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Urban Bush Women challenge assumptions about women, people of color, body types, society, history

Urban Bush WomenCrafted from personal narratives from communities, kitchens, living rooms, and social media, dance company Urban Bush Women’s “Hair and Other Stories” tackles matters of race, gender identity, and economic inequality in the lives of African-American women.

The multidisciplinary work comes to the Moss Arts Center on April 28 at 7:30 p.m. The performance will be held in the Moss Arts Center’s Anne and Ellen Fife Theatre, located within the Street and Davis Performance Hall at 190 Alumni Mall.

For more than 30 years, Urban Bush Women has given expression to the vitality and boldness of African-American women. Led by choreographer and founder Jawole Willa Jo Zollar, the company has made an indelible mark on the field with innovative, demanding, and exciting works that challenge long-held assumptions about women, people of color, body types, movement styles, society, and history. The company weaves contemporary dance, music, and text with the history, culture, and spiritual traditions of African Americans.

“Hair and Other Stories” debates the center of perceived American values and celebrates the persevering narrative of the African diaspora. The work explores what constitutes freedom, liberation, and release in life’s everyday struggles and how individuals rise to be extraordinary.

Urban Bush Women burst onto the dance scene in 1984, bringing under-told stories to life through the art and vision of Zollar. Under her artistic direction, the company performs regularly in New York City and tours nationally and internationally. The company has been commissioned by presenters nationwide and includes among its honors a Bessie Award, the Capezio Award for Outstanding Achievement in Dance, a Black Theater Alliance Award, and two Doris Duke Awards for new work from the American Dance Festival.

Off the stage, Urban Bush Women has developed an extensive community engagement program called BOLD (Builders, Organizers, and Leaders through Dance) that features a network of facilitators who travel nationally and internationally to conduct workshops that bring the histories of local communities forward through performance. The company launched Urban Bush Women Choreographic Center in 2016 to support the development of women choreographers of color and other underheard voices.

This program was made possible in part 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, with additional support from the National Endowment for the Arts.

Related event: Talk with associate artistic director for Urban Bush Women

Directly before the performance of “Hair and Other Stories” on April 28, Chanon Judson, associate artistic director and dancer with Urban Bush Women, will lead a brief talk and engage in a group discussion in the Moss Arts Center’s Cube beginning at 6 p.m. The event is free, but is first come, first served. To guarantee a seat, register online.

Tickets for the performance are $20-$45 for general public and $10 for students and youth 18 and under. Tickets can be purchased online; at the Moss Arts Center’s box office10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday through Friday and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday; or by calling 540-231-5300 during box office hours.

Parking is available in the North End Parking Garage on Turner Street. Virginia Tech faculty and staff possessing a valid Virginia Tech parking permit can enter and exit the garage free of charge. Limited street parking is also available. Parking on Alumni Mall is free on weekdays after 5 p.m. and on weekends.

If you are an individual with a disability and desire an accommodation, please contact Kacy McAllister at 540-231-5300 or email during regular business hours.

augusta free press
augusta free press