Robin Wilson (she, her, hers), currently Professor of Dance at the University of Michigan, located on the land of Odawa, Ojibwe, Boodewadomi and Wyandot peoples, sees teaching, artmaking, and activism as easy companions – giving voice to untold stories and giving tools for others to speak their truth. Choreographer, performer, improviser, vocalist, educator, activist, she sees no contradiction between making art, teaching others to discover the artist within, teaching others to understand their history and connection to the greater good and being an advocate for the arts and communities. A founding member of New York’s Urban Bush Women with an MFA in Choreography from Temple University with a soon-to-be completed certification in Katherine Dunham technique, Wilson’s work explores the influences of the African Diaspora in historical and contemporary dance/culture, public scholarship, and social justice through community engagement, and most recently, documenting the oral histories of black dancers in Harlem during the Black Arts Movement of the early 1970s.
Recent collaborations include Ancestral Haiku, as vocalist and movement artist, with Detroit bassist Marion Hayden and visual artist M. Saffell Gardner, and What We Ask Of Flesh as a member of the New England-based dance company INSPIRIT: A Dance Company during the 2022 Reach residency at the Kennedy Center and 2021 residency at Jacob’s Pillow Lab. In September 2020, she premiered her solo Shattered Globes: For Tamara 2020 at Detroit Dance City Festival with subsequent performances at the Michigan Dance Festival and Midwest RAD Festival in early 2021.
Wilson’s choreography has been presented by Detroit Dance City Festival, Midwest RAD Festival, the Detroit’s Carr Center for the Arts, BAADASS! Women’s Dance Festival, Michigan Dance Festival, New Orleans Dance Festival, the National Theatre of Ghana in Accra, Ghana and in Athens, Greece. Her teaching includes artist residencies and master classes at Queensborough Community College, Brown University, Washington University in St. Louis, University of California Los Angeles, Savannah College of Art and Design, the Ohio State University, Plymouth State University, Western Michigan University, Northern Colorado State University, Duke University, Arizona State University, Virginia Commonwealth University, and Paramaribo, Suriname. The former director of UM’s First-Year Touring Company, Wilson currently co-directs University of Michigan’s annual MPulse Summer Dance Institute.
In 1992, Wilson received a New York Dance and Performance “Bessie” Award as a former member of Urban Bush Women for her collective work on the company’s dances River Songs (1984) and Praise House (1990). She continues to perform and collaborate with artists across cultures, bridging communities through dance and scholarship and activism.