Directors and Company members
Associate Artistic Director
Chanon Judson is a cum laude graduate from University at Buffalo. She began her relationship with Urban Bush Women in 2001. Chanon has had the privilege of serving the company as rehearsal director, Director for UB2–Urban Bush Women’s performing apprentice ensemble, and now furthers her work with UBW as Associate Artistic Director and Co-Coordinator of BOLD (Builders Organizers and Leaders through Dance).
Chanon was a member of City Center's Cotton Club Parade and the Tony Award-winning musical Fela! Additional theatrical and commercial credits include Paul Robeson's Theatre Lion in Captivity, Victoria's Secret Live, L’Oreal Live, the Jimmy Fallon Show, Apple Watch, and the Michael Jackson 30th Anniversary Concert.
An avid arts educator, Chanon has instructed for Ailey Arts in Education/Site Director for Ailey Camp (Kansas City, MO), BAM Dance Africa Programming, Earl Mosley's Institute for the Arts, and Urban Assembly of Music and Arts High School. Chanon is the founder and curriculum designer for Cumbe Center for Diasporic Arts, Dance Drum and Imagination Camp for Children. She is also the proud owner of Family Arts Movement LLC, offering creative movement and art making for families.
Associate Artistic Director
Samantha Speis is a movement artist based in New York City. She has worked with Gesel Mason, The Dance Exchange, Jumatatu Poe, Deborah Hay (as part of the Sweet Day curated by Ralph Lemon at the MoMA), Marjani Forte, and Liz Lerman. She is currently a member of The Skeleton Architecture, a collective of black womyn and gender non-conforming artists who use the practice of improvisation to create, organize, advocate, gather, play and challenge. Speis was the 2012 recipient of the Alvin Ailey New Directions Choreography Lab and recently was awarded a Bessie for Outstanding Performer. Her work has been featured at the Kennedy Center (Millennium Stage), Long Island University, Joyce SoHo, Hollins University, Danspace Project, Dixon Place, Dance Place, and The Kelly Strayhorn Theater. Speis’ solo, The Way it Was, and Now, was commissioned by the Jerome Foundation to be performed at Danspace Project for the Parallels Platform Series, and was later invited to the Kaay Fecc Dance Festival in Dakar, Senegal. She has developed a teaching practice that explores pelvic mobility as the root of powerful locomotion and as a point of connection to the stories, experiences and lineages that reside in each of us. She has been a guest artist and taught workshops throughout the United States, South America, Senegal, and Europe. Recent projects include Walking with Trane co-choreographed with Jawole Willa Jo Zollar and her collaboration with Chanon Judson-Johnson and Raelle Myrick-Hodges on Hair and Other Stories.
Company member/Marketing and branding consultant
Du’Bois was born and raised in Albany, GA. A'Keen began his formal dance training at age 19. After receiving his BFA in Dance from Florida State University; He was accepted as an MFA candidate. While studying in NYC A’Keen was asked to join UBW in December 2014. Aside from his work with UBW as a company member and Marketing/Branding consultant. A’Keen serves as the Founder & leader of the rapidly growing creative movement and global community “The Tuesday Thing”. A’Keen is the Co-Founder & Creative Director of AKEEN BRAND, LLC and 'KEEN Thinking, a lifestyle brand and blog platform. A’Keen is also an IFP Screen Forward Lab Fellow for the 2017 cohort. While working in the industries of film, fashion and music (as a singer/songwriter): A’Keen looks forward to continued growth and success, alongside his beautiful wife and life partner Camry Vonyae' A'Keen. He is guided by his faith and life mantras, "JUST BE."
Courtney J. Cook
is a Virginia Native now residing in Brooklyn, NY. She began her formal dance training at the Virginia Governor’s School for the Arts. She later attended and graduated from Virginia Commonwealth University, receiving her B.F.A in Dance and Choreography. In addition to being a company member with Urban Bush Women, she also performs in projects, working with astounding choreographers and artists of the community such as Christian Von Howard, Jennifer Archibald, Brotherhood Dance, and The Indigo Artists Collective. She looks forward to continuing her journey in the Arts and community organizing with Urban Bush Women.
is a graduate of North Atlanta High School of Performing Arts and Spelman College. Her training ranges from Buffalo Inner City Ballet, Ballethnic, Callanwolde Fine Arts, and Moving in the Spirit. Currently, Tendayi is a company member of Urban Bush Women, ASE Dance Theater Collective, and Axam Dance Theater Experience. Past works include Liberata Dance Theater, Marjani Forte of LOVE/FORTE Collective, T Lang Dance, and Nathan Trice/Rituals Performance Project StrangeLove. Tendayi performs regularly as a resident Jazz vocalist at the Williamsburg Music Center with the Gerry Eastman Quartet every Friday night. She gives thanks and blessings for life, love, breath, and the pursuit of happiness.
is a Miami native, has been a performer with Urban Bush Women since her entry into the company in June 2013. Throughout her time with Urban Bush Women she has had the opportunity to tour world-wide, performing and co-facilitating workshops/master classes in the different communities they have been invited to visit. She also works as a freelance performing artist and has had the opportunity to collaborate and create with artists such as Paloma McGregor, Millicent Johnnie, Megan Bascom, Megan Kendzior, Kate Weare, BODYART, and Kirstin Kapustik. Mas is also certified and received her 200hr Yoga Certification in 2013.