We asked Jawole Willa Jo Zollar, choreographer and founding artistic director of Urban Bush Women, to talk about how her practice intertwines with issues of social justice. “For me, it’s a very deep and long practice and way of thinking,” she says. Zollar discusses the necessity for artists to examine their own class or race assumptions when working in a community: “If they’re unexamined, then that colors the work that I do. If they’re examined…then we both grow, and on the exit…hopefully, we both are stronger,” she says.
Choreographer Jawole Willa Jo Zollar is founding artistic director of Urban Bush Women (UBW), a performance ensemble dedicated to exploring the use of cultural expression as a catalyst for social change. In addition to her work with UBW, Zollar has created works for Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, Philadanco, Virginia Commonwealth University, among others; and with collaborators including Nora Chipaumire and Compagnie Jant-Bi. A professor of dance at Florida State University, her honors include a Guggenheim Fellowship, a Doris Duke Artist Award, and a USA Wynn Fellowship.