Zollar, Jawole Willa Jo
- Claude Conyers
(b Kansas City, MO, Dec 21, 1950). American modern dancer, choreographer, and company director. She was trained in various styles of show dancing by Joseph Stevenson, who had been a student of the famed dance anthropologist Katherine Dunham. Zollar followed in Dunham’s scholarly footsteps, eventually earning a master’s degree in fine arts at Florida State University, where she also studied ballet and modern dance. In 1980 she relocated to New York and continued her studies with Dianne McIntyre. Following her childhood bent for making up dances, she founded her own company, Urban Bush Women, in 1984, and began choreographic explorations of the history and culture of African American women in an urban, multi-ethnic environment. Blending modern and jazz dance, her works range in subject matter from Shelter (1988), a piercing study of homelessness, to Batty Moves (1995), a saucy celebration of the buttocks of black women. Some of Zollar’s dances are evening-length works performed to percussive sounds, a capella vocalizations, music by contemporary composers, and the spoken word, arising from librettos written by poets and novelists. Notable among these is ...