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. As Artistic Director of Camille A. Brown and Dancers, Ms. Brown strives to instill curiosity and reflection in diverse audiences through her emotionally raw and thought-provoking work. Her driving passion is to empower Black bodies to tell their story using their own language(s) through movement and dialogue. Through the company, Ms. Brown provides outreach activities to students, young adults, and incarcerated women and men across the country. Currently, Ms. Brown is performing her new work “ink,” the final installation of the company’s trilogy about culture, race and identity. “ink” follows the Bessie Award-winning “Mr. TOL E. RAncE” (2012) and Bessie-nominated “BLACK GIRL:Linguistic Play” (2015). Drawing on historic and contemporary rhythms, rituals, and gestural vocabulary of the African Diaspora, “ink” reclaims African-American narratives by showcasing their authenticity. The work examines the culture of Black life that is often appropriated, rewritten, or silenced. Ms. Brown is the Choreographer for the Emmy Award Winning special, “Jesus Christ Superstar Live in Concert” and is the Choreographer for The Tony Award Winning Revival of “Once On This Island” on Broadway. For her work on this show, she also received Outer Critics Circle, Drama Desk, and Chita Rivera award nominations. For her choreography on “BELLA: An American Tall Tale”, Ms. Brown received an AUDELCO award and Lucille Lortel nomination. 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. As a choreographer, I am interested in that space between dance and theater where interdisciplinary work defies category and takes flight. Music and rhythm are the main driving forces of my work. Informed by my music background as a clarinetist, I create choreography that utilizes musical composition as storytelling. I am interested in telling stories – historical and personally based – and am fascinated with tying history to my personal experiences and bringing those things to life. By creating a vocabulary that fuses African, Hip- Hop, Jazz, Modern, Tap, Ballet, Theater, original music compositions and African-American social dances, my work often provides a platform to educate people about their origins while also exploring universal themes through movement. My company and I aim to present authentic performances that foster cultural and educational dialogues among audiences and local communities while instilling a sense of curiosity and appreciation for the live arts experience in a social and aesthetic context. We strive to build young and scholarly advocates who will help build appreciation for the field of contemporary dance within communities of color and develop our sphere of influence for cultural dialogue and reflection. Through our work we seek to speak to people, make them feel good, provoke, engage, and inspire.
- Rebecca Kidnie
- Beth Wenstrom