Dream / Research / Move / Create / Build / Delve Deeper / Repeat: UBW Generative Dancer Choreographic & Performance Lab

This 3-day workshop will be taught by New York Dance and Performance (Bessie) 2017 Lifetime Achievement in Dance Award recipient and UBW Founder/Visioning Partner, Jawole Willa Jo Zollar.

We welcome participants at any level of their practice to journey through UBW’s creative choreographic lab. We will work from 10:00 am - 5:00 pm daily at the Gelsey Kirkland Academy of Classical Ballet in Brooklyn, NY.

The participants will engage in a process-based approach to UBW’s art-making. The process-based investigations are informed by who is in the room and involves iterative cycles of rigorous embodied research informed by radical Black experimentation in the fields of culture, politics, identity and history. 

Our desire is to use a large palette of our learning that includes westernized practices and approaches while holding at the center the glory of defining ourselves. Jawole's friend James Frazier calls this “The Radical Act of Being” -- without apology, worrying about the comfort, acceptance or understanding of people who may have “othered” us. 

Each day will be structured with:

  • Warm up/class

  • Structured improvisation/investigation/solo practice - how we “research” our physicality through prompts and ideas

  • Research - Each participant is asked to bring in ideas they are researching or interested in developing.  They will use their iPhones, tablets or computers to explore further how to deepen the research and move it into “embodiment”

  • Structural Concepts/Finding Form - we will explore different structural approaches to choreographic development

About Jawole Willa Jo Zollar

“Using collective and personal narratives with dancing that’s both fierce and intimate, she’s influenced generations of artists. She’s made a refuge in the form of a company, a network and an institute for choreographers of color, and has raised her voice for all women in the field.”

-Liz Lerman

“Her dancers’ bodies carry urgent letters to the world, stories bursting to be told. Healing stories, motivating stories, transformational stories.”

-Eva Yaa Asantewaa

In 1984, Jawole founded Urban Bush Women (UBW) as a performance ensemble dedicated to exploring the use of cultural expression as a catalyst for social change. In addition to 34 works for UBW, she has created works for Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, Philadanco and others; and with collaborators including Compagnie Jant-Bi from Senegal, Nora Chipaumire and Taylor Mac. In 2006 Jawole received a New York Dance and Performance Award (Bessie) for her work as choreographer/creator of Walking With Pearl…Southern Diaries.

Jawole was designated a Master of Choreography by the John F. Kennedy Performing Arts Center in 2005 and a John Simon Guggenheim Memorial  Fellow in 2009. Her company has toured five continents and has performed at venues including Brooklyn Academy of Music, Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts and The Kennedy Center. Jawole developed a unique approach to enable artists to strengthen effective involvement in cultural organizing and civic engagement, which in 1997 evolved into UBW’s acclaimed Summer Leadership Institute (SLI). She serves as director of the SLI, Visioning Partner of UBW and currently holds the position of the Nancy Smith Fichter Professor of Dance and Robert O. Lawton Distinguished Professor at Florida State University. Recently, Jawole received the 2015 Dance Magazine Award, 2016 Dance/USA Honor Award and the 2017 Bessie Lifetime Achievement in Dance Award.