Jawole Willa Jo Zollar

Jawole Willa Jo Zollar

Fellow: Awarded 2009
Field of Study: Choreography

Competition: US & Canada

Florida State University

Founder and Artistic Director of Urban Bush Women, choreographer Jawole Willa Jo Zollar was born and raised in Kansas City, Missouri. She trained with Joseph Stevenson, a student of the legendary Katherine Dunham, and received a B.A. in dance from the University of Missouri at Kansas City and an M.F.A. in dance from Florida State University. In 1980, she moved to New York City to study with Dianne McIntyre at Sounds in Motion. She founded Urban Bush Women in 1984.

In addition to thirty works for UBW,  Jawole Zollar has created works for Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, Ballet Arizona, Philadanco, University of Maryland, University of Florida, Dayton Contemporary Dance Company, and others. Her many positions as a teacher and speaker include Worlds of Thought Resident Scholar at Mankato State University (1993-94), Regents Lecturer in the Departments of Dance and World Arts and Culture at UCLA (1995-96), Visiting Artist at Ohio State University (1996), and the Abramowitz Memorial Lecturer at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (1998). Since 1997, she has been the Nancy Smith Fichter Professor of Dance at Florida State University.  In addition, she directs the Urban Bush Women Summer Institute, an intensive training program in dance and community engagement for artists with leadership potential interested in developing a community focus in their art-making.

Ms. Zollar was named Alumna of the Year by University of Missouri (1993) and Florida State University (1997), and awarded an Honorary Doctorate from Columbia College, Chicago (2002). She also received the Martin Luther King Distinguished Service Award from Florida State University, where she holds a tenured position as the Nancy Smith Fichter Professor in Dance. In 2008 she was named a USA Artists Wynn Fellow.

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