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Jawole Willa Jo Zollar

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Information about Jawole Willa Jo Zollar

Profile image of Jawole Willa Jo Zollar

Profession

Category:
ArtMakers
Occupation(s):
Artistic Director
Dancer

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Orange
Favorite Food:
Arugula
Favorite Time of Year:
Fall, Spring
Favorite Vacation Spot:
Spas
Favorite Quote:
Go For What You Know.

Birthplace

Born:
12/21/1950
Birth Location:
Kansas City, Missouri

Profession

Category:
ArtMakers
Occupation(s):
Artistic Director
Dancer

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Orange
Favorite Food:
Arugula
Favorite Time of Year:
Fall, Spring
Favorite Vacation Spot:
Spas
Favorite Quote:
Go For What You Know.

Birthplace

Born:
12/21/1950
Birth Location:
Kansas City
See how Jawole Willa Jo Zollar is related to other HistoryMakers

Biography

Choreographer and dancer Jawole Willa Jo Zollar was born in 1950 and raised in Kansas City, Missouri. One of six children, Zollar grew up in a family that was steeped in African American culture. She grew up listening to jazz music and imagining movement in her head. Her first dance teacher was Joseph Stevenson, a student of American dance pioneer Katherine Dunham. Having earned her B.A. degree in dance from the University of Missouri in Kansas City and an M.F.A. degree from Florida State University, Zollar moved to New York City in 1980 to study dance with Dianne McIntyre at Sounds in Motion. In 1984, she left McIntyre’s studio to establish the internationally acclaimed dance company, Urban Bush Women in 1984.

Zollar’s dance company, Urban Bush Women, uses live music, cappella vocalizations and movement to interpret the religious traditions and folklore of the African Diaspora. Her work with Urban Bush Women has earned five grants from the National Endowment for the Arts and a fellowship from the New York Foundation for the Arts. Zollar has also garnered accolades as a teacher and speaker. These include receiving a New York Dance and Performance BESSIE Award in 1992, the Alumni Achievement Award from the University of Missouri in 1993 and Worlds of Thought Resident Scholar at Mankato University in 1993.

Zollar has created works for Alvin Ailey, the American Dance Theater, Ballet Arizona, Philadanco, Dayton Contemporary Dance Company and others. Zollar is Artist in Residence at Florida State University. Her other university commissions include Florida A & M University and the University of Maryland, College Park. She has lectured at such prestigious universities as MIT and UCLA. In 1999, she received the Martin Luther King Distinguished Service Award. Zollar’s company was prominently featured in the PBS documentary, Free to Dance. In 2002, Zollar was awarded an honorary doctorate from Columbia University.

Urban Bush Women continue to tour extensively throughout the United States and Europe. Zollar resides in Tallahassee, Florida and Brooklyn, New York.

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  • Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Jawole Willa Jo Zollar's interview
  • Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Jawole Willa Jo Zollar lists her favorites
  • Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Jawole Willa Jo Zollar explains why she changed her name to Jawole
  • Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Jawole Willa Jo Zollar describes her mother's family background
  • Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Jawole Willa Jo Zollar describes her mother's education in Kansas City
  • Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Jawole Willa Jo Zollar describes her mother's career as a jazz musician
  • Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Jawole Willa Jo Zollar describes her maternal grandmother
  • Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Jawole Willa Jo Zollar talks about her mother's previous marriages
  • Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Jawole Willa Jo Zollar describes her father's family background, pt. 1
  • Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Jawole Willa Jo Zollar describes her father's family background, pt. 2
  • Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Jawole Willa Jo Zollar describes how her parents met and married
  • Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Jawole Willa Jo Zollar describes her personality during her childhood
  • Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Jawole Willa Jo Zollar describes her education in Kansas City, Missouri
  • Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Jawole Willa Jo Zollar describes the role of religion in her childhood
  • Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Jawole Willa Jo Zollar describes her childhood community in Kansas City
  • Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Jawole Willa Jo Zollar describes her awareness of race as a child
  • Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Jawole Willa Jo Zollar recalls facing racial discrimination in Tallahassee, Florida
  • Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Jawole Willa Jo Zollar describes classes that influenced her at Central High School
  • Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Jawole Willa Jo Zollar talks about wearing short, natural hair
  • Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Jawole Willa Jo Zollar recalls her experiences at the University of Missouri-Kansas City
  • Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Jawole Willa Jo Zollar talks about her influences as a dancer
  • Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Jawole Willa Jo Zollar describes her graduate work at Florida State University
  • Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Jawole Willa Jo Zollar recalls moving to New York City to pursue dance
  • Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Jawole Willa Jo Zollar recalls her decision to found a dance company
  • Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Jawole Willa Jo Zollar describes the feminist themes in her choreography
  • Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Jawole Willa Jo Zollar describes what inspired her work in the 1980s
  • Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Jawole Willa Jo Zollar explains why she chose dance as a career
  • Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Jawole Willa Jo Zollar describes her social activism
  • Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Jawole Willa Jo Zollar talks about the African American arts community
  • Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Jawole Willa Jo Zollar reflects upon her life
  • Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Jawole Willa Jo Zollar describes how she would like to be remembered
  • Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Jawole Willa Jo Zollar imagines choreography based on her life