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Urban Bush Women: Empowering Yet Perplexing 


Urban Bush Women are a group of women that travel the world to celebrate women of color. Their goal is to spread legacies in the arts by dancing to live music, singing folklore songs and reciting poetry to guide the audience through the performance.  

I highly enjoyed the show, but I had trouble keeping up with the storyline. I could tell that the basis of the performance was to show what women of color went through and continue to go through, but there was no explanation for the events being portrayed.  

I was surprised to see the incorporation of modern dance moves, which allowed me to better connect with the performance. When going in to watch the show I expected there to only be traditional dances, rather than a mix of traditional and modern.  

 During one of the dance segments, the women hyped up one another as they danced. This brought up some nostalgia, as I would watch shows as a kid that had a similar method of encouragement.  

 I did not grasp the concepts of some parts of the performance, like when the Urban Bush Women began to rally in the back corner of the stage under the spotlight with their mouths wide open. I interpreted this as women drinking water from a sparse well, where the water symbolized their newfound freedom.  

Later on in the second half of the performance, one of the Bush Women sang “There’s a hole in the bottom of the sea.” The song continued to progress and include a variety of object that were all in the hole in the bottom of the sea. Personally, I couldn’t figure out the meaning of this folk song. 

For me, the dancing made up for the confusion of the storyline. In each of the songs, the choreography was beautiful. The women moved their bodies gracefully with each move more powerful than the last. Every shout and chant embodied a rawness and passion that allowed the audience to feel connected.  

Upon leaving the performance, I felt more aware of how dance and song can truly bring people together to reach a common ground, despite their different upbringings.  

I think “Urban Bush Women” can make improvements on making the storyline clearer. Regardless of whether you fully understand their performance or not, these women are empowering and come with a story to tell. 

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