December 2, 2017
I see black people as super heroes because we keep rising.”
~ Question Bridge: Black Males in America (2012)
Video Footage Courtesy of Chris Cameron at the Maggie Allesee National Center for Choreography (MANCC) at Florida State University
“ink” celebrates the rituals, gestural vocabulary, and traditions that remain ingrained within the lineage of the African Diaspora and reclaims African-Americans narratives by showcasing their authenticity. The work examines the culture of Black life that is often appropriated, rewritten, or silenced.
In collaboration with Music Director Allison Miller, percussionist Wilson Torres, violinist Juliette Jones, and composer/pianist Scott Patterson, “ink,” is the final installation of Brown’s dance theatre trilogy about identity (along with “Mr. TOL E. RAncE”- 2012, “BLACK GIRL: Linguistic Play” – 2015). Together, using the rhythms and sounds of traditional African and handmade instruments as its center, the work travels through time with elements of Blues, Hip-Hop, Jazz, and Swing. This musical landscape embodies its own storytelling. The movement is an amalgamation of African-American social dance, African, Tap, Jazz, Modern, and Hip-Hop. Through self-empowerment, Black love, brotherhood, exhaustion and resilience, community and fellowship, “ink” depicts the pedestrian interactions of individuals and relationships as grounds for accessing one’s innate super powers and finding liberation.
The lead commissioners for ink are Peak Performances @ Montclair State University, NJ and The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts (Washington, D.C.), with support from the Lumberyard. ink also received co-commissioning support from ASU Gammage.
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; The MAP Fund, supported by the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation; New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor 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/CalArtsSummer Choreographic Residency. The development of ink 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 is also being created, in part, during a production residency at ASU Gammage, University of Iowa’s Hancher Auditorium, 2017 Off-Shore Creation Residency at The Yard and creative residencies at Peak Performances @ Montclair State University, NJ, Jacob’s Pillow, and CUNY Dance Initiative at Kingsborough Community College.
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 leads her dancers through excavations of ancestral stories, both timeless and traditional, that illustrate stories which connect history with contemporary culture. Read more about Camille
Beatrice Capote is a dancer, choreographer, and teacher. She began her dance training at Amaