Recommended: Urban Bush Women
July 28, 2011

Urban Bush Women: Twenty Years of African American Dance Theater, Community Engagement, and Working It On

By Nadine George-Graves

the University of Wisconsin Press, 2010


In a nutshell: The making of a groundbreaking dance troupe.


“When I first saw them perform, I realized there was something much more profound going on here,” Nadine George-Graves says of Urban Bush Women. “It’s literally movement empowering social movement.” In this 230-page text, George-Graves, professor in the department of theater and dance at the University of California, San Diego, tracks the group’s journey from Jawole Willa Jo Zollar’s start in Kansas City, Missouri, through 20 years of creating and touring bold, postmodern dance.


Using the Brooklyn-based troupe’s repertoire as a timeline, George-Graves highlights the company’s advocacy in African American culture, gay rights and female empowerment. The author offers her own interpretations of Zollar’s work in easy-to-navigate passages. Black-and-white company photos are scattered throughout. Ideal for any studio library or dance history course, this book demonstrates why UBW continues to be relevant, and it provides new inspiration for modern dance students to make a difference with their dancing.

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