Chanon Judson

Chanon Judson’s been growing with the acclaimed Urban Bush Women since 2001, as performer and now Co-Artistic Director. Her most recent work with the company has been the collaborative development of UBW’s new site responsive work “Haint Blu” with Co-Artistic Director, Mame Diarra Speis. This site responsive work is an embodied look at familial lines and the movements, histories, and the stories of our elders and ancestors. It reflects on what has been lost across generations and what can be recovered.

Judson is also a director’s fellow with New Perspective Theatre Women’s Work Lab, Chicago Director’s Lab, and APAP’s Leadership Fellowship Program. Choreographic credits include “Times Up!” (commissioned by Flea Theatre), “The Hang” (Taylor Mac, Here Arts), “Cannabis: A Viper Vaudeville” (Collaborator/Performer – Baba Israel/Grace Galu/ Talvin Wilks), “Orlando” (Barnard College), “Chronicle X” (Nia Witherspoon), “Prometheus Bound” (Tank Theatre), “The Invention of Tragedy” (Flea Theatre), and “Nurturing the Nurturer,” her original performance-ritual/gathering for mothers. Chanon has worked with Mickie Davidson, Talvin Wilks, Kwame Ross, Barak adé Soleil, Sita Frederick, Sandra Burton, and Allyne Gartrell. Performance credits include A 24-Decade History of Popular Music, God’s Trombone (Craig Harris), Cotton Club Parade, Michael Jackson 30th Anniversary Concert, and the Tony award winning musical Fela!

Chanon is an avid arts educator and has served as faculty with AileyCamp (Site Director), Alvin Ailey Arts in Education, Brooklyn Academy of Music, and Earl Mosley’s Institute of the Arts. Chanon is the founder of Cumbe Center for Diasporic Arts’ Dance Drum and Imagination Camp for Children and co-founder of Pre-school Rock/Family Arts – offering child centered spaces to learn, explore, and create. Chanon is a newly appointed Visiting Associate Professor at University at Buffalo where she is investigating jazz embodiment, education, and organizing aesthetics as well as leading a charge to redesign the jazz curriculum to better reflect the rich contributions of the African Diaspora.


Founded in 1984 by choreographer Jawole Willa Jo Zollar, Urban Bush Women (UBW) seeks to bring the untold and under-told stories to light through dance, under the artistic direction of Chanon Judson and Mame Diarra Speis (UBW Co-Artistic Directors). We do this from a woman-centered perspective and as members of the African Diaspora community in order to create a more equitable balance of power in the dance world and beyond.

As UBW countdowns to the 40th Anniversary year in 2024, we continue to use dance as both the message and the medium to bring together diverse audiences through innovative choreography, community collaboration and artistic leadership development.