Re-Identifying Big Butts and Hypersexuality: An Analysis of Choreographer Jawoloe Willa Jo Zollar's Batty Moves

Cherie Hill : Dance and Performance Studies; African American Studies (minor)

Mentor: Professor Brandi Catanese; Theatre, Dance and Performance Studies

Currently in modern dance there are few successful black female choreographers and Jawole Willa Jo Zollar, founder of the dance company Urban Bush Women, is one of them. In Zollar’s piece, Batty Moves, she combines theater and concert dance styles to create a work that invokes socio-political commentary on the stereotype that black women should have big butts, signifying hypersexuality. Cherie Hill’s project will include a content analysis of Batty Moves that will culminate into a choreographic production. In the analysis Cherie will be looking at how Zollar utilizes formal dance techniques to subvert and redefine stereotypes, how race and gender are represented, and how the piece sits within its socio-cultural context. For Cherie’s creative project, she will interview female Cal students on their thoughts of the black female body and its identity, and explore using movement as a medium for self-identification.