Harlem Stage Adds Urban Bush Women's HAINT BLUE To Star-Studded Anniversary E-Moves Series

The series will take place January 11-13, 2024.

By: Dec. 07, 2023
Harlem Stage Adds Urban Bush Women's HAINT BLUE To Star-Studded Anniversary E-Moves Series

Harlem Stage announced will co-present Urban Bush Women's latest work, Haint Blu, from January 11 - 13, 2024, at the historic Harlem Stage Gatehouse (150 Convent Avenue, New York, NY) as part of Harlem Stage's signature dance series, E-Moves. Harlem Stage is led by Patricia Cruz, Artistic Director and CEO. UBW's leadership team is headed by Chanon Judson and Mame Diarra Samantha Speis, Artistic Directors; Tahnia Belle, Acting Executive Director; and Jonathan D. Secor, Producer. 


Haint Blu is an ensemble dance-theater work steeped in memory and magic. Named after the color that Southern families paint their front porches to ward off bad spirits, the work uses performance as a source of healing, taking us from movement into stillness and rest. An embodied look into familial and ancestral lines, Haint Blu reflects on what has been lost across generations and what can be restored, with spirits sharing their legacies and leaving the thick residue of their knowing behind. The work made its world premiere in January 2023 at the André Callioux Center for Performing Arts and Cultural Justice in New Orleans, and enjoyed a sold-out run that June at St. Mary's Church in Harlem.


Conceived, created, choreographed, and directed by UBW co-artistic directors Chanon Judson & Mame Diarra Speis with the UBW company, Haint Blu will be performed at Harlem Stage by Courtney J. Cook, Kentoria Earle, Roobi Gaskins, Symara Johnson, Bianca Leticia Medina, Mikaila Ware, and Nia Witherspoon. The creative team includes Hao Bai (lighting design), Luisa Buitrago and James Lanius III (Production Managers), Lori Gassie (costume designer), Nicholas Hussong (production designer, assistant director), Grace Galu Kalambay (composer, musician), Nina Angela Mercer (author), Jamal Peoples (guest musician), Everett Saunders (sound designer), Shirazette Tinnin (composer), Arianne Zager (costume designer), Talvin Wilks (dramaturg), and Tuce Yasak (original lighting designer).


Patricia Cruz, Harlem Stage Artistic Director and CEO, said, “The performance of Haint Blu by Urban Bush Women during the year in which we are both celebrating our 40th anniversaries is the realization of a dream. Our admiration of the work of this company has been long-standing, and there is symmetry in the timing of this collaboration.”


“It is a joy to bring Haint Blu back to Harlem, and is so fitting to do so at Harlem Stage,” said Chanon Jusdon, UBW Co-Artistic Director. “As Harlem Stage and Urban Bush Women celebrate our 40th anniversaries, we also salute years of collaboration. Harlem Stage has been a home to Urban Bush Women and so many of our community members. As we embark on 40 more years, it is a pleasure to further our relationship with the work of UBW's new artistic leadership.”


As Harlem Stage celebrates its 40th anniversary, E-Moves, the organization's flagship dance series, is also celebrating its own 25th anniversary. Known for showcasing dance artists across the spectrum of their careers, E-Moves presents artists who have been critical to the legacy of the institution's dance programming and who serve as inspiration for the future of dance. Urban Bush Women has staged several works at the Gatehouse, including Resistance and Power, and /Visible, both in 2011. Ronald K. Brown/EVIDENCE kicked off the dance series in October (13 & 14, 2023) presenting four riveting works including a reprisal of Palo y Machete, originally performed for Harlem Stage in 1998 and specifically chosen to honor the 40th anniversary. Later this season, Harlem Stage will welcome back choreographer Bill T. Jones to present a dynamic program of works, including an intervention, revisiting and reflecting on Degga (1995)—a performance that was created through a legendary collaboration between Jones, Max Roach, and Toni Morrison—as well as a piece from an emerging artist he will select (April 19 & 20, 2024). nora chipaumire—whose revolutionary dance performance has enlivened Harlem Stage on numerous occasions—presents an immersive performance installation that turns into a dance party, ShebeenDUB, featuring designs from celebrated artists Ari Marcopoulos and Kara Walker, and constructed by Matt Jackson Studio (May 17 & 18, 2024). Camille A. Brown, who has a long and rich history of performing work at Harlem Stage, will present a new work of her own, and curates works by dancers/choreographers who have contributed to her growing body of creations—Chloe Davis, Juel D. Lane, Mayte Natalio, Rickey Tripp, and Maleek Washington (June 14 & 15, 2024).


