Arts, Culture, and Humanities

UBW, Inc.

Create Dance | Create Community

aka Urban Bush Women



Founded in 1984 by choreographer Jawole Willa Jo Zollar, Urban Bush Women (UBW) seeks to bring the untold and under-told histories and stories of disenfranchised people to light through dance. We do this from a woman-centered perspective and as members of the African Diaspora community in order to create a more equitable balance of power in the dance world and beyond. As UBW celebrates its 34th Anniversary year, we continue to use dance as both the message and the medium to bring together diverse audiences through innovative choreography, community collaboration and artistic leadership development.

Ruling Year


Founder/Visioning Partner

Jawole Willa Jo Zollar

Main Address

138 S. Oxford St. Suite #4B



Dance, Community, Social Change, performance





Cause Area (NTEE Code)

Dance (A62)

Performing Arts (A60)

Cultural, Ethnic Awareness (A23)

IRS Filing Requirement

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Social Media

Programs + Results

What we aim to solve New!

UBW has been dedicated to dismantling inequality of race and gender since our inception over 34 years ago. In 1984, the act of placing seven Black women of various body shapes and sizes center stage, telling stories of people who have been historically under-heard and undervalued, was radical in itself. UBW has helped change the landscape of who can be seen on stage as a dancer over the past three decades, yet much work remains to be done to decenter the whiteness and maleness that prevails at the core of dance practice in the field today. By working at the intersection of arts and community organizing, UBW seeks to give a voice, equity and agency to the most under-heard and overlooked populations in America – disproportionally women and people of color – who critically lack access to resources and information that could help them to overcome systemic inequality, improve their quality of life, and in turn improve society as a whole.

Our programs

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Summer Leadership Institute

Where we workNew!

Charting Impact

Five powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What is the organization aiming to accomplish?

What are the organization's key strategies for making this happen?

What are the organization's capabilities for doing this?

How will they know if they are making progress?

What have and haven't they accomplished so far?

Urban Bush Women works to: - Promote artistic legacies - Project the voices of the under-heard and people of color - Bringing attention to and address issues of equity in the dance field and throughout the United States - Providing platforms and serve as a conduit for culturally and socially relevant experimental art makers

UBW STRATEGY STATEMENT We create learning communities where people, especially women and girls, can find their power through dance. We nurture leadership skills and facilitate the use of art as a means of encouraging social responsibility and civic engagement. We aspire to ensure continuity by strengthening and expanding our community via ongoing professional education, development of new audiences, nurturing young talent and presenting bold, life-affirming dance works as a vehicle for self-expression and catalyst for social change.

UBW has built a network of exceptionally talented and committed company members, staff members, board members, SLI faculty and BOLD Facilitators to meet the needs of its performance and community engagement activities.

Success would be seen through instituting a more equitable balance of power for women choreographers of color; artists and organizers becoming leaders, movement-builders and activists for social justice after training with UBW; and bringing resilience to people in marginalized communities by empowering them with tools to heal, improve their entrepreneurial capacity, and access greater economic opportunities. While we aim to disrupt the prevailing inequalities of race and gender in our field and society, UBW recognizes that one artist or organization alone cannot dismantle systemic racism or gender bias. We see success in where our networks of people go and in what they achieve after they engage with UBW.

During the fiscal year, Jawole Willa Jo Zollar and the UBW company actively developed two new works: Scat! and Hair & Other Stories (H&OS). Scat! is a dance-driven musical that tells a love story of two people making their way during the Great Migration through song, dance, and storytelling. H&OS was choreographed by UBW Associate Artistic Directors Samantha Speis and Chanon Judson in collaboration with the company. H&OS explores perceptions of body image, race, gender identity, economic inequities and what constitutes freedom, liberation and release in our everyday struggles to rise to our Extra-ordinary Selves in extraordinary times. The UBW Choreographic Center Initiative provides specific activities designed to assist women choreographers of color during differing stages in their careers. UBW BOLD includes the Summer Leadership Institute, restaging UBW works at academic institutions and facilitated workshops such as “Entering, Building and Exiting Community (EBX),”

External Reviews


UBW, Inc.

Fiscal year: Oct 01 - Sep 30

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  • Forms 990 for 2016, 2015 and 2014
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The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

Need more info?

FREE: Gain immediate access to the following:

  • Address, phone, website and contact information
  • Forms 990 for 2016, 2015 and 2014
A Pro report is also available for this organization for $125.
Click here to see what's included.

Board Leadership Practices

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SOURCE: Self-reported by organization


Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations?



Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year?



Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year?



Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership?



Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years?