Camille A. Brown

CAMILLE A. BROWN (originally from Queens, New York) is a prolific choreographer who has achieved multiple accolades and awards for her daring works. Informed by her music background as a clarinetist, she utilizes musical composition as storytelling and makes a personal claim on history through the lens of a modern Black female perspective. She is the Artistic Director of Camille A. Brown & Dancers which strives to instill cultural curiosity, introspection and reflection in its audiences through performances, dialogue, and by providing outreach activities to students, young adults, and incarcerated women and men from local communities across the country.

Ms. Brown is a four time Princess Grace Award winner (2016 Statue Award, 2016 Choreographic Mentorship Co-Commission Award, 2013 Works in Progress Residency Award, 2006 Choreography Award), 2016 Jacob's Pillow Dance Award recipient, 2016 Guggenheim Fellowship recipient, 2015 USA Jay Franke & David Herro Fellow, 2015 Doris Duke Artist Award recipient, and was nominated for the 2015 Lucille Lortel “Outstanding Choreographer” Award (Fortress of Solitude). She is a three-time recipient of NEFA’s National Dance Project: Production Grant, 2015 MAP Fund Grantee, 2015 Engaging Dance Audiences Grantee, and a Jerome Foundation 50th Anniversary Grantee. Her company received a 2014 Bessie Award for “Outstanding Production” for the work Mr. TOL E. RAncE, and most recently received a 2016 Bessie nomination for "Outstanding Production" for the work BLACK GIRL: Linguistic Play. A 2015 TED Fellow, Ms. Brown’s TED talk on the influence of African and African-American social dance in the United States is on TED.com, TED-Ed, and across social media platforms where it has received over 10 million views.

Ms. Brown’s work has been commissioned by Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, Philadanco!, Ballet Memphis, and Urban Bush Women, among others. Her theater credits as Choreographer include: A Streetcar Named Desire (Broadway), Fortress of Solitude (The Public Theater), Stagger Lee (DTC), BELLA: An American Tall Tale (DTC, Playwrights Horizons), Cabin in the Sky (NY City Center Encores!), Jonathan Larson’s tick, tick…BOOM! starring Lin-Manuel Miranda & Leslie Odom Jr. (NY City Center Encores! Off-Center). This past summer, Ms. Brown performed as a guest artist in the world premiere of And Still You Must Swing with tap artists Dormeshia Sumbry-Edwards, Derick K. Grant, and Jason Samuels Smith at Jacob’s Pillow.

In 2014, Ms. Brown founded two initiatives: The Gathering, an annual open forum for intergenerational Black female artists to advocate for greater cultural equity and acknowledgement in the dance world; and BLACK GIRL SPECTRUM (BGS), a multi-faceted community engagement initiative that seeks to amplify the cultural and creative empowerment of Black girls and women through dance, dialogue, and popular education tools. In 2017, she will expand the mission of BGS by launching two more initiatives - one focusing on young black men/ adults through gesture, step, and social dance, and the other connecting with homeless shelters across the country.

Ms. Brown has been featured on the cover of Dance Teacher Magazine (August 2015) and Co-Directed the Social Dances: Jazz to Hip-Hop program with Moncell Durden at The Jacob’s Pillow School. She has performed at the 2015 TED Conference in Vancouver, Canada and given talks at both TEDxBeaconStreet and TEDx Estée Lauder Companies.

Ms. Brown is a graduate of the LaGuardia High School of the Performing Arts and received a B.F.A. from the University of North Carolina School of the Arts.

Visiting Artist | November 27 - December 8, 2016

ink

For their first MANCC residency, Camille A. Brown & Dancers (CABD) came to develop ink - the final installation of her identity trilogy, which includes Mr. TOL. E. RAncE (2013) and BLACK GIRL: Linguistic Play(2015). Reclaiming African-Americans narratives by showcasing their authenticity, “ink” celebrates the rituals, gestural vocabulary, and traditions that remain (from generation to generation) ingrained within the lineage of the African Diaspora. This work examines the culture of black life that is often appropriated, rewritten, or silenced.

In collaboration with Music Director Allison Miller, percussionist Wilson Torres, and violinist Juliette Jones, using the rhythms and sounds of traditional African instruments as its center, "ink" travels through time with elements of Blues, Hip-Hop, Jazz, and Swing- moving seamlessly through its musical landscape to provide its own storytelling. The movement is an amalgamation of African- American social dance, African, Tap, Jazz, Modern, and Hip-Hop.

From the Abolitionist movement to the Civil Rights struggle, from The Black Power movement to the emergence of Hip Hop, “ink” seeks to highlight the space of pedestrian interactions as grounds for individuals and communities to find liberation and access their power. Talvin Wilks leads the dramaturgy, along with theatrical and scholarly insight from Daniel Banks and Kamilah Forbes.

While at MANCC, Talvin Wilks served as a mentor to guide the dramaturgical and theatrical components of the creative process. Brown’s creative research was augmented by a discussion with FSU scholar, Dr. Alisha Gaines whose teaching interests include African American literature and culture, black queer theory, media and performance studies, narratives of passing, and New Southern studies. Brown hosted a Community Open Studio for FSU students, faculty and local college students to observe the artists and Wilks in action and learn about the creative process firsthand. The residency concluded with a public work-in-progress showing and discussion.

Brown’s creative process is often community-centered, and three FSU student dancers were selected via essay competition to participate in the residency experience. The students observed the residency process and were provided with specific time to talk with Brown directly about the choreographic process and highlights of founding a dance company. Additionally, a public panel discussion was organized with Brown, Wilks, and facilitated by Jawole Willa Jo Zollar, resident faculty at FSU and Artistic Director of Urban Bush Women.

This residency was funded, in part, by the Princess Grace Foundation.

  • Shamar Watt and Yusha Sorzano
  • Yusha Sorzano and Shamar Watt
  • Yusha Sorzano and Shamar Watt
  • Wilson Torres and Camille A. Brown
  • Wilson Torres and Camille A. Brown
  • Yusha Sorzano and Shamar Watt
  • Allison Miller, Wilson Torres and Joey Oakley
  • Timothy Edwards and Mark Caserta
  • Wilson Torres
  • Camille A. Brown & Dancers
  • Wilson Torres and Camille A. Brown
  • Camille A. Brown
  • Camille A. Brown & Dancers
  • Camille A. Brown & Dancers
  • Mark Caserta and Yusha Sorzano
  • Wilson Torres and Camille A. Brown
  • Wilson Torres and Camille A. Brown
  • Shamar Watt and Timothy Edwards
  • Work-in-progress showing
  • Work-in-progress showing
  • Work-in-progress showing
  • Camille A. Brown hosts Community Open Studio
  • Camille A. Brown & Dancers
  • Shamar Watt
  • Camille A. Brown & Dancers
  • Camille A. Brown & Dancers
  • Yusha Sorzano
  • Mark Caserta
  • Jawole Willa Jo Zollar, Camille A. Brown and Talvin Wilks
  • Jawole Willa Jo Zollar, Camille A. Brown and Talvin Wilks
  • Camille A. Brown

Collaborators in Residence: Catherine Foster, Yusha-Marie Sorzano, Tim Edwards, Shamar Watt, Mark Castera, Beatrice Capote [Dancers], Joey Oakley, Wilson Torres [Musicians], Allison Miller [Music Director], Robert McIntyre, Production Stage Manager, Talvin Wilks [Dramaturg], Indira Goodwine [Managing Director]

Slideshow photos taken by Chris Cameron and Meagan Helman

World Premiere

Cynthia Oliver

Virago-Man Dem
October 25 - 28
BAM Fisher (NYC)

>

Click to close x