Questions of Practice: Choreographer Jawole Willa Jo Zollar on Art and Social Justice

Questions of Practice: Choreographer Jawole Willa Jo Zollar on Art and Social Justice

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 on art and social justice. Filmed at The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage on February 3, 2016.

Watch Zollar on artistic evolution and risk.>>

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.