Founded in 1984 by choreographer Jawole Willa Jo Zollar, Urban Bush Women (UBW) seeks to bring the untold and under-told histories and stories of disenfranchised people to light through dance from a woman-centered perspective and as members of the African Diaspora community. Their goal is to create a more equitable balance of power in the dance world and beyond.
For more than 30 years, UBW has continued to use dance as both the message and the medium to bring together diverse audiences through innovative choreography, community collaboration and artistic leadership development.
UBW galvanizes artists, activists, audiences and communities through performances, artist development, education, and community engagement. With the ground-breaking performance ensemble at its core, ongoing initiatives like the Summer Leadership Institute (SLI), BOLD (Builders, Organizers & Leaders through Dance) and the developing Choreographic Center, UBW continues to affect the overall ecology of the arts by promoting artistic legacies; projecting the voices of the under-heard and people of color; bringing attention to and addressing issues of equity in the dance field and throughout the United States; and by providing platforms and serving as a conduit for culturally and socially relevant experimental art makers. In fact, the SLI evolved from UBW’s Community Engagement Projects, the first of which took place over three months in 1992 in association with the CAC and Junebug Productions. SLI’s took place in New Orleans for seven years.
To celebrate this 25-year history of collaboration between Junebug Productions, the CAC and UBW, Jawole Zollar and Urban Bush Women, along with director Raelle Myrick-Hodges will be developing an alternative version of Hair & Other Stories for the entire CAC building that will premiere at the CAC in January 2018. A multidisciplinary, evening-length work, this piece will incorporate stories sourced in New Orleans to address matters of race, gender identity, and economic inequality through the lens of hair, primarily that of African American women.
The presentation of Hair & Other Stories and accompanying public programs are made possible with support from The Wallace Foundation and the Starseed Foundation. This presentation of Hair & Other Stories is made possible in part by the New England Foundation for the Arts’ National Dance Project, with lead funding from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation and The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. This performance is funded in part by a grant from South Arts in partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts and the Louisiana Division of the Arts. Hair & Other Stories is a National Performance Network (NPN) Creation & Development Fund Project co-commissioned by the Contemporary Arts Center in partnership with Junebug Productions (New Orleans, LA), Dance Place (Washington, D.C.), and NPN. The Creation & Development Fund is supported by the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, Ford Foundation, and the National Endowment for the Arts (a federal agency). The Contemporary Arts Center is an NPN Partner of the National Performance Network (NPN). This project is made possible in part by support from the NPN Performance Residency Program. Major contributors include the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, Ford Foundation, and the National Endowment for the Arts (a federal agency). For more information: www.npnweb.org.