Dramaturgical Convening Deepens the Practice of UBW Choreographic Center Initiative Participants
The Urban Bush Women (UBW) Choreographic Center Initiative (CCI) hosted a second dramaturgical convening November 8 - 11, 2018 in the picturesque fall setting of Jacob’s Pillow. The convening serves as an anchor component of the CCI and takes place at the onset of the first year of the two-year Choreographic Fellowship.
The 2018 convening included the second cohort of Fellowship Candidates, the UBW Leadership team and the following dramaturges and scholars: artist, dramaturg and writer Sharon Bridgforth; dance musician Douglas Corbin; creative consultant and dramaturg Gayle Fekete; choreographer, dramaturg, educator and scholar Melanie George; and dramaturg and scholar Katherine Profeta.
The convening provided a platform for participants to discuss dramaturgical practice in dance, specifically in support of the new work in development by UBW Choreographic Fellowship Candidates dealing with complex narratives addressing race, history, cultural identity, ethnicity and pressing social issues.
Sharon Bridgforth views the role of dramaturg at times as doula. “What is the life challenge buried inside of the piece you are making now? How is it going to save your life? The work becomes itself and what is wants to become. It is still about the rigor of craft and curiosity and innovation, but [dramaturgy] is about getting inside the deep waters helps us see what our soul knows is possible.”
The gathering provided an opportunity for individuals and the collective to examine questions of craft, clarity of vision and execution of ideas in a rigorous and granular way through a dramaturgical process. The work between choreographers and dramaturges will continue over the course of the Fellowship.
View the video below to witness how 2018 UBW Choreographic Fellow Marjani Forté-Saunders worked with dramaturges Sharon Bridgforth, Douglas Corbin and Jawole Willa Jo Zollar in her 2018 residency at the Maggie Allesee National Center for Choreography at Florida State University.
The 2018 UBW Dramaturgical Convening was made possible with support from the Ford Foundation, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and the Mertz-Gilmore Foundation. Special thanks to the staff at Jacob’s Pillow for hosting this growth opportunity for all participants.
Click here to read more about the Urban Bush Women Choreographic Center Initiative and here to read more about the development of the Dramaturgical Convening as a key component of the Fellowship program.