away. "The women were all in white--the idea of hospital gowns," she recalls soberly. "It was dark, gestural, very primal. I had a mixed cast, but at some point all the black dancers dropped out. At the same time I did Fanga (based on a traditional Liberian welcome dance brought from Africa by Pearl Primus Pearl Primus (29 November 1919, Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago - 29 October 1994) dancer, choreographer and anthropologist.
Pearl Primus immigrated to the United States on board the S.S. Voltaire and arrived at Ellis Island on June 24, 1924. ). One of my teachers said, `Were you trying to say that the white world is dying, and the black world is alive, healthy, and happy?'" Zollar was stunned and thought, "It doesn't matter what I do; they'll always see it in racial terms."
As an African American woman working in the white-dominated realm of concert dance, Zollar has had to contend with subtle levels of bias. She ruefully rue·ful
1. Inspiring pity or compassion.
2. Causing, feeling, or expressing sorrow or regret.
rue explains, "It was frustrating in the beginning that I was viewed as a naive artist, as though I were exploring in certain ways because I didn't know any better." But she was seeking what she calls "a visceral response to an emotion" and consciously rejecting the formal structures taught in college classes.
Reading articles by Trisha Brown Trisha Brown (25 November 1936, Aberdeen, Washington, U.S.) is a postmodernist American choreographer and dancer.
Brown was born in Aberdeen, Washington, and received a B.A. degree in dance from Mills College in 1958. Brown later received a D.F.A. from Bates College in 2000. and Deborah Hay led her to explore everyday movement "because, to me, it was the same thing in African dance but reinterpreted in the postmodern context." Like these artists, Zollar's work was minimalist. She says she was "getting at the energy of the movement without the feet being pointed or the legs straightened." After college she studied in New York New York, state, United States
New York, Middle Atlantic state of the United States. It is bordered by Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut, and the Atlantic Ocean (E), New Jersey and Pennsylvania (S), Lakes Erie and Ontario and the Canadian province of with Kei Takei because she was attracted by her natural movement and collaborative process, and with Dianne McIntyre, who uses the energy of African dance in a modern dance context with live music.
Despite its concert dance profile, UBW UBW Urban Bush Women (Brooklyn, NYC dance company)
UBW Unlimited Blade Works (Archer from Fate/Stay Night Anime)
UBW Usual Body Weight
UBW Unified Budget and Workplan
UBW Underwater Basket Weaving :-) thrives on community collaboration, which Zollar regards in a special light: "When I'm doing a piece that is for the stage, it needs to serve my creative needs. When I'm doing a work that is in and about a community, it needs to serve something about what that community has brought me there for. It's a different kind of relationship and a different way of solving problems."
UBW's neighborhood collaborations have included residencies in Tallahassee, New Orleans, New Haven, and Philadelphia. In a six-week collaboration, the story of Dixwell, a historic black neighborhood adjacent to Yale University, was created by UBW dancers and enacted by community members in song, dance, drill-team marching, recorded interviews, and drumming (see Reviews, DANCE MAGAZINE, October 2001, page 100).
Shadow's Child (2002) culminates a four-year exchange between UBW and the National Company of Song and Dance of Mozambique. This poignantly danced musical spectacle, about young girls showing courage by overcoming discrimination, has been touring schools and communities for more than a year.
Zollar describes UBW's technique as a process based on acting games, trust-building exercises, and dramatic beats. Robin Wilson, a company founding member and currently assistant professor of dance at the University of Michigan (body, education) University of Michigan - A large cosmopolitan university in the Midwest USA. Over 50000 students are enrolled at the University of Michigan's three campuses. The students come from 50 states and over 100 foreign countries. , Ann Arbor, describes the UBW work process as "exasperating and exhilarating at the same time. It has given me a sense of ownership, in part because of the respect granted to each of our contributions and viewpoints."
Another veteran, Wanjiru Kamuyu, declares that the UBW experience "has cultivated in me a sense of openness and flexibility to change, and tremendous artistic growth." Zollar has influenced a generation of female artists of color, including Marlies Yearby, Cynthia Oliver, Treva Offutt, and Maia Claire Garrison.
She has also had an impact on other major artists of her own generation. Liz Lerman, of Liz Lerman's Dance Exchange, says, "Jawole inspired me to create change in my own community." A leader in community residencies, she often gives workshops and creates projects in Jewish communities.
Zollar has set works on Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater The Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater is a modern dance company based in New York, New York. It was founded in 1958 by choreographer and dancer Alvin Ailey. It is made up of 30 dancers as well as artistic director Judith Jamison and associate artistic director Masazumi Chaya. , Philadanco (the Philadelphia Dance Company), and Ballet Arizona. Joan Myers Brown, founder and director of Philadanco, says, "She created a modified Batty Moves to suit Philadanco and revisited Hands Singing Song to include my male dancers. It's brilliant the way she can take a work she's made on her company, tailor it for my company, and it's the same yet different."
At FSU, where she is Nancy Smith Fichter Professor of Dance, Zollar teaches storytelling as part of her composition class: "Nobody teaches how you do it, so I decided that this would be my mantle." Her faculty position provides time and space to process ideas with her students. For example, Hands Singing Song (1998), an examination of the power of hands to hold, heal, protest, and nurture, evolved from a solo for one of her MFA advisees.
Zollar bubbles with enthusiasm about her current projects. Walking With Pearl was inspired by her interest in dancer/anthropologist Pearl Primus, who was one of the first Americans to choreograph African dance for the concert stage (see "Five Colleges Praise Primus," News, DANCE MAGAZINE, June 2002, page 22). Zollar plants to augment the artistic production with a scholarly statement on Primus's creative life, be it a book or an annotated bibliography.
Another new project, Eurydice's Flight, which was commissioned by the Dayton Contemporary Dance Company, will be developed on Zollar's FSU students.
About UBW's upcoming anniversary, Zollar smiles and quips: "Instead of celebrating our twentieth, we'll celebrate our twenty-first [in 2005]. The theme is `Free, in the Black, and 21.' "This reversal of the old saying, "Free, White, and 21" is UBW at its tongue-in-cheek best.
URBAN BUSH WOMEN 138 SOUTH OXFORD ST., #4B BROOKLYN, NY 11217 718.398.4537, FAX: 718.398.4783 WWW.URBANBUSHWOMEN.ORG INFO@URBANBUSHWOMEN.ORG
ARTISTIC DIRECTOR: Jawole Willa Jo Zollar
ASSOCIATE ARTISTIC DIRECTOR: Kwame Ross
MANAGING DIRECTOR: Amy Cassello
* Annual budget: $685,650
* 7-10 performers. Currently, no formal apprentice program
* 25-week contract; non-union company
* Dancers are ages 22-44 and are average in height.
* Open auditions approximately once per year in New York City New York City: see New York, city.
New York City
City (pop., 2000: 8,008,278), southeastern New York, at the mouth of the Hudson River. The largest city in the U.S.
* Music: Live and pre-recorded
* Venues: No home venue; performs in 100- to 1,500-seat theaters
* Touring: Nationally and internationally throughout the year
* Outreach: The Summer Dance Institute-for young artists interested in intensive dance training with a community-based focus. Master classes, workshops, and residencies.
Urban Bush Women was founded in 1984 by Zollar, who has created more than thirty works for the company, combining contemporary dance idioms with the history, culture, and spiritual traditions of African Americans and the African Diaspora. Its mission is to explore "the use of cultural expression as a catalyst for social change" and "encourage cultural activity as an inherent part of community life." * The company performs regularly in New York and abroad. * UBW received a New York Dance and Performance Award ("Bessie") in 1992, the Capezio Award for Outstanding Achievement in Dance in 1994, and a Doris Duke Award for New Work from the American Dance Festival The American Dance Festival is a six-week summer festival of modern dance performances, and a school for dance currently held at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina. in 1998.
Brenda Dixon Gottschild, an advisor/senior editor of DANCE MAGAZINE, is author of Digging the Africanist Presence, Waltzing in the Dark, and The Black Dancing Body (Oct. 2003).