Hair & Other Stories (New York Premiere)
Since Urban Bush Women burst onto the dance scene in 1984, the award-winning all-woman company has used contemporary dance to illuminate the history, culture, and spiritual traditions of the African Diaspora.
Described by the Brooklyn-based company as the “urgent dialogue of the 21st century,” Hair & Other Stories is a medley of personal narratives gathered from community, kitchen and living room conversations, social media, and YouTube. This evening-length experience blends dance-theater performance and conversation to explore disquieting perceptions of beauty, identity, and race through the lens of hair, primarily that of African-American women.
Choreographed by Associate Artistic Directors Chanon Judson and Samantha Speis as a radical reinterpretation of HairStories (2001), the work features new music compositions by The Illustrious Blacks, costumes by DeeDee Gomes, and stage direction by Raelle Myrick-Hodges. A true experiential journey that begins outside of the theater with story-sharing and performances from a rotating cast of special guests, and that culminates in a performance space that evolves in the course of the evening to encourage shifting perspectives, Hair & Other Stories celebrates the path to freedom and self-love as we seek to rise to our Extra-ordinary Selves in extraordinary times.
Seating configurations will change throughout the evening and will vary between floor and chair arrangements. Please let the house manager know upon arrival if you have any accessibility needs.
Run time: 2 1/2 hours including intermission
Come early! The lobby will open at 7PM with story-sharing, an art installation, and other activities. Performance in the ballroom begins promptly at 8PM.
Choreographed by: Chanon Judson and Samantha Speis in collaboration with The Company;
Stage Direction: Raelle Myrick-Hodges; Dramaturg: Jawole Willa Jo Zollar; The Company:
Du’Bois A’Keen, Courtney J. Cook, Chanon Judson, Tendayi Kuumba, Stephanie Mas and
Samantha Speis; Lighting Designer: Xavier Pierce; Costume Designer: DeeDee Gomes;
Projections Designer: Nicholas Hussong; Sound Design by: Everett Asis Saunders; Music
Composed by: The Illustrious Blacks (Manchildblack and Monstah Black)
Hair & Other Stories premiered in a Proscenium version at Virginia Arts Festival in April 2017 (Norfolk, VA). The audience-engaged version premiered at Contemporary Arts Center in January 2018 (New Orleans, LA).
ABOUT URBAN BUSH WOMEN
Urban Bush Women (UBW) burst onto the dance scene in 1984 with bold, innovative, demanding and exciting works that bring under-told stories to life through the art and vision of its award-winning founder Jawole Willa Jo Zollar. The company weaves contemporary dance, music, and text with the history, culture, and spiritual traditions of the African Diaspora.
Under Zollar’s artistic direction, Urban Bush Women performs regularly in New York City and tours nationally and internationally. The Company has been commissioned by presenters nationwide, and includes among its honors a New York Dance and Performance Award (“Bessie”); the Capezio Award for Outstanding Achievement in Dance; a Black Theater Alliance Award; and two Doris Duke Awards for New Work from the American Dance Festival. In March 2010, UBW toured South America as part of DanceMotion USA, a cultural diplomacy initiative spearheaded by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs and the Brooklyn Academy of Music. In recent years, Zollar has been awarded the 2014 Southern Methodist University Meadows Prize, the 2015 Dance Magazine Award and the 2016 Dance/USA Honors Award. In 2017, Zollar received a Bessie Award for Lifetime Achievement in Dance.