UMKC Conservatory Alum and UMKC 2014 Alumni Award Recipient Jawole Willa Jo Zollar Receives Doris Duke Performing Artist Award


The Conservatory is pleased to note that Jawole Willa Jo Zollar (BA, dance, 1975) the UMKC 2014 Alumni of the Year Award Recipient is awarded the Doris Duke Performing Artist Award.  It is an unrestricted grant of $225,000 over 3–5 years.  Zollar is the founder of the dance group Urban Bush Women, which is celebrating its 30th anniversary.

Zollar will be honored at the Alumni Awards Luncheon April 24, 2014, and give a master class at the Conservatory, Friday, April 25.

Read more about her Bold Vision, Boundless Reach here.

One of the single most internationally renowned names in dance, Jawole Willa Jo Zollar is also one of the most decorated. A trailblazer and innovator in the dance world, Zollar is the recipient of the 2013 Doris Duke Performing Artist Award. Zollar is also a past recipient of a prestigious Guggenheim Fellowship. In 1984, Zollar founded Urban Bush Women (UBW) as a performance ensemble dedicated to exploring the use of cultural expression as a catalyst for social change. She has toured the United States and five continents sharing her works through live performances, a PBS special “Free to Dance,” which chronicled African-American influence on modern dance, and was a representative of the U.S. State Department’s inaugural cultural diplomacy program. Zollar’s career spans performing and creating works for Alvin Ailey, Philadanco and collaborations with Compagnie Jant-Bi from Senegal and Nora Chipaumire. She has been designated a Master of African American Choreography by the John F. Kennedy Performing Arts Center. Zollar developed a unique approach to enable artists to strengthen effective involvement in cultural organizing and civic engagement, which evolved into UBW’s acclaimed Summer Leadership Institute. She serves as director of the Institute, and currently holds the position of Nancy Smith Fichter Professor of Dance and Robert O. Lawton Distinguished Professor at Florida State University.


For more information, please contact:

Name: Dana Self
Phone: 816-235-2949