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.
Four incredible educators: Joanne Chapman, Claudio Muñoz, Pamela VanGilder and Kathleen Isaac foster their students' love of dance, whether instilling artistry, offering rigorous training or giving special needs students an outlet through movement.
When Jennie Somogyi retired from New York City Ballet, she found herself in high demand as a teacher. Parents called, texted and persisted. "I don't even know how some of them got my contact information," she says with a laugh. But Somogyi, who departed from NYCB in 2015 after a 22-year career, hadn't made any definitive plans for the next stage of her life. "I just like to see how things move me," she says. She discovered, though, that she enjoyed the process of giving private lessons and seeing the rapid progress students could make. Over time, she realized that teaching was something she wanted rather than needed.
Does your studio slow down when the weather warms up? If you don't offer a summer session, June through August can be a cash-flow challenge. One popular—and easy—strategy is to offer weeklong camps instead. We spoke to three professionals to learn how they make summer camp work.
This week Ballet Hispánico launched its first ChoreoLaB workshop, a summer intensive intended to better prepare aspiring professional dancers—with more than just excellent technique. Artistic director Eduardo Vilaro wanted to create a program that bridges the school and the company, to help dancers transitioning into the professional world and better hone their skills.
The language of Mind Body Dancer is dynamic. "Action words stimulate change in your students," says yoga teacher TaraMarie Perri. "Try 'pour,' 'push' and 'experience' –not 'feel' or 'do or don't' Those words don't mean anything." Here, Perri and dancer Maggie Ronan use the active MBD language to demonstrate yoga poses used as a warm-up in many dance classes. While practicing, be sure to inhale and exhale in steady cycles.