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*Our Legacy: Millicent Johnnie* I am. You are. WE ARE. Urban Bush Women's 30th Anniversary

I am an Urban Bush Woman.

First and foremost my deepest gratitude and love to my sister-friends, aunties and all of my artistic mothers and fathers in my UBW family and community. You inspire me simply by your presence.

To our wise and powerful teacher Jawole- thank you. Your words, encouragement, generous support, guidance and spirit will forever remain infused in our work. You gave us opportunities that were only possible in imagination for someone like myself, a young small-town girl from the back roads of Louisiana. You helped nurture my artistic and creative work into existence. When it came time for me to walk, do my own thing, although it hurt you, you slowly but surely began to let go. Without your mentorship, creative energy and life-long lessons of relationship; I would not know or understand that tuning into our emotions is a real strength. Thank you for leading us towards and through the fears because without you, we would not have known how to transform them into love.

I was fifteen years old when I first met Jawole. I was in North Carolina for the International Association for Blacks in Dance Conference with the Grace Hamilton Academy of the Arts and it was my first time away from home without my family. Urban Bush Women presented their evening of work as part of the IABD professional showcase series. I remember sitting in the audience watching "Transitions," being mesmerized with Maria Earl's height, Deidra Dawkins athleticism, Carolina Garcia's bodacious nature, Michelle Dorant's grace, and Christine King's infectious voice. My spirit quickly urged me to pay attention as it said definitively, "You can do this."

One Sunday, after visiting with my great-grandmother at her nursing facility, something in my spirit urged me to drive by the dance department. I saw several cars in the parking lot, and I walked in and whom did I see? Michelle Dorant and Deidra Dawkins holding auditions for "Bitter Tongue," one of Jawole's signature works. I walked over and asked if I could audition and a faculty member politely told me that it was a closed audition for current dance majors and USL alumni. Michelle Dorant overheard him and said, "I think it would be a good experience for her. We don't mind. Does she have dance clothes?"

That was the start of it all.
-MILLICENT JOHNNIE, FORMER REHEARSAL DIRECTOR/COMPANY MEMBER, URBAN BUSH WOMEN

Urban Bush Women just turned 28, and we are gearing up for our 30th anniversary in June 2014! We need your support! Please go to http://bit.ly/LlDfBi to offer $30 or more to get our divas on the road for the 30th Anniversary Tour.

In 1984, Jawole Willa Jo Zollar founded Urban Bush Women to express in dance, movement and words women's experiences, African American history, and cultural influences of the African Diaspora. Urban Bush Women draws a diverse and committed audience by producing bold and life-affirming work.

Touring, facilitating workshops that lift up the repertory and our social justicecommitment, and nurturing young leaders--particularly women of African descent--are not always highly compensated with money. But we keep doing the work--you, Urban Bush Women, all of us. We recognize the power of collective work and responsibility as well as the transformative power of art that emphasizes undertold stories.

Please go to http://bit.ly/LlDfBi to join us as we lift up various moments in our 30-year UBW history and to ensure that we have a long legacy to come. WE STAND ON THE SHOULDERS OF THOSE WHO CAME BEFORE US, AND READY OUR OWN SHOULDERS FOR THE NEXT GENERATION. THANK YOU FOR DONATING $30 OR MORE--MONTHLY OR ONE TIME--IN HONOR OF OUR UPCOMING 30th ANNIVERSARY. I AM, YOU ARE, WE ARE: MOVING FORWARD WITH PURPOSE.

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