We are excited to welcome the Urban Bush Women back to the Dance Center stage for a second visit in as many years. Under the artistic direction of Jawole Willa Jo Zollar, UBW has enthralled Dance Center audiences with thought-provoking performances since the 1989-1900 season. Rest assured, the Chicago premiere of Walking with ‘Trane will equally inspire. This new evening-length project, which had a triumphant run at Brooklyn Academy of Music in December, celebrates two important legacies in concert dance and music—UBW’s thirty-year anniversary and the fifty-year anniversary of John Coltrane’s groundbreaking A Love Supreme. Just as Coltrane’s complex, melodious mastery of the alto saxophone created a blueprint for jazz composition and performance globally, UBW’s relentless commitment to communing, collecting, choreographing and performing the stories of people throughout the African Diaspora continues to influence the way dancers fuse concert and African American vernacular dance, and engage communities. This is not conventional jazz dance, and yet it is a fully-realized fusion of content, mastery and practice that gives us new insight into what jazz music and dancing can do, and be, and say, to all of us.
Walking with ‘Trane includes an insightful collaboration between UBW and Grammy Award winning composer/pianist George Caldwell. Together the dancers and musician riff off of A Love Supreme to create a performance that kinesthetically and sonically echoes the past, reflects the present replete with its complications, and invites audiences to envision harmonious futures.
Raquel L. Monroe, Ph.D.
Above and below: UBW company members at Links Hall for the Peep Show, February 16. Above: l- Stephanie Mas, r-Chanon Judson Below: l-DuBois A’Keen, middle – Courtney Cook, r- Tendayi Kuumba