UB Department of Theatre and Dance announces new faculty and collaboration with Urban Bush Women

Chanon Judson portrait.

UB alumna Chanon Judson will oversee the comparative jazz dance curriculum and contribute to the educational excellence of the MFA dance program.

Release Date: October 6, 2021


The University at Buffalo Department of Theatre and Dance welcomes Chanon Judson, BFA ’01, co-artistic director of Urban Bush Women (UBW) to its faculty. Judson is a highly esteemed choreographer, performer, educator and community leader who brings a breadth of expertise and years of experience to UB.

Judson will have a sustained impact across the department, taking a lead role in overseeing the comparative jazz dance curriculum and contributing to the educational excellence of the MFA dance program. With roots in Buffalo, Judson’s community and collaborative work will extend to the greater UB and Buffalo communities.

The department is also honored to welcome the Urban Bush Women dance company (UBW) for the first UBW Dance Residency at UB. The company will teach classes and workshops  for students and will develop new work for UBW in the Center for the Arts Black Box Theatre Oct. 4 – 8, 2021.

"Over the past six years I've been in a process of examining, embodying and reclaiming jazz practice from the lens of African American root systems," says Judson. "This study asks for the interrogation and reframing of my lens in regards to jazz dance history and my own formation story that is as much a product of African American form and founding as it is of colonized-codified form, where white men are championed as the genre’s ‘pioneers’.”

The collaboration with UBW helps to fulfill an educational priority to give new and upcoming student-artists exposure and access to professionals in the field. The engagement between the groups will not only expand opportunities for student and faculty research and creative activity, but will also bring a diverse array of artist-scholar-collaborators to UB.

“This new partnership feels like a gift,” said Anne Burnidge, associate professor and department chair. “I can’t wait to see how it grows and develops and how our students, university and community are expanded by the opportunity to work with and learn from Chanon and these amazing artists.”  

Founded in 1984 by choreographer Jawole Willa Jo Zollar, Urban Bush Women (UBW) seeks to bring the untold and under-told stories to light through dance. We do this from a woman-centered perspective and as members of the African Diaspora community in order to create a more equitable balance of power in the dance world and beyond.

As UBW celebrates its 37th Anniversary year, we continue to use dance as both the message and the medium to bring together diverse audiences through innovative choreography, community collaboration and artistic leadership development.

For more information about UBW, visit urbanbushwomen.org/about-ubw.

Media Contact Information

Jackie Hausler
Associate Director of Communications
College of Arts and Sciences