Camille A. Brown is “a force of nature.” — The New York Times
Award-winning choreographer and TED Fellow Camille A. Brown brings her company and its irresistible energy to Peak Performances. ink, the final installation of her dance trilogy about culture, race, and identity, celebrates the rituals, gestural vocabulary, and traditions of the African diaspora while examining the culture of Black life that is often appropriated, rewritten or silenced. Using the rhythms and sounds of traditional African music mixed with blues, hip-hop, jazz, and swing, ink travels through time from the abolitionist movement to the Civil Rights struggle, from the Black Power movement to the emergence of hip-hop. Through self-empowerment, Black love, brotherhood, exhaustion and resilience, and community and fellowship, ink depicts the pedestrian interactions of individuals and relationships as grounds for accessing one’s innate super powers and finding liberation. Brown’s choreographic gifts and her inherent theatricality and musicality are tools that shape our understanding of the African American experience.
In the Lobby of Alexander Kasser Theater
Readings by Kem Joy Ukwu (fiction) and Ananda Lima (poetry), celebrating Camille A. Brown & Dancers’s ink.
Camille A. Brown on Arts Activism
School of Communication and Media Presentation Hall
Choreographer Camille A. Brown discusses how the arts can be a platform for creative expression, protest, and healing. In this political climate, communities can use movement as a source of empowerment, highlighting individual as well as collective identity.
Social Dance Workshop with Juel D. Lane
Alexander Kasser Theater Studio 104
Rooted in the African American vernacular, this movement workshop led by a member of Camille A. Brown & Dancers celebrates the power of African American social dance and its impact and influence on American dance forms throughout history.
Camille A. Brown is a prolific choreographer making a personal claim on history through the lens of a modern Black female perspective. She leads her dancers through excavations of ancestral stories, both timeless and traditional, that illustrate stories which connect history with contemporary culture. She 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 TED Fellow, 2015 Doris Duke Artist Award recipient, and was nominated for the 2015 Lucille Lortel “Outstanding Choreographer” Award (Fortress of Solitude). Her company, Camille A. Brown & Dancers, received a 2014 Bessie Award for Outstanding Production for the work Mr. TOL E. RAncE and most recently were nominated for a 2016 Bessie Award for Outstanding Production for the work BLACK GIRL: Linguistic Play. Ms. Brown’s work has been commissioned by Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, Philadanco!, Complexions, and Urban Bush Women, among others. Her theater credits include Broadway’s A Streetcar Named Desire, Fortress of Solitude, Stagger Lee, Cabin in the Sky, Jonathan Larson’s tick, tick…BOOM! starring Lin Manuel Miranda, the musical BELLA: An American Tall Tale, among others. Currently, Ms. Brown is developing a new piece with the working title ink – the final installation of the company’s dance theatre trilogy about culture, race and identity.
In The News
BRIAN SEIBERT, THE NEW YORK TIMES: “A Storytelling Choreographer Who Listens to Her Audience”
“For an in-demand choreographer, Camille A. Brown spends an unusual amount of her time listening and responding to what audiences have to say. Often, what she hears is upsetting. Sometimes the most disturbing comments prove the most useful.”
SARAH L. KAUFMAN, THE WASHINGTON POST: “Camille A. Brown’s “ink”: Beautiful etchings in space”
“Camille A. Brown works like a fine jeweler on her choreography. She crafts small-scale, detailed pieces that address subtle emotions and the overlooked but meaningful events of daily life, especially those deeply seated in the African American experience.”
GIA KOURLAS, THE NEW YORK TIMES: “In a New Work, Camille A. Brown Plays with Empowerment”
“The choreographer Camille A. Brown may be tiny, but her latest dance isn’t the least bit diminutive.”
BRIAN SEIBERT, THE NEW YORK TIMES: “Stereotypes Behind the Mask”
“Ms. Brown’s hugely ambitious 50-minute work takes on the slippery subject of stereotypes and the metaphorical mask that black entertainers have had to wear.”
JENNIFER DUNNING, THE NEW YORK TIMES: “The Rhythmically Ebbing and Flowing of the Subway Riders of New York”
“Camille A. Brown celebrates the captive community of New York subway riders in her delicious “Groove to Nobody’s Business,” first performed by the Ailey company on Friday night at City Center.”
The lead commissioners for ink are Peak Performances @ Montclair State University and the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C., with support from Lumberyard. 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 Gov. 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/CalArts Summer Choreographic Residency. The development of the work 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 was also being created, in part, during creative residencies at Peak Performances @ Montclair State University, Arizona State University Gammage, the University of Iowa’s Hancher Auditorium, the Yard, Jacob’s Pillow, and CUNY Dance Initiative at Kingsborough Community College.
Programs in Peak Performances 2017–18 season are made possible in part by funds from the National Endowment for the Arts and the New Jersey State Council on the Arts. The presentation of ink is 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, and through the ArtsCONNECT program of the Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation with support from the National Endowment for the Arts.