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Jawole Willa Jo Zollar, Guggenheim Fellow and Robert O Lawton Distinguished Professor of Dance in the College of Fine Arts has recently been featured in the Raise the Torch: The Campaign for Florida State, which is the most ambitious fundraising campaign in University history! With a goal of more than $1 billion, Raise the Torch seeks to implement bold ideas that will continue to distinguish Florida State as a preeminent university and positively affect the future for students, faculty and alumni.
Dance for me is a deep yearning, love and investigation of the moving form. I joined the faculty of FSU in 1997 and its been an amazing, amazing journey. I graduated from FSU in 1980 and moved to New York to begin my career in dance. When the opportunity came to be that I could actually have a chance to come back here, I was overjoyed and thrilled that I would get to, in the way that faculty influenced and mentored me, I could now take on that role for students. There is very strong mentorship with students and thats a core value of the dance program. I think thats a core value of the entire university. Mentorship is being able to watch a young student come in and my responsibility is to challenge and to question and to support the growth of a young student. And seeing this talent reach its potential-its beyond words. FSU allows me to be the best teacher I can be.
– Jawole Willa Jo Zollar
Jawole Willa Jo Zollar’s career began in Kansas City, Missouri, where she trained with Joseph Stevenson, a student of the legendary Katherine Dunham. After earning her B.A. in dance from the University of Missouri at Kansas City, she received her M.F.A. in dance from Florida State University. During her time in New York she founded Urban Bush Women (UBW), a performance ensemble that uses cultural expression as an incentive for cultural change. As UBW celebrates its 30th Anniversary year, the ensemble continues to use dance as both the message and the medium to bring together diverse audiences through innovative choreography, community collaboration and artistic leadership development.
Jawole Zollar’s performances have been described by The New Times, as:
“Here you could see a larger social and political history, compressed into a gloriously diverse form. And you could see it in conversation with contemporary dance, with black dance..”