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Sample Project: Urban Bush Women

by Leanna Browne

Jawole Willa Jo Zollar's Biography: Born and raised in Kansas City, Missouri, Jawole Willa Jo Zollar trained with Joseph Stevenson, a student of the legendary Katherine Dunham. After earning her B.A. in dance from the University of Missouri at Kansas City, she moved to New York City in 1980 to study with Dianne McIntyre at Sounds in Motion. Four years later, she founded Urban Bush Women (UBW) in 1984 as a performance ensemble dedicated to exploring the use of cultural expression as a catalyst for social change. Jawole received her M.F.A in dance from Florida State University and is the Nancy Smith Fichter tenured professor in FSU's Dance Department.

Urban Bush Women is an organization created by Jawole Willa Jo Zollar in 1984 which:
  • "seeks to bring the untold and under-told histories of disenfranchised people to light through dance"
  • utilizes a women-centered point of view and represent the African Diaspora
  • uses art as a tool to shed light on social issues
  • urges civic engagement
  • "Based in Brooklyn, we aspire to ensure continuity by strengthening and expanding our international community via ongoing professional education, development of new audiences, nurturing young talent and presenting bold, life-affirming dance works in a variety of settings including at our annual Summer Leadership Institute"

Urban Bush Women's mission is to create dance and to create community.

UBW's Core Values (From the Urban Bush Women website):

  • Validating the Individual
Each individual has a unique and powerful contribution to make.
  • Catalyst for Social Change
UBW's work intends to help people make sense out of the world and prepare to take action in it.
  • Building Trust through Process
A transparent process of artistic and managerial leadership builds and nurtures trust.
  • Entering Community and Co-Creating Stories
Each community is unique and has the answers it seeks to uncover.
  • Celebrating the Movement and Culture of the African Diaspora
UBW is committed to highlighting the power, beauty and strength of the African Diaspora.
  • Place Matters
We recognize that being part of, responding to and contributing to the overall well-being of our home community, Brooklyn, is of the utmost importance.