MDC Kendall Campus and Live Arts Miami Present 2021 Artistry in Rhythm Dance Conference

Annual Symposium Honors the groundbreaking Urban Bush Women dance collective and its founding Artistic Director Jawole Willa Jo Zollar


Miami, Feb. 12, 2020 – Miami Dade College’s (MDC) Kendall Campus’ Jubilation Dance Ensemble and its Performing Arts and Industries Department in collaboration with Live Arts Miami (LAM) present the 2021 Artistry in Rhythm Dance Conference (A.I.R Dance 2021), fully live-streamed for the first time in its history from March 3 – 27. With the theme Healing & Restoration: A Road to Liberation at its center, the annual conference presents an immersive movement symposium tailor-made for our times of social isolation and augmented injustices, centered on the cultivation of embodied resilience and strength, collective emancipation and joy through the art and practice of dance.

A.I.R Dance 2021 offers a unique experience and celebration of the transformative and restorative power of movement at the crossroads of change-making and embodied creative acts. MDC students, faculty and staff, Miami-Dade County Public Schools (M-DCPS), dance professionals, dance studios, colleges and universities are invited to participate. All conference presentations, workshops, and conversations are free and fully online. Registration required.

The conference will officially kick off on Wednesday, March 3, at 7 p.m. EST with a keynote conversation with Urban Bush Women’s (UBW) Artistic Director and honoree Jawole Willa Jo Zollar via Zoom. The groundbreaking UBW will be recognized for its decades-long work exploring equity, social justice, and community empowerment as a transformative practice of change for people of color; centering issues of fairness, gender, health, ecology, sustainability, and restoration.

Foundational UBW workshops will be offered, including Entering, Building, and Exiting Community and The Generative Practice Virtual Think Tank. Throughout the conference, dancers from UBW will also engage with 11 select student dancers in an online three-week intensive creation process called Artist Journal, which will culminate in a Zoom performance by students on Friday, March 12 at 7 p.m. EST.

A.I.R. Dance 2021 will also include numerous master classes and workshops with other renowned dancers and established industry leaders and performers, such as artist Shanna Woods’ The Art of Acceptance; a workshop led by Rosangela Silvestre, founder and director of the Silvestre Technique; and a community workshop led by flamenco performer, teaching artist and dance scholar, Niurca Marquez.

A.I.R Dance 2021 Schedule of Events:

  • Wednesday, March 3 at 7 p.m.: A Conversation with Jawole Willa Jo Zollar
  • Friday and Saturday, March 5 & 6 from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m.: Entering, Building, and Exiting Community, led by UBW
  • Tuesday, March 9 & Thursday, March 11 from 8:25 to 9:40 a.m.: Dance as Healing, Symbology of the Silvestre Technique, led by Rosangela Silvestre
  • Friday, March 12, 7 p.m.: Artist Journal Online Performance
  • Monday, March 15 from 8:25 – 9:40 a.m.: The Art of Acceptance, led by Shanna Woods
  • Friday, March 19 & 26 from 11 a.m. -12:30 p.m.: The Concept and Practice of Somatic Mark-Making as a Tool for Restoration, led by Niurca Marquez
  • Saturday, March 27 from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m.: The Generative Practice Virtual Think Tank led by UBW

A.I.R. Dance 2021 is coordinated, directed and produced by MDC Kendall Associate Professor Michelle Grant-Murray, a choreographer, performer, author and social activist whose work has put her in front of audiences around the globe. Currently she is the Artistic Director of Olujimi Dance Collective, the MDC Kendall Campus Jubilation Dance Ensemble, and the Coordinator of Dance at MDC Kendall Campus. Prof. Grant-Murray is also the author of Beyond the Surface: An Inclusive American Dance History. She is also a Live Arts Miami Artist-In-Residence and a member of its Faculty Task Force.


Jawole Willa Jo Zollar is from Kansas City, Missouri. Zollar trained with Joseph Stevenson, a student of the legendary Katherine Dunham. In 1984, Jawole founded Urban Bush Women (UBW) as a performance ensemble dedicated to exploring the use of cultural expression as a catalyst for social change. In addition to 34 works for UBW, she has created works for Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, Philadanco, and others. Featured in the PBS documentary, Free to Dance, which chronicles the African-American influence on modern dance, Jawole was designated a Master of Choreography by the John F. Kennedy Performing Arts Center in 2005. Jawole has also been awarded multiple fellowships including a 2008 United States Artists Wynn fellowship and a 2009 fellowship from the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial.  She  has been awarded honorary degrees from Columbia College, Chicago, Tufts University, Rutgers and others. In 2013, Jawole received the Doris Duke Performing Artist Award, in  2015 the Dance Magazine Award, the 2016 Dance/USA Honor Award and the 2017 Bessies Lifetime Achievement Award. She serves as director of UBW’s acclaimed Summer Leadership Institute, founder/visioning partner of UBW and currently holds the position of the Nancy Smith Fichter Professor of Dance and Robert O. Lawton Distinguished Professor at Florida State University.

To register for free and for more information, including artist profiles, events, and class descriptions, please visit

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Live Arts Miami is one of the city’s oldest and boldest performing arts series: an action-driven, people-centered platform for powerful performances, impactful community programs and learning experiences that spark dialogue, raise awareness around pressing issues, and open minds and hearts in all who take part. Created in 1990 as Cultura del Lobo, Live Arts Miami is proud to be a part of Miami Dade College’s celebrated Department of Cultural Affairs. For three decades, Live Arts Miami has featured extraordinary performing artists and unforgettable performances, collaborations and public art projects from all over the world. Today, Live Arts Miami is a regional model of principled innovation and excellence in public arts programming. A place for artists, audiences, and MDC students to come together as one.

The programs of Live Arts Miami are funded by Miami-Dade County Department of Cultural Affairs and the Cultural Affairs Council; the Miami-Dade County Mayor and Board of County Commissioners; the State of Florida, Department of State, Division of Cultural Affairs and the Florida Council on Arts and Culture; the National Endowment for the Arts; National Performance Network (NPN); the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. MDC Live Arts is a Partner of the National Performance Network (NPN). Major NPN contributors include the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, Ford Foundation, and the National Endowment for the Arts.

At the Performing Arts and Industries Department, passion for expression takes center stage. Featuring a distinguished faculty, state-of-the-art facilities, and ample performance opportunities, PAI guides and develops the artistic, intellectual, and professional growth of its students in music, theater, dance and music business. The music, theater and dance programs offer unparalleled experiences, connecting classroom activities with current discourses in cultural studies and the performing arts as well as intellectual enrichment through exposure to visiting artists, scholars and experts in each respective field. Our specialized performance classes are open to anyone with an interest in the performing arts. For more information, e-mail or visit

Register now for the next MDC miniterm, which begins March 8, and receive up to 13 credits free and $25 per credit hour to cover fees. For more information about this and other financial assistance programs, visit

Live Arts Miami Contacts: María Montoya, Marketing Specialist, 305-237-7733,

José A. Portela, Communications Specialist,