Urban Bush Women’s Hair and Other Stories Concludes White Bird’s 2017-2018 Uncaged Series


What: Urban Bush Women, “Hair and Other Stories”
Presented by: White Bird Uncaged, Ronni Lacroute Lead Sponsor
When: Thursday – Saturday, March 1-3, 8:00 pm
Where: Newmark Theatre, 1111 SW Broadway, Portland, OR
Community Event: Hair Party, March 3, 1-2:30pm at June Key Delta Community Center
Media Sponsor: Willamette Week  Additional Support: First Republic Bank
Tickets: Starting at $25, available at whitebird.org. Discounts available for groups/students and seniors.

“Grabs and shakes you and uplifts your spirits.” -Village Voice

White Bird is proud to welcome Urban Bush Women (UBW) back to Portland. Last performing with White Bird in 2015, UBW has transformed and expanded the dance landscape for more than 33 years by creating groundbreaking work rooted in a female-centric perspective. Urban Bush Women’s latest evening-length work Hair and Other Stories runs for three nights at Newmark Theatre on March 1-3.

A special community workshop called a Hair Party, combining conversation with movement, will be led by UBW Founder Jawole Willa Jo Zollar and will take place on Saturday, March 3, 1-2:30pm at the June Key Delta Community Center, 5940 N. Alberta. Fee $10, to support Roosevelt High School’s Black Girl Magic Club. To reserve a place and more information, contact Renee Mitchell, create.artfully@yahoo.com.

Urban Bush Women burst onto the dance scene in 1984, with bold, innovative, demanding and exciting works that bring under-told stories to life through the art and vision of its award-winning founder Jawole Willa Jo Zollar. The company weaves contemporary dance, music, and text with the history, culture, and spiritual traditions of the African Diaspora.

Described by the company as the “urgent dialogue of the 21st century,” Hair and Other Stories presents a medley of personal narratives gathered from community, kitchen and living room conversations, social media and YouTube. A radical reinterpretation of HairStories, which White Bird presented in 2001, Hair and Other Stories is a multi-disciplinary work that discusses matters of race, gender, identity and economic inequality through the lens of hair, primarily that of African American Women. Performed by a gifted 6- member company (5 women and 1 man), Hair & Other Stories is a highly collaborative work, choreographed by Chanon Judson and Samantha Speis, with costume design by DeeDee Gomes, projection design by Nick Hussong, and lighting design by Xavier Pierce. The director is Raelle Myrick-Hodges, and Jawole Willa Jo Zollar is Dramaturg, Challenging preconceived American “values” like body image, the choreography simultaneously celebrates the rise to freedom, self-love and release in our everyday struggles to rise to our Extra-ordinary Selves in extraordinary times. Hair and Other Stories delves into the complexities of individual identity versus collective society with humor and honesty and leaves the audience wondrously and often humorously disquieted regarding the nature of our current society.

From Kansas City, Missouri, Jawole Willa Jo Zollar (Founder/Visioning Partner) trained with Joseph Stevenson, a student of the legendary Katherine Dunham. After earning her B.A. in dance from the University of Missouri at Kansas City, she received her M.F.A. in dance from Florida State University. In 1980 Jawole moved to New York City to study with Dianne McIntyre at Sounds in Motion. In 1984, Jawole founded Urban Bush Women 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, University of Maryland, Virginia Commonwealth University and others, as well as collaborations with Compagnie Jant-Bi from Senegal and Nora Chipaumire.

Jawole developed a unique approach to enable artists to strengthen effective involvement in cultural organizing and civic engagement, which evolved into UBW’s acclaimed Summer Leadership Institute. She serves as director of the Institute, founder/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.  As an artist whose work is geared towards building equity and diversity in the arts, Jawole was awarded the 2013 Arthur L. Johnson Memorial award by Sphinx Music at their inaugural conference on diversity in the arts. A former board member of Dance USA, Jawole received the 2016 Dance Magazine award and the 2016 Dance/USA Honor Award.

Urban Bush Women has developed an extensive community engagement program called BOLD (Builders, Organizers, & Leaders through Dance). The program has a network of over 29 facilitators that travel nationally and internationally to conduct workshops that bring the histories of local communities forward through performance. UBW’s largest community engagement project is its Summer Leadership Institute (SLI). This 10-day intensive training program serves as the foundation for all of the company’s community engagement activities by connecting dance professionals and community-based artists and activists. As an extension of UBW’s mission and core values, UBW launched the Urban Bush Women Choreographic Center in January 2016. The center supports the development of women choreographers of color and other under-heard voices.

White Bird’s presentation of Urban Bush Women’s Hair and Other Stories is made possible by the New England Foundation for the Arts’ National Dance Project, with lead funding from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation and The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. White Bird Uncaged 2017-18 is made possible through major support from Ronni Lacroute and the NEA. White Bird’s 20th season (2017-18) is supported by the Regional Arts & Culture Council, including support from the City of Portland, Multnomah County and the Arts Education & Access Fund; Work for Art; The James F. and Marion L. Miller Foundation, Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust, , Oregon Arts Commission, Oregon Cultural Trust, and Starseed Foundation.


Urban Bush Women’s Hair and Other Stories Concludes White Bird’s 2017-2018 Uncaged Series