camille a. brown & Dancers
BLACK GIRL: Linguistic Play
ink (work in progress)
BLACK GIRL: Linguistic Play
In a society where Black women are often only portrayed in terms of their strength, resiliency, or trauma, BLACK GIRL: Linguistic Play reveals the complexity of carving out a self-defined identity as a Black female in urban American culture.
With original music compositions by Scott Patterson and Tracy Wormworth, Brown uses the rhythmic play of African-American dance vernacular including social dancing, double dutch, steppin’, tap, Juba, ring shout, and gesture as the Black woman’s domain to evoke childhood memories of self-discovery. From play to protest the performers come into their identities, from childhood innocence to girlhood awareness to maturity—all the while shaped by their environments, the bonds of sisterhood, and society at large.
From the Abolitionist Movement to the Civil Rights struggle, from the Black Power Movement to the emergence of Hip Hop, ink delves into the history of African American gestural language from the pedestrian to the profound, coded and now encoded language that carries the essence of African Diasporic mythologies, folklore, tall tales, and rituals. It examines the culture of Black life that is often appropriated, rewritten, or silenced.
ink is the final installation of the company’s dance theatre trilogy about culture, race, and identity.
Recognized for its introspective approach to cultural themes through visceral movement and socio-political dialogues, Camille A. Brown & Dancers soar through history like a whirlwind. Embodying a strong sense of storytelling, the company uses theatricality and the aesthetics of Modern, Hip Hop, African, Ballet, and Tap, to tell stories that connect history with contemporary culture. Making a personal claim on history, Camille A. Brown leads her dancers through excavations of ancestral stories, both timeless and traditional, as well as immediate contemporary issues. The work is strongly character based, expressing each choreographic topic by building from little moments to model a filmic sensibility. Theater, poetry, visual art and music of all genres merge to inject each performance with energy and urgency.
ink (work-in-progress): The lead commissioners for ink are Peak Performances@Montclair State University, NJ and The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. The creation and presentation of ink was made possible by The New England Foundation for the Arts' National Dance Project, with lead funding from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation and The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation; New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the New York State Legislature; and the Howard Gilman Foundation.
ink was given its original creative development residency by The Sharon Disney Lund School of Dance in partnership with The Evelyn Sharp/CalArtsSummer Choreographic Residency. The development of ink was made possible, in part, by the Maggie Allesee National Center for Choreography at Florida State University with support from the Princess Grace Foundation. The work is also being created, in part, during creative residencies at The Yard, Jacob's Pillow, CUNY Dance Initiative at Kingsborough Community College, and ASU Gammage.
BLACK GIRL: Linguistic Play: The creation and presentation of BLACK GIRL: Linguistic Play is supported by the New England Foundation for the Arts’ National Dance Project with lead funding provided by The Doris Duke Charitable Foundation and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, with additional support from the Community Connections Fund of the MetLife Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts. Major support for this new work also comes from the MAP Fund, primarily supported by the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation with additional funds from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation; Engaging Dance Audiences administered by Dance/USA and made possible with generous funding from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation; a Jerome Foundation 50th Anniversary Grant; New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature; Harkness Foundation for Dance; and a 2014 New York City Center Choreography Fellowship. This work was commissioned by DANCECleveland through a 2014 Joyce Award from the Joyce Foundation, The Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center at The University of Maryland, Juniata Presents and Juniata College. It was developed, in part, during a residency at Baryshnikov Arts Center, New York, NY awarded through the Princess Grace Foundation–USA Works in Progress residency program; a creative residency at The Yard, The Flynn Center, and the Wesleyan Center for the Arts; a technical residency at Juniata College in Huntington, PA; a residency at New York City Center; and a residency at Newcomb Dance Program, Tulane University Department of Theatre and Dance.