Campus News

Dance company Urban Bush Women to be in residence at UB

Urban Bush Women.

Urban Bush Women, which begins a residency at UB on Sept. 23, brings the untold and under-told stories of disenfranchised people to light through dance from a female-centered perspective and as members of the African Diaspora community.


Published September 20, 2019


A two-week residency at UB by the Brooklyn-based professional dance company Urban Bush Women (UBW) will include dance and community engagement activities, as well as a public performance of “Walking With ‘Trane,” inspired by the legendary jazz saxophonist John Coltrane.

The residency, from Sept. 23 through Oct. 4, is sponsored by the Department of Theatre and Dance, the Robert G. and Carol L. Morris/Morris Visiting Artists Residencies fund and the UB Creative Arts Initiative.

The performance of “Walking With ‘Trane” will take place at 7:30 p.m. Sept. 28 in the Drama Theatre in the Center for the Arts, North Campus.

UB faculty member and jazz pianist George Caldwell is co-composer of the music, and will accompany UBW live on stage.

“Walking With ‘Trane” offers two unique experiences — “Side A” and “Side B” — inspired by the musical life and spiritual journey of Coltrane, a composer at the forefront of 1950s and ’60s jazz innovation. Informed by the unpredictability of the bandstand, the “Band State” is the scary, risky place that potentially expands into “transcendence.” The work is an ethereal investigation within the layers of Coltrane’s music, life and spirituality.

“Side A: Just a Closer Walk with ‘Trane,” with musical score by Phillip White, conjures Coltrane’s essence, rooted in “known” traditions pushed into heightened performance “states.” From cool to hot, from ancient field hollers to gospel cadences, the strange reed riffs drive a spiraling physical journey through echoes of the blues, bebop, hard bop and free jazz.

“Side B: Freed(om)” is a free-fall suite of “states,” exploring the artistic imprint of Coltrane’s “A Love Supreme.” A riff on pursuance, the musical score by Caldwell plunges into the depths of Coltrane’s formidable legacy with diagonal pulls, suspended silences and chaotic spirals, which ultimately lead to transcendence. Caldwell will accompany UBW on piano.

Tickets to “Walking with ‘Trane” are $40 for the general public and $20 for students and are available at the CFA box office and online at Eventbrite.

Founded in 1984 by choreographer Jawole Willa Jo Zollar, Urban Bush Women has toured five continents and performed at such venues as the Brooklyn Academy of Music, Lincoln Center and The Kennedy Center. The group brings the untold and under-told histories and stories of disenfranchised people to light through dance from a female-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.