“I love teaching. I'm good at nurturing creative talent, pulling out of people what they don't know they have, breaking through the mask.”
—Jawole Willa Jo Zollar
Jawole Willa Jo Zollar
Artist in Residence
If a good story leaps off the page, does a good dance leap off the stage?
Most definitely, if Jawole Willa Jo Zollar and her six Urban Bush Women are the leapers-who also spin, kick, shake, sing, shout and tell stories like the famous, rule-breaking dance troupe they are.
Art that gets off the stage and into everyday life is what Jawole Zollar set out to create more than 20 years ago. Her vision began taking shape when she was a graduate student in FSU's top-ranked dance department in the late '70s. In 1984, in the form of a company named Urban Bush Women, it took New York dance by storm. The same exuberant vision brought her back to Florida State University in 1996 as artist-in-residence and professor.
But this is no round-trip journey. For the far-sighted Ms. Zollar, it simply means she now has two very connected points of departure: the New York company where she builds her work and her alma mater where she helps build new generations of dancers-and rebuilds her own creative energy.
She is emphatic: “I love teaching. I'm good at nurturing creative talent, pulling out of people what they don't know they have, breaking through the mask. But New York students constantly flow in and out. In Tallahassee they commit for a definite time. And I make discoveries with them. If you're constantly on the road, you don't have time for the creative process.”