Michael Mwenso plans meeting with choreographer Samantha Speis Jan. 27

January 20, 2021

UNIVERSITY PARK — Multigenre artist and cultural historian Michael Mwenso will open his spring 2021 “Meeting the Moment” livestream series with a virtual visit from Urban Bush Women Co-artistic Director Samantha Speis. The free online event will start at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 27.

Speis will explore the company’s work and organizational legacy and how it amplifies under-represented voices and catalyzes for social change. The free program will be broadcast via the Zoom video app. Questions will be taken in real time from audience members.

Visit “Meeting the Moment” for more information.

Contributions from the members of the Center for the Performing Arts and a grant from the University Park Student Fee Board help make the program free of charge. Meghan R. Mason Program Endowment and Richard Robert Brown Program Endowment provide support for “Meeting the Moment.”

The program is part of the center’s “Up Close and Virtual” spring season. “Meeting the Moment with Michael Mwenso” also is the keystone event of the center’s Fierce Urgency Festival, the center’s commitment to celebrating Black artists and sharing their stories.

Speis visited the center in 2019 with the Urban Bush Women production of “Hair and Other Stories” at Eisenhower Auditorium. Her discussion with Mwenso will further explore the company’s mission to tell the stories of disenfranchised groups, specifically from the perspective of women and African-American communities. She joined the Brooklyn, New York-based troupe in 2008.

Urban Bush Women

Watch a trailer for “Legacy + Lineage + Liberation,” Urban Bush Women’s 35th anniversary season celebration.

Urban Bush Women

As curator and events programmer at Jazz at Lincoln Center, Mwenso performed with the likes of Cécile McLorin Salvant, Jon Batiste, Aaron Diehl, Sullivan Fortner and Jamison Ross. And through performances at Dizzy’s Club Coca-Cola, he collaborated with a variety of Juilliard-trained musicians, a global-artist collective that became known as The Shakes.

Geisinger and Northwest provide support for virtual presentations by the Center for the Performing Arts.

Visit “Up Close and Virtual” for information on upcoming season events.

Find the Center for the Performing Arts on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.

  • Six dancers—each sporting a braided or otherwise interesting hairstyle and baggy and tassled costumes—are shown in suspended jumps and kicks.

    Dance-theater troupe Urban Bush Women, whose innovative programs seek to challenge assumptions about the impact of dance, performed “Hair & Other Stories” at Eisenhower Auditorium in 2019. Speis is second from the left.

    IMAGE: Hayim Heron

(Media Contacts)

Last Updated January 22, 2021