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Healthy Role Models: Meet Urban Bush Women!

Posted Feb 25 2010 11:20am

Healthy Role Models: The Urban Bush Women
They Inspire: Just a few weeks ago, The Urban Bush women electrified audiences in New York City with a new dance number called Zollar: Uncensored. This masterpiece centered on the sensual power of women. Watch a video from a rehearsal from that show.

OurHealth checked out their website, and we encourage you to do the same. Support this amazing organization by seeing their shows, purchasing funky t-shirts and participating in their service-oriented summer institute. Here is a snapshot from the Urban Bush Women website:

"Founded in 1984 by Jawole Willa Jo Zollar, Urban Bush Women (UBW) seeks to bring the untold and under-told histories and stories of disenfranchised people to light through dance. We do this from a woman-centered perspective, as members of the African Diaspora community, in order to create a more equitable balance of power in the dance world and beyond.

We aspire to ensure continuity by strengthening and expanding our community via ongoing professional education, development of new audiences, nurturing young talent and presenting bold, life-affirming dance works in a variety of settings.

UBW has been presented extensively in New York City and has toured throughout the United States and in Asia, Australia, Europe, and South America. The Company has been commissioned by presenters nationwide, and includes among its honors a 1992 New York Dance and Performance Award (“Bessie”); the 1994 Capezio Award for Outstanding Achievement in Dance; and 1998 and 2004 Doris Duke Awards for New Work from the American Dance Festival.

In 1997, UBW established the Summer Dance Institute in partnership with Florida State University. Entitled A New Dancer for a New Society, the Institute offered intensive training for young artists with leadership potential interested in a community focus in their art making. The Summer Institute was re-established in Brooklyn in 2004 under the rubric Building Community For Change. As part of its mission and outreach effort, UBW presents annual workshops, lecture demonstrations, performances, and long-term residencies. UBW’s Community Engagement Projects partner UBW with local presenters, area artists and community residents to bring the untold and under told histories of their communities forward through performance art. It is this community-focused vision that drives the aesthetic of UBW, and solicits a collective nod of agreement from a diverse audience of fans." [ Source ]

Soul Deep: How do we work to build healthy sustainable communities?
JULY 30 - AUGUST 8, 2010

"The Summer Leadership Institute (SLI) in New Orleans is an intensive 10-day “place based convening” where we learn effective ways to deepen or begin our work as artists who want to connect our art to community organizing and social change strategies. We will engage with the New Orleans community around our theme: Soul Deep: How do we work to build healthy sustainable communities?

Starting in New Orleans in 1990 with John O'Neal and Junebug Productions, Urban Bush Women (UBW) has embarked upon 20 years of conscious community engagement that has taken us all across the United States. We continued our long term and deep commitment to working in New Orleans through the launching of our 2009 Institute in New Orleans. We are honored to return for 2010 working with our partners in Team NOLA, a group of local participants who have guided the planning process.

The SLI forges an “artist as activist” methodology that offers a complex set of competencies and techniques that have evolved from UBW's 25-year practice of art-making. We believe it is valuable to “use movement to build a movement”.

Our leadership development will include
  • Embodied Learning through Dance and Movement Classes
  • Urban Bush Women's Entering Building and Exiting Community Workshop
  • People's Institute for Survival and Beyond's Undoing Racism Workshop
  • Presentations and Field Trips
  • Cultural Asset Mapping
  • Dialogue and Discussion
Groups transform as they sweat, clap, and create together. Communicating non-verbally is freeing in a debate-based society such as ours, and allows for an intimate and authentic way of knowing other people. We deliberately harness the joy and unifying power of rhythm and movement to inspire respectful physical and verbal dialogue.

We use art as a lab for struggling together. Dancing and creating together are the physical parallels to dialogue. We offer practice and tools for interacting physically and verbally. The Culminating Public Performances include all participants and use music, dance, theater, visual design and spoken word to address community concerns. The 10-day Institute schedule consists of full day experiences that often go into the evening. Join us in this important work!
Tuition is $850 and housing is available through Tulane for an additional fee. Participants are responsible for meals." [ Source ]

Click HERE to download the 2010 application
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