Friday, July 29, 2011

Urban Bush Women Summer Leadership Institute Concludes With Free Performance

From our friends with Urban Bush Women:
On Saturday, July 30th at 3:00 and 7:00, Urban Bush Women (UBW) presents the culminating performance for its third New Orleans Summer Leadership Institute (SLI) at Lusher Charter School's Goldring Auditorium, 7315 Willow Street, (Jeanette Street Entrance). The performance will feature new works created by participants in the SLI and a guest appearance by Kermit Ruffins at the 3:00 performance.

Admission to the performance is free and donations will be accepted to support the Institute for Women and Ethnic Studies' Women Leadership Program. UBW's SLI is supported by the Surdna Foundation, Open Society Foundation, the Nathan Cummings Foundation, Newcomb Dance Program, Tulane University Dept. of Theatre and Dance, New Orleans Gulf South Center and Tulane University School of Liberal Arts.

The SLI is a 10-day intensive training workshop which brings together artists and community leaders from all over the city, state, country - and even the world - to learn about UBW's unique approach to utilizing the arts for civic engagement and social change. The schedule also includes teach-ins around specific political and social justice issues, undoing racism training, daily UBW dance technique classes, and a guided creative process culminating in a final creative performance based on this year's theme -- Soul Deep: Deepening Our Roots.

About Urban Bush Women: Founded in 1984 by choreographer Jawole Willa Jo Zollar, Urban Bush Women (UBW) seeks to bring the untold and under-told histories and stories of disenfranchised people 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. We do this by facilitating the use of art as a means of addressing issues of social justice and encouraging civic engagement. Based in Brooklyn, we aspire to ensure continuity by strengthening and expanding our international community via ongoing professional education, development of new audiences, nurturing young talent and presenting bold, life-affirming dance works in a variety of settings including at our annual Summer Leadership Institute.

Background on the Summer Leadership Institute: Urban Bush Women's SLI grew out of its earliest community engagement work, which took place in New Orleans from 1990-1992. The SLI began at Florida State University in Tallahassee Florida in 1997 and was moved to UBW's home of Brooklyn, New York, in 2004. For the past three years the SLI has been based in New Orleans to help support and strengthen the efforts New Orleans artists, organizers and stakeholders are making to sustain the cultural and artistic assets of this unique city. UBW's founder, Jawole Willa Jo Zollar explains, "New Orleans is such a creative and personal inspiration that it was important to me toreturn to support the community, particularly the community of artists, as this city was the place of UrbanBush Women's first community engagement project sponsored by Junebug and the Contemporary ArtsCenter. Here we made the leap from one-way outreach to an effective community engagement strategy. We want to be a part of the renewal process and hope our Summer Leadership Institute training can make a positive difference."

Since coming to New Orleans in 2009, Urban Bush Women has extended over 75 scholarships to New Orleans participants. The SLI is lead locally by Team NOLA, a local body of artists and SLI alumni, who co-create and co-plan the SLI in collaboration with UBW. 2nd Line Consulting and Moving Stories Inc, New Orleans-based arts-consulting firms, led by Stephanie McKee and Takema Robinson, also SLI alumni, facilitate Team NOLA's local planning efforts and goals which include connecting SLI to the greater New Orleans' arts and social justice community. UBW's New Orleans partners include Tulane University, which hosts the SLI each summer and People's Institute for Survival and Beyond, whose Undoing Racism workshop is a core element of the SLI training. Other local area partners include Lusher Charter School, the Institute for Women's Ethnic Studies (IWES), Ashe Cultural Arts Center, Junebug Productions, The McKenna Museum, Kumbuka African Drum and Dance Collective and Mondo Bizarro.

Urban Bush Women Third New Orleans Summer Leadership Institute culminating performance (with special guest appearance by Kermit Ruffins at 3:00pm show):
July 30, 2011
3:00pm & 7:00pm
Lusher Charter School Goldring Theater
7315 Willow Street/Jeanette Street Entrance
Open to the Public
Free & Donations Accepted to Support UBW's partner: The Institute of Women and Ethnic Studies' Leadership Development Program.

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