Nadine George-Graves

NADINE GEORGE-GRAVES (BAI/Mellon Dance Studies Lecture)
Wednesday, February 24, 2016, 5pm
Harris Hall 108


Walking with Jawole: Thirty Years of African American Dance Theater, Community Engagement, and Working It Out

Urban Bush Women is celebrating its 30th anniversary with a performance entitled Walking with ‘Trane. In many respects this piece is a return to Zollar’s roots in jazz and a pushing of the jazz aesthetic. Working with musicians who composed original music inspired by the music of John Coltrane, Zollar and the latest company members collaborated on an aesthetic of all the signature Urban Bush Women styles figuring out what movement is left to improv and what movement is “set,” what is tight, what is loose, what has fierce attitude and what has casual confidence. The music comes alive through the moving bodies and he spirit of Coltrane is evoked and the important work of the company continues. In this talk, Dr. Nadine George-Graves talks about the impact of this piece in the context of the company’s enduring legacy.

Dr. Nadine George-Graves (BA, Yale; PhD, Northwestern) is Professor of African American Theater and Dance and Interim Chair of the Department of Theater and Dance at the University of California, San Diego. She is also immediate past-president of the Congress on Research in Dance (CORD). Her work is situated at the intersections of African American studies, gender studies, performance studies, theatre history, and dance history. She is the author of The Royalty of Negro Vaudeville: The Whitman Sisters and the Negotiation of Race, Gender, and Class in African American Theater, 1900-1940 and Urban Bush Women: Twenty Years of Dance Theater, Community Engagement and Working It Out as well as numerous articles on African American theater and dance. She is the editor of The Oxford Handbook of Dance and Theater. She has also written on primitivity, ragtime dance, tap dance legend Jeni LeGon, identity politics and performance, early African American theater and the future of field. She has given talks, led community engagement projects, and has served on boards and committees in the field.

She is also an adapter and director. Her recent creative projects include Architectura, a dance theater piece about the ways we build our lives, Suzan-Lori Parks’ Fucking A and Topdog/Underdog; and an original adaptation of Anansi stories using college students, professionals, and 4th graders.