Jawole Willa Jo Zollar, inspired by her upbringing in an African-American neighborhood of Kansas City, founded her all-female company to give voice to the disenfranchised, particularly women of the African Diaspora. Urban Bush Women now marks thirty years of impassioned dance making for social change and comes to the Dance Center of Columbia College as part of the celebration. Two pieces are on the program: Zollar’s “Hep Hep Sweet Sweet,” a personal memoir and homage to music and culture of her youth. We’re taken to Kansas City via song, and welcomed into a nightclub scene swinging with jazz and blues—right after the narrative voice tells us that her reflections are “part truth, part memory, part rumor, part nostalgia and part myth.” Urban Bush Women also perform Nora Chipaumire’s “dark swan,” a ferocious and vulnerable nod to (and questioning of) the Russian masters who influenced contemporary dance. Originally a solo, “dark swan” is adapted here into a full company piece, magnifying the potent questions it raises about how we view bodies, particularly black female bodies, in dance. (Sharon Hoyer)
Urban Bush Women at the Dance Center of Columbia College, 1306 South Michigan, (312)369-8330. Thursday-Saturday, March 19-21 at 8pm. $27-$34.