Jeff Lantz Jane Hoffman Dwij - David Gittens Ed WindDancer Laaraji Dragonfly Eleonora Lvov Annette Lowman Elaine Silver Keith Coker Africa Fare Cybele Urban Bushwomen Jeff Lantz Jane Hoffman Dwij - David Gittens Ed WindDancer Laaraji Dragonfly Eleonora Lvov Annette Lowman Elaine Silver Keith Coker Africa Fare Cybele Agim Hushi Urban Bushwomen
Urban Bush Women

As the paradoxical name suggests, the New York City based dance troupe Urban Bush Women combines the spiritual elements of traditional African and Caribbean dance, song, and music with contemporary, Western dance forms. Artistic director Jawole Willa Jo Zollar describes UBW as "an ensemble dedicated to using cultural expression as a catalyst for social change."

Armed with an arsenal of cultural history, Urban Bush Women is not afraid to tackle issues of racism, sexism, or homophobia. Content equals form in the work of Urban Bush Women: they make dances about communities as a community. UBW often invites the audience to dance onstage after a performance, breaking the theatrical "fourth wall" that usually separates audiences from performers. Their sense of community extends into a larger arena in UBW's educational workshops, long-term residencies, community organizing, and leadership development which teach improvisation as a tool for educational reform and social change. The goal is to empower the disenfranchised through creativity and culture.

This troupe loves, affirms, and deliriously celebrates the female.
©dwij 2003

Anything luscious or luminous is grist for Zollar's mill: the blues, cat-like yoga, Afro-Cuban guaguanco rhythms, martial arts kicks, West African dance isolations, voodoo undulations, streetcorner gossip fests, Saturday night disco, Sunday mornin' testifyin'.

The performers create a community, displaying awesome humor and raising poignant emotions in their audiences; and there's an abundance of affection to go around as folks are invited to cross over the footlights and join in. Urban Bush Women creates a party that is educational and guaranteed to touch the soul.
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