Onye Ozuzu is a dance administrator, performing artist, choreographer, educator, and researcher currently serving as Dean of the University of Florida College of the Arts in Gainesville, FL. Actively presenting work since 1997, Ozuzu has presented work nationally and internationally at The Joyce Soho (Manhattan, NY), Kaay Fecc Festival Des Tous les Danses (Dakar, Senegal), La Festival del Caribe (Santiago, Cuba), Lisner Auditorium (Washington, DC), and McKenna Museum of African American Art (New Orleans, LA). She has performed locally in Chicago at Hamlin Park Summer Sampler, with Red Clay Dance in La Femme, and in the Afro-Latin@ Summer Dance Intensive at Columbia College Chicago. Ozuzu has been Artist in Residence at Dorchester Art + Housing Collaborative of the Rebuild Foundation, EarthDance Workshop and Retreat Center, Bates Dance Festival, Chulitna Wilderness Lodge and Retreat, and Lagos danceGATHERING in Lagos, Nigeria.
Her collaboration with jazz composer Greg Ward, Touch My Beloved’s Thought, premiered at the Pritzker Pavilion at Millennium Park (Chicago, IL)—a live dance and music performance in honor of Charles Mingus and commissioned by Links Hall and Constellation. Her recent project, Project Tool, which explored the relationship between mind, body and tool, was a 2018 Joyce award and a 2016 Chicago Dancemakers Forum Lab Artist recipient as well as a National Performance Network (NPN) Creation Fund Project co-commissioned by Links Hall in partnership with Dancing Grounds and NPN.
Ozuzu has dedicated much of her work as a dance artist to cultivating space for diverse dance forms to exist in pluralist relationship to one another. In her body she has negotiated the inter-sectionality between many movement forms from tennis to ballet, West African dance to Hatha Yoga, freestyle House to salsa, contemporary dance to Aikido. Rather than just “collecting” these dance styles, she cultivates the ability to make choices among these techniques with an intention to access a purposefully hybridized movement practice. She seeks a relationship that is like the relationship of a maker to their tools, rather than a person to their habits. Ozuzu makes contemporary dance that is “tooled” by, but not dictated by, traditional movement cultures in style, technique, concept and execution.
Photo credit: Kwame Opare
Research Residency Artist (2021)