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Manhattan, KS 66506
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Sources: Joyce Yagerline, 785-532-5426, joydnce@k-state.edu;
and Neil Dunn, 785-532-6846, neildunn@k-state.edu

Wednesday, Jan. 14, 2009

K-STATE DANCE PROGRAM BRINGING GUEST ARTISTS BERNARD WOMA AND CHANON JUDSON TO CAMPUS IN FEBRUARY

MANHATTAN -- Traditional West African music and dance and modern dance will be the focus of two guest artists who will work with Kansas State University's dance program in the spring 2009 semester.

The guest artists include Bernard Woma, artistic director of the Saakumu Dance Troupe and the founder and director of the Dagara Music and Arts Center in Accra, Ghana, and Chanon Judson, director of UB2, the performing apprentice ensemble of the critically acclaimed Urban Bush Women dance company.

Woma will be on campus Feb. 3-7, while Judson's residency will be Feb. 13-28.

Woma and a member of his dance troupe will teach master classes in traditional West African social music and dance. Woma also will present a lecture demonstration on African traditions and offer master classes for USD 383, the Manhattan-Ogden school district. More information about his schedule is available by contacting Neil Dunn at neildunn@k-state.edu.

An adjunct percussion faculty and director of the African Drumming Ensemble at State University of New York at Fredonia, Woma has toured the world as a xylophonist and lead drummer of the National Dance Company of Ghana. He also has performed in the U.S., including the New York Philharmonic.

While at K-State, Judson will be restaging a portion of Jawole Willa Jo Zollar's "Walking with Pearl…Southern Diaries" with K-State dance students. The work will be performed at K-State's SpringDance 2009, April 3-4. Judson's work at K-State is being supported by a $10,000 grant through Round 3 of American Masterpieces: Dance -- College Component, a program of the National Endowment for the Arts, which is administered by the New England Foundation for the Arts in conjunction with Dance/USA.

"Walking with Pearl…Southern Diaries" was originally performed by Urban Bush Women and opened the company's 2006 New York season at Dance New Amsterdam. Urban Bush Women was founded by Zollar in 1984 to express women's experiences, African-American history and cultural influences of the African diaspora through dance, movement and words. Zollar drew her inspiration for "Southern Diaries" from the journals of Pearl Primus, the dancer/anthropologist, on her journey to the Deep South in the 1940s.

Judson was an original cast member of "Southern Diaries" and has received Zollar's permission for the restaging of the "Work Dance" section of the work.

"The dance, about sharecroppers, was chosen because of its relevance to African-American history and because it contains components of Primus' choreography," said Joyce Yagerline, project director of Judson's residency at K-State.

"Qualitative diversity experiences are part of being a top-tier land grant university and this dance will give K-State students an opportunity to experience cultural diversity not only as viewers, but also as active participants," Yagerline said.

Along with the restaging project, Judson also will teach dance classes at K-State; conduct a seminar and present lectures for the American ethnic studies program; and teach movement classes at Manhattan's Douglass Community Center for at-risk children.

Judson graduated magna cum laude from State University of New York at Buffalo with bachelor of fine arts in dance. She toured for three seasons as a member of the Urban Bush Women. Her commercial credits include the 2005 production of "Victoria Secret Live," "L'Oreal Live" in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., and the Michael Jackson 20th Anniversary Concert. Judson also works in underserved communities as a site director for the Ailey Camp at Kansas City Friends of Alvin Ailey in Kansas City, Mo., and is a teaching artist with the Brooklyn Academy of Music, Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Company and Alvin Ailey Arts and Education Program. She also is project director of her original "Preschool Rock" program, which include creative movement and craft making for toddlers, and "Nurturing the Nurturer," mind and body wellness for moms.