upcoming grant deadline: 03/01/2018

upcoming grant deadline: 03/01/2018

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Sketch by Stephanie Amma Young
Sketch by Stephanie Amma Young

Reflections On The Urban Bush Women Generative Dancer Workshop

By Stephanie Amma Young (ACG '17, '10, '08, '06)


Urban Bush Women Founder Jawole Willa Jo Zollar and dancers are fierce, fabulous, and on fire. I am extremely grateful for Leeway's lottery to the Generative Dancer: Black Radical Traditions of Practice & Thought opportunity. The Urban Bush Women Choreographic Center Faculty facilitated a comprehensive nine-day intensive. We had daily technique classes and learned to generate movement through UBW's process and learning. It was rigorous for me because of the modern and ballet classes taught which are not my dance forms, and enlightening because I was challenged do work outside my comfort zone. I had many "A HA" moments.

The Generative Dancer: Black Radical Traditions of Practice & Thought is a full day workshop experience from 10:00 AM - 6:00 PM for intermediate/advanced choreographers and performers who want to deepen their practice through participation in an immersive learning environment. The choreographic intensive did just that. Scholars were brought in to give us research and experiences in music, dance history, writing, and drama and put us to task to create.

Everyday Director Jawole Willa Jo Zollar was present to impart her knowledge, wisdom, experience, and passion--a treasure for me and I am sure for all those who participated. I will forever keep the experience in my heart, replay it in my mind, and rejoice in my soul because Jawole kept her knowledge alive in her dance, lived in her knowledge, and is totally about the knowledge she creates stories from to share with the world. It’s amazing to learn how to really tell a story verbally and amazing transferring it into movement UBW style; that was simply a divine highlight for me. It’s a transcribing transformation process that happens on the dance floor. I can’t stop talking about my experience and encouraging other dancers to check out the Urban Bush Women’s programs. I knew they were good; I did not know how great their art form was.

UBW’s work is important and translates our African American heritage into a creative language that gives a voice to our African American ancestors, our history, struggle and victory, culture, cultural norms, music, language, poetry, and stories. UBW has an impact on any dancer with African American or African diaspora roots, or enthusiasts.

Each one of the Urban Bush Women and men were fascinating artists; I could have watched them all day. It is especially awesome to participate in the first UBW Summer Choreographic Intensive program hosted by the UBW artisans; I truly love them all. They had energy, vitality, and boldness and were humble, helpful, and always willing to share their skill and knowledge. Thank you, and much more continued success to Jawole Willa Jo Zollar and staff, all the professors, and cohort.


The Generative Dancer: Black Radical Traditions of Practice & Thought workshop intensive was held from June 24 through July 2, 2017 at the Mark Morris and Gelsey Kirkland studios in Brooklyn, NY. Learn more about Urban Bush Women at urbanbushwomen.org.

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Art and Change Grant

The Art and Change Grant provides project-based grants of up to $2,500 to women and trans* artists in Greater Philadelphia to fund art for social change projects. 2018 applications will be available in January, 2018. [read more]

deadline 03/01
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Kick off the holiday party season with Bread & Roses Community Fund, CultureWorks Greater Philadelphia, Leeway Foundation, and Philly PR Girl. We're all neighbors in The Philadelphia Building and we want to celebrate you! 

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