Published October 8, 2021
UB alumna Chanon Judson, co-artistic director of the Urban Bush Women (UBW) dance company, has joined the faculty of the Department of Theatre and Dance.
Judson, BFA ’01, a highly esteemed choreographer, performer, educator and community leader, will take a lead role in overseeing the comparative jazz dance curriculum, as well as contributing to the educational excellence of the MFA dance program and collaborating with the greater UB and Buffalo communities.
The first UBW Dance Residency is taking place at UB this week, with company members teaching classes and workshops for students and developing new work for UBW in the Center for the Arts’ Black Box Theatre.
“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, visiting associate professor. “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 Department of Theatre and Dance’s 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,” says 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.”
UBW galvanizes artists, activists, audiences and communities through performances, artist development, education and community engagement. With the groundbreaking performance ensemble at its core, and ongoing programs including the Summer Leadership Institute (SLI), BOLD (Builders, Organizers & Leaders through Dance) and the Choreographic Center Initiative, UBW promotes artistic legacies; projects the voices of the under-heard and people of color; brings attention to and addresses issues of equity in the dance field and throughout the United States; and provides platforms and serves as a conduit for culturally and socially relevant experimental art makers.
For more information about UBW, visit urbanbushwomen.org/about-ubw.