Performance Schedule (with Links to Buy Tickets)


Thursday, January 11, 2024 at 7:30pm ET

Friday, January 12, 2024 at 7:30pm ET

Saturday, January 13, 2024 at 7:30pm ET


About Urban Bush Women


Celebrating its 40th Anniversary, Urban Bush Women is a groundbreaking Black women-led theatrical dance company and social activism ensemble, under the artistic leadership of Chanon Judson and Mame Diarra Speis. Originally founded in 1984 by visionary choreographer Jawole Willa Jo Zollar as an engine and an amplifier for the unheard stories of Black Women+, , UBW combines revolutionary performance, deep-healing community engagement, and ancestral knowledge from the African diaspora into a cultural force that is urgent, forward-looking, and essential.


For the last four decades, UBW has defied expectations and easy categorization with its bold, narrative storytelling. The very bodies of the seven founding members of UBW – Black women of various shapes and sizes – challenged and changed the landscape of who could be seen on stage as a dancer. The subject matter of the work placed the stories of such women, historically overlooked and undervalued in America, front and center stage. Similarly, UBW remains committed to ensuring that underserved audiences, especially people of color who face systemic barriers to accessing conventional performance, are engaged, invited, and made welcome wherever the company tours.


UBW embraces the power of radical storytelling to activate social change. Whether creating genre-defying work for the stage, guiding the development of Black Women + choreographers and producers, organizing for justice through art-making, or inspiring leaders across generations, UBW is an innovator, operating at the vanguard.


Urban Bush Women 40th-Anniversary leadership funding is provided by Bloomberg Philanthropies.  Additional Funding Provided by the Howard Gilman Foundation.




About Harlem Stage


Harlem Stage is the performing arts center that bridges Harlem's cultural legacy to contemporary artists of color and dares to provide the artistic freedom that gives birth to new ideas. For nearly 40 years, the organization's singular mission has been to perpetuate and celebrate the unique and diverse artistic legacy of Harlem and the indelible impression it has made on American culture. Harlem Stage provides opportunity, commissioning, and support for visionary artists of color, makes performances easily accessible to all audiences, and introduces children to the rich diversity, excitement, and inspiration of the performing arts.


Harlem Stage fulfills its mission through commissioning, incubating, and presenting innovative and vital work that responds to the historical and contemporary conditions that shape our lives and the communities the organization serves.


With a long-standing tradition of supporting artists and organizations around the corner and across the globe, Harlem Stage boasts such legendary artists as Harry Belafonte, Max Roach, Sekou Sundiata, Abbey Lincoln, Sonia Sanchez, Eddie Palmieri, Maya Angelou, and Tito Puente, as well as contemporary artists like Mumu Fresh, Jason “Timbuktu” Diakité, Xian aTunde Adjuah, Tamar-kali, Vijay Iyer, Mike Ladd, Meshell Ndegeocello, Jason Moran, José James, Nona Hendryx, Bill T. Jones, and more. Harlem Stage's education programs serve over 2,300 New York City school children each year.


The New York Times has saluted Harlem Stage as “an invaluable incubator of talent” and it has been hailed as an organization still unafraid to take risks. Harlem Stage's investment in this visionary talent is often awarded in the early stages of many artists' careers, and the organization proudly celebrates their increasing success. Five members of its artist family have joined the ranks of MacArthur “Genius” Fellowship awardees: Kyle Abraham (2013), Vijay Iyer (2013), Jason Moran (2010), Bill T. Jones (1994), and Cecil Taylor (1991).


Harlem Stage is a winner of the Association of Performing Arts Presenters William Dawson Award for Programming Excellence and Sustained Achievement in Programming.

Harlem Stage Adds Urban Bush Women's HAINT BLUE To Star-Studded Anniversary E-Moves Series