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.

Collaborators & Colleagues

Philip Bither has been the Walker Art Center’s senior curator of performing arts since 1997.

FringeArts president and producing director, Nick Stuccio, talks with us about organizational growth, new audience development, and risk-taking as a presenter.

Grants & Grantees

Featuring Forsythe’s signature choreography, this production pushed the physical limits of Pennsylvania Ballet dancers, demanding sharp timing, precise syncopation, and coordination.

Grants & Grantees

Martha Clark’s dance-theater work was inspired by photographs by Diane Arbus, Ralph Eugene Meatyard, and Helen Levitt.

As part of Pasión y Arte’s Philadelphia Flamenco Festival, International House Philadelphia will host a screening of Flamenco Hoy by the celebrated film maestro Carlos Saura.

Collaborators & Colleagues

Aaron Landsman is a New York City-based playwright, actor, and teacher whose performance works combine formal experimentation and long-term community engagement.

Grants & Grantees

FringeArts presents, develops, and commissions a range of high-quality contemporary performing and visual arts in Philadelphia.

“Extraordinary Indian classical dancer” Sarukkai performed at the Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts, a Center-funded concert presented by Sruti, the India Music and Dance Society.

Grants & Grantees

Ron Silliman is a poet and a 1998 Pew Fellow.

thINKingDance writer Carolyn Merritt reported on Pasión y Arte’s highly successful First Philadelphia Flamenco Festival with Rosario Toledo.

In conjunction with FringeArts’ presentation of Macbeth by South African theater artist Brett Bailey, a series of film screenings will be held to explore the social, political, and artistic themes within the work.

Collaborators & Colleagues

Pam Tanowitz is a choreographer and the founder of Pam Tanowitz Dance. In 2015, she served as a Performance LOI panelist.