CAMILLE A. BROWN
Camille A. Brown and Catherine Foster in Black Girl: Linguistic Play. Photo by Christopher Duggan.
New York City, NY
Early Stage and Mid-Stage Residency Artist
Camille A. Brown is a prolific Black female choreographer reclaiming the cultural narrative of African American identity. Her bold work taps into both ancestral stories and contemporary culture to capture a range of deeply personal experiences. Ms. Brown is a four-time Princess Grace Award winner, a Ford Foundation Art of Change Fellow, Jacob’s Pillow Dance Award winner, Guggenheim Fellowship recipient, and TED Fellow, among others. Her work has been commissioned by the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, Broadway theaters, and other prominent institutions.
With funding from the Joyce Foundation, DANCECleveland was one of the commissioners of Black Girl: Linguistic Play. As part of the creative process, Camille visited the region for an early stage residency June 8-13, 2014 and returned in January, 2015 for a mid-stage residency and to share the work in progress. DANCECleveland presented the work on November 14, 2015 at the Hanna Theatre at Playhouse Square in Cleveland Ohio as part of its 2015-16 season.
In June 2014, Brown traveled to the region to conduct early research for the new work and reflect with others on “the complexity of carving out a self-defined identity as a black female in urban American culture.” She interviewed African-American ‘elders’ and their mothers, incarcerated women at the Northeast Reintegration Center-minimum security prison, college-aged women at Cuyahoga Community College and local scholars at Case Western Reserve University. These interviews were videotaped so that she could share the stories she heard and experiences she had with her dancers and creative team.
In January 2015, Brown’s residency was timed to align with the International Association of Blacks in Dance (IABD) annual conference in Cleveland. While in residence with her New York-based performers and musicians, Brown rehearsed the new work, performed a segment of the work-in-progress to a sold out audience as part of the IABD conference performances (which also featured other regional and national artists), and held a discussion and feed-back session with a group of women who were part of her initial residency. The Company and musicians also returned to the NEO Reintegration Center to perform the work and have a feed-back discussion session with the residents.