The UBW Choreographic Center Initiative (CCI) is a ten-year initiative and investment in the development of women choreographers of color, whose voices are not as prominent in the national arts ecology as they should be.
The UBW CCI is an extension of the UBW mission and is rooted in UBW core values. It takes a two-pronged approach – supporting the individual choreographer and influencing systemic change in the field of dance.
The Initiative began in 2013 with research and a convening that investigated the role of Black women and female choreographers of color; barriers of entry in the field for this group; and ways the dance community could better support, foster,and build audiences for these artists. In response, UBW identified areas where the organization was best equipped to intervene to improve the working conditions of women choreographers of color. These included:
Peer and mentor based reflection and learning communities
Research and development residencies to advance the creation of new work
Advocacy and influence to enhance exposure and connection to the field
Curriculum development for experimental choreography rooted in identity, culture and issue/social justice based origins
Platforms for dialogue, reflection and presentation
The UBW Choreographic Center Initiative is not a physical space but is activated through strategic alliances with individuals and institutions across the U.S.
UBW’s use of the term “Center” is a philosophical construct that disrupts 20th century notions of how groups organize themselves for the purpose of a common goal. Our use of Center is placing UBW at the center point as the initiator, gatherer and root system of a rigorous way to support female choreographers of color and push the field by privileging the building of nationwide partnerships and relationships over brick and mortar space.
In Phase One (2013-2016) CCI pilot programming provided direct to artists at three distinct stages of their careers and engaged institutional partners to lay the foundation for future support for these artists and the vision of the CCI. Programming included a series of convenings, the development of Generative Dancer Workshops for emerging choreographers, the design of a Fellowship program for mid-career choreographers and an administrative support program for established choreographers.
Phase Two (2017-present) CCI programming is focused on the UBW Choreographic Fellowship Program, Generative Dancer Workshops and activities designed to support, align and connect these programs with artists and institutions across the country for maximum impact.