Beginning this year, UBW celebrates its 40th anniversary with a slate of performances—including Intelligence—and other programs across the country. The company burst onto the dance scene in 1984, with bold, innovative, demanding, and exciting works that brought under-told stories to life through the art and vision of its award-winning Founder and Visioning Partner, Jawole Willa Jo Zollar. The company continues to weave contemporary dance, music, and text with the history, culture, and spiritual traditions of the African Diaspora under Co-Artistic Directors Chanon Judson and Mame Diarra Speis. UBW performs regularly in New York City and tours nationally and internationally. The company has been commissioned by presenters nationwide, and includes among its honors a New York Dance and Performance Award (“Bessie”); the Capezio Award for Outstanding Achievement in Dance; a Black Theater Alliance Award; two Doris Duke Awards for New Work from the American Dance Festival; and designation as one of America’s Cultural Treasures by the Ford Foundation. Off the concert stage, UBW has developed an extensive community engagement program called BOLD (Builders, Organizers, and Leaders through Dance). UBW’s largest community engagement project is its Summer Leadership Institute (SLI), established in 1997. This 10-day intensive training program serves as the foundation for all the company’s community engagement activities, connecting dance professionals and community-based artists/activists in a learning experience to leverage the arts as a vehicle for civic engagement. UBW launched the Urban Bush Women Choreographic Center Initiative (CCI) in January 2016 and the Choreographic Center Initiative Producing Program (CCI 2.0) in 2022. Its CCI and CCI 2.0 fellowships support the development of women choreographers and producers of color and other underheard voices.
Urban Bush Women gratefully acknowledges Cheri L. Stokes, Urban Bush Women Associate Producer of Special Projects, for her outstanding support throughout UBW's creative process for Intelligence.