Urban Bush Women has officially kicked off it’s 2016 tour season with performances of Walking with ‘Trane in Chicago, IL at The Dance Center at Columbia College Chicago and in Providence, RI at the Veterans Memorial Auditorium. Next Week UBW is headed to Pittsburgh, PA to take the stage at the August Wilson Center March 11 at 8p. This is just the beginning! You have many more chances to experience our new masterful work in a city near you. To see our full touring schedule visit our website at www.urbanbushwomen.org.
WALKING WITH ‘TRANE
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Walking with ‘Trane in a City Near You!
Walking with ‘Trane New York Premiere at BAM
Walking with ‘Trane had it’s New York premiere at BAM’s 2015 Next Wave Festival December 9 -12, 2015. At BAM a total of 2,478 people saw the work! This piece was the culmination of Urban Bush Women’s creative journey spanning 5 years.
John Coltrane’s 1965 album A Love Supreme was a revelation. Dismissed when it was first released, it soon came to be seen as affirming a divinity that defies dogma or definition. At the confluence of two important anniversaries—the album’s 50th and Urban Bush Women’s 30th—founder Jawole Willa Jo Zollar was poised to create something new in its arresting shadow.
The result is this choreographic riff in two parts, SIDE A: JUST A CLOSER WALK WITH ‘TRANE and SIDE B: FREED(OM). Performed by the celebrated company, based on dramaturgy by Talvin Wilks, choreography by Jawole Willa Jo Zollar and Samantha Speis and a Coltrane-inspired score by composers George Caldwell and Philip White, this evening-length suite fuses Urban Bush Women’s inventive movement with Coltrane’s revolutionary post-bop spirit.
I especially want to thank BAM – Joe Melillo and Amy Cassello, FSU’s Opening Nights Performing Arts’ Chris Heacox, and our Creative Catalyst Circle supporters. – Jawole Willa Jo Zollar, Founder/Visioning Partner
WALKING WITH ’TRANE is an evening-length performance conceived by Jawole Zollar for UBW dance company, who will be joined by three musicians. Building on an earlier, 20-minute work (Walking with ’Trane, Chapter 2), Zollar will choreograph a new, 90-minute dance fully fleshing out the four parts of John Coltrane’s seminal recording, A Love Supreme, while also exploring the era in which Coltrane was creating music. With composer Philip White, dramaturg Talvin Wilks, and designers Wendell Harrington (video), Helen Simmons (costumes) and Russell Sandifer (lighting), UBW will bring Coltrane’s legacy to life through dance, visuals and original music. The artists will take cues from Coltrane’s challenging, nuanced style of playing as a point of departure for devising a new way to choreograph based on durational, structured improvisation. White’s inventive score will include electronics, piano, percussion and vocal elements that UBW dancers will sing in performance.
Zollar has a longtime passion for jazz, music that emerged from the complicated African American experience. Growing up in the 1950s-60s, she heard jazz all around her and it infused her creative life. Coltrane’s visceral exploration of sound—unknown in his time—used revolutionary approaches like attempting to capture the human cries of civil rights protests through his saxophone, and setting the cadence of a Martin Luther King speech to music in Alabama (1963). The turbulence of his era fueled his iconoclastic vision, resulting in his landmark A Love Supreme, recorded the same year as the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
Zollar initially conceived of choreographing a series of stand-alone “chapters” to commemorate the 50th anniversary of this record for UBW’s 30th anniversary. Upon further exploration into Coltrane and A Love Supreme, it became evident that one cohesive, evening-length “Coltrane Suite” was called for. Zollar and collaborators began to think of the piece as a “concept album,” eventually to be complete with “liner notes.”
This new “Coltrane Suite” builds upon UBW’s practice of dancer participation, adding dramaturgy, historical references, new forms of music and ways of engaging audiences with that music. Zollar has challenged herself and UBW by contracting an experimental, electronic composer who studied Coltrane extensively as a student. Philip White will work with UBW to get at the very essence of Bebop and modal jazz and to translate these musical forms into live dance performance. Zollar is keen to capture the visceral qualities in Coltrane’s playing through movement and radically experimental music in a deeply immersive, interactive and intensively emotional theatrical dance experience.
UBW will begin development of the full-length WALKING WITH ’TRANE, incorporating White’s music, in residence at NYU in June 2015. Development will continue at Florida State University (FSU) in August and American Dance Institute (ADI) in September, where a public-work-in-progress performance will be held. It will premiere at FSU in Tallahassee on September 30, 2015. The New York premiere will be presented with additional live music elements at the BAM Harvey Theater from December 9-12, 2015. The finished work will be a centerpiece in UBW’s touring repertory throughout 2016.
This is an earlier version of the project that will be expanded into a 90-minute work for 7 dancers. The excerpt features a trio dancing to live, original piano music by George Caldwell composed in stylistic homage to Coltrane. WALKING WITH ’TRANE will integrate Caldwell’s music into a cohesive, full-length work with new music composed by Philip White. Instrumentation will include electronics and vocals, with 3 UBW dancers contributing live vocal elements. Some sections of the score and movement will be “composed” in real time in performances.
Start and End Dates
06/15/2015 — 12/31/2015
Brooklyn, New York