Director / Choreographer
Jawole Willa Jo Zollar
United States



Jawole Willa Jo Zollar is making her HGO debut. In 1984, Zollar founded Urban Bush Women as a performance ensemble dedicated to exploring the use of cultural expression as a catalyst for social change. Her most recent honors include the 2022 APAP Honors Award of Merit for Achievement in the Performing Arts, the 2022 Dorothy and Lilian Gish Prize, and a 2021 fellowship from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. In addition to 34 works for UBW, she has created works for Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, Philadanco, University of Maryland, Virginia Commonwealth University, and others. UBW has toured five continents and has performed at venues including Brooklyn Academy of Music, Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts and The Kennedy Center, and in 2010 was selected as one of three U.S. dance companies to inaugurate a cultural diplomacy program for the U.S. Department of State. Zollar serves as director of the Urban Bush Women Summer Leadership Institute, which enables artists to strengthen effective involvement in cultural organizing and civic engagement. A former board member of Dance/USA, Zollar received a 2008 United States Artists Wynn fellowship and a 2009 fellowship from the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial. She received the 2013 Arthur L. Johnson Memorial Award, the 2013 Doris Duke Performing Artist Award, the 2015 Dance Magazine Award, the 2016 Dance/USA Honor Award, the 2017 Bessies Lifetime Achievement Award, the 2021 Dance Teacher Award of Distinction, and the 2021 Martha Hill Dance Fund Lifetime Achievement Award. She holds honorary degrees from Columbia College, Chicago, Tufts University, Rutgers University, and the Muhlenberg College. She is the Nancy Smith Fichter Professor of Dance and Robert O. Lawton Distinguished Professor at Florida State University.