Black girlhood explored, exalted through dance

Black girlhood explored, exalted through dance

Camille A. Brown

Miami Dade College’s (MDC) MDC Live Arts and Miami Dade County Auditorium present the South Florida premiere of the Camille A. Brown’s Black Girl: Linguistic Play on Saturday, Feb. 20, 8 p.m., at Miami-Dade County Auditorium, 2901 W. Flagler St.

The provocative and poignant piece represents a nuanced spectrum of black girlhood in a world where black women are often only portrayed in terms of their strength, resiliency, or trauma.

Brown uses the rhythmic play of African-American social dance, double dutch, steppin’, tap, Juba, ring shout, and gesture to evoke childhood memories of self-discovery.

Through play and protest, Brown and her dancers come into their own, all while being shaped by their environments, the bonds of sisterhood, and society at large. By placing games, chants, rhymes, and movements on stage, Brown honors the skill and intelligence behind these cultural contributions and recognizes them as art.

“We are thrilled to present the premiere of Camille’s work in Miami,” said Kathryn Garcia, MDC Live Arts executive director. “She is a tremendous artist and cultural activist who will bring so much to our community throughout her residency.”

The dance pieces are accompanied by live music with pianist Scott Patterson and electric bassist Tracy Wormworth playing original compositions. Each performance culminates with “The Dialogue,” a talk-back with the artists.

Leading up to the performance, Brown and her dance company will participate in a weeklong residency and engagement activities with MDC Live Arts, including a Free Master Class open to the public on Wednesday, Feb. 17.

Camille A. Brown is a prolific choreographer who started her own dance company at 25, and by 35 received multiple accolades and awards for her daring works, including a Bessie Award, Doris Duke Artist Award, two Princess Grace Awards, two NEFA’s National Dance Project: Production Grants, and was named a TED fellow and nominated for a Lucille Lortel “Outstanding Choreographer” Award.

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 contemporary dance world; and Black Girl Spectrum, 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.

Brown was a member of Ronald K. Brown’s Evidence, A Dance Company, and was a guest artist with Rennie Harris’ Puremovement, and Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater. She has commissioned works for Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, Philadanco!, Urban Bush Women, Complexions, Ailey II, Ballet Memphis, and Hubbard Street II, among others. She is a graduate of the LaGuardia High School of the Performing Arts and received a BFA from the University of North Carolina School of the Arts.

Tickets are $25 plus fees; MDC students $10. To purchase tickets and learn more about the MDC Live Arts season, call 305-237-3010, or visit www.mdclivearts.org.


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