Columbia College Chicago

By Jan-Henry Gray

Onye Ozuzu performs at the Chicago Cultural Center with award-winning work and a plan for survival.

“I was at the edge of the world and I thought: ‘I could stay out here’ and the thing that I wanted most was a sprung wood dance floor,” says Onye Ozuzu, Dance Professor and Dean of the School of Fine and Performing Arts. The idea came to Ozuzu during a residency at Chulitna Lodge Research Institute in Lake Clark, Alaska. Ozuzu’s revelation turned into what is now “Project Tool,” an ongoing work which centers around building and performing on dance platforms, hand-built by Ozuzu and her team of dancers. Through the process of using hand-held tools and legacy processes, the multi-faceted project explores the relationship between mind, body, and tool. “Working with wood means learning how to negotiate movement around the material,” says Ozuzu. “It’s all about balance—knowing when and how much to exert. It’s all dancing.”

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