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Urban Bush Women present sneak-peek work-in-progress of new production, Hair and Other Stories

April 1, 2017

Carleton College is pleased to present a sneak-peek work-in-progress performance of the Urban Bush Women’s new production, Hair and Other Stories, Wednesday, April 12 from 7:30 to 9:30 p.m. in the Skinner Memorial Chapel. This is a rare opportunity for the Carleton and greater Northfield communities to experience a performance by this groundbreaking, award-winning dance ensemble.

Urban Bush Women (UBW) 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. UBW’s mission is simple: Create dance. Create community.

The ensemble is currently rehearsing their latest production, Hair and Other Stories, scheduled for a world premiere later this year. In the mean time, local audiences have a rare opportunity to get an early "peek" at the production. Urban Bush Women's associate artistic director Chanon Judson explains, "Hair and Other Stories explores the subjects of self-image, race, and gender inequality through the lens of hair, primarily that of African-American women. UBW and their audiences will journey through Curated Living Room Conversations, Truth-telling Kitchen Talk, and craft a Recipe for achieving the Extra Ordinary Self for Extraordinary Times."

Hair and Other Stories marks a return to UBW's experimental roots, with explorations of voice, text, movement, and nontraditional spaces. The audience will play a part in witnessing, creating, and unpacking the work as it moves from space to space in a New Orleans-style processional. The performance is designed to encourage audiences to consider our familial relationships, place, values, identity, history, racism, positionality, and how our roles prompt us to reflect and also provide courage and hope to be active and present in these unprecedented times.

Under Zollar’s artistic direction, Urban Bush Women performs regularly in New York City and tours both nationally and internationally. The company has been commissioned by presenters nationwide, and includes among its honors a New York Dance and Performance Award (“Bessie”); the Capezio Award for Outstanding Achievement in Dance; and two 2004 Doris Duke Awards for New Work from the American Dance Festival. In March 2010, UBW toured South America as part of DanceMotion USAsm, a cultural diplomacy initiative spearheaded by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs and the Brooklyn Academy of Music.

As UBW celebrates its 33rd Anniversary year, they continue to use dance as both the message and the medium to bring together diverse audiences through innovative choreography, community collaboration and artistic leadership development. More at www.urbanbushwomen.org.

This event is sponsored by Arts at Carleton, thanks to support from the Ward Lucas Lecture Series in the Arts. For more information, including disability accommodations, call (507) 222-4531. The Skinner Memorial Chapel is located at First and College Streets in Northfield.