Urban Bush Women performs at Bailey Hall

Liana Martell

Contributing Writer


A showcase of stories were presented through dances which highlighted the unheard voices and experiences of colored women within hair salons, stereotypical beauty standards and the society in which they live in.

From Brooklyn, New York to South Florida, the non-profit dance company, Urban Bush Women, presented their most recent choreography of “Urban Bush Women: Hair and Other Stories” (UBW) at Bailey Hall at the Broward College Central Campus on Sept. 29.

UBW’s mission through their performances is to catalyze conversations in society in hopes of justifying racial equality in the United States.

UBW performers broke the “fourth wall,” which allowed the audience to engage and express their emotions in the interactive performance right from their seats.

The ensembles and experiences presented, carried a social focus from beginning to end, depicting the standards that colored women have had to obtain due to the society around them.

“What we’re tuning into is being in true telling, being inside of that space,” said Chanon Judson, the Associate Artistic Director of UBW.

“Speaking from my eye, speaking from your eye, speaking from your experience.”

UBW’s platform throughout the show was to speak for the unheard and allow women of color to be vulnerable enough to express their buried demons.

During a scene in the show, Judson tells audience members to say what their skin color and race means to them.

After minutes of silences, and just one dimmed light on the center of the stage, both men and women began to yell out words from left and right of the auditorium: “beauty,” “respect,” “passion,” “elegance” and “appreciation” and so on.

Audience member, Masha Enriquez, has experienced a semester of dance classes with Jawole Willa Jo Zollar, the Founding Artistic Director of UBW, which included movements and techniques similar to those presented in the show.

“Every class with Jawole as my professor was interactive, just like this particular show,” said Enriquez. “She always wanted us to dig deeper into our movements and have a clear intention.”

With only seven performers, alongside the man behind the music, the dancers were able to maneuver their bodies to each and every corner of the auditorium.

From the stage to the aisles, they filled Bailey Hall with their movements, and insisted that the audience members rise and join them during their dancing parade.

BC students were able to participate in this event for $6, while non BC student’s prices were up to $50.

Nonetheless, the diverse audience members filled the room with a pool of various colors, races and genders – all applauding and chanting after each and every ensemble piece that was conducted.

“…For us, what we wanted was the ability to be able to be uncurated, audacious and unapologetic…” Judson said.

“We’re trying to grow, we’re trying to expand and we’re trying to deconstruct the construct.”

For more information regarding UBW’s company, visit https://www.urbanbushwomen.org/.

The next performance at Bailey Hall will be the world-class musicianship and cinematic storytelling of the Guy Mendilow Ensemble on Nov. 16.

Bailey Hall offers Broward College students, faculty and the South Florida community with highest quality cultural entertainment and programming. The College uses its various music, theater, and film series to incorporate an academic component for its fine arts and visual arts students through master classes, workshops and participation.