Urban Bush Women

Urban Bush Women

Spring, 2017


Urban Bush Women galvanizes artists, activists, audiences and communities through performances, artist development, education, and community engagement. With the ground-breaking performance ensemble at its core, ongoing initiatives like the Summer Leadership Institute (SLI), BOLD (Builders, Organizers & Leaders through Dance) and the developing Choreographic Center, UBW continues to affect the overall ecology of the arts by promoting artistic legacies; projecting the voices of the under-heard and people of color; bringing attention to and addressing issues of equity in the dance field and throughout the United States; and by providing platforms and serving as a conduit for culturally and socially relevant experimental art makers.


The critically acclaimed dance company Urban Bush Women (UBW) was the focus of Yale Dance Lab’s spring 2017 project. Celebrating its 33rd Anniversary year, Urban Bush Women uses dance as both the message and the medium to bring together diverse audiences through innovative choreography, community collaboration and artistic leadership development. Founded by Jawole Willa Jo Zollar in 1984, UBW “seeks to bring the untold and under-told histories and stories of disenfranchised people to light through dance.” Working with UBW-affiliated artists, Dance Lab dancers learned UBW’s unique methods of using dance as a means for social engagement, centering on seminal work from the company’s repertory.

The project was cosponsored by Theater Studies/Dance Studies Curriculum, Center for the Study of Race, Indigeneity, and Transnational Migration, Afro-American Cultural Center, African American Studies, and Alliance for Dance at Yale with support from the Arts Discretionary Fund in Yale College.

Eva Albalghiti (YC ’17), Joana Andoh (YC ’17), Liam Appelson (YC ‘19), Cathleen Calderón (YC ‘17), Sabine Decatur (YC ‘18), Elayna Garner (YC ‘20), Mary Chandler Gwin (YC ‘18), Jason Morris (YC ‘17), Mariel Pettee (GRD Physics), Naomi Roselaar (coordinator, YC ’17), Brittany Stollar (coordinator, YC ’17, YSPH ’18), Holly Taylor (coordinator, YC ’17), Constance Thurmond (YC ‘19), Kathleen Voigt (YC ‘19)