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A Performance Ensemble. After moving to New York City in 1980, choreographer Jawole Willa Jo Zollar 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.

Collaborative. UBW has a collaborative approach to choreography and performance. The Company has worked with an impressive list of collaborators from the worlds of dance, music, literature, fashion, design and film including:

• Writers Jewelle Gomez, Jessica Hagedorn and Carl Hancock Rux
• Poets Kalamu Ya Salaam and Laurie Carlos
• Jazz artists Craig Harris, David Murray, Pyeng Threadgill and Somi
• Drummers/percussionists Shaun Kelly and Beverly Botsford
• Directors Steve Kent and Elizabeth Herron
• Dance companies including Compagnie JANT-BI of Senegal and the National Song and Dance Company of Mozambique (supported by The Ford Foundation’s Africa Exchange Program)

Multi-Disciplinary. UBW weaves contemporary dance, music and text with the history, culture, and spiritual traditions of African Americans and the African Diaspora, exploring the transformation of struggle and suffering into the bittersweet joy of survival.

Community-Centered. UBW engages in extensive community-based programming, encouraging cultural activity as an inherent part of community life. In training young artists, UBW gives equal consideration to an artist’s creative and social cultural concerns.


Check Out the Choreographic Center!

The UBW Choreographic Center is an extension of the UBW mission and will be rooted in UBW core values.  It will take a two-pronged approach – supporting the individual choreographer and bringing about systemic change in the field of dance.



Audiences have this to say...

"Dearest Jawole- the joy you bring, the honor you share, the truth be told!"

David T.


"What a moving experience- freely dramatized eroticism, joy- pain, misery and back- by dancers and musicians all of whom are great actors."

                                           Roy T.


Urban Bush Women
Create Dance. Create Community.

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138 South Oxford Street, 4B - Brooklyn, NY 11217
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TEL 718.398.4537 • 718.398.4783

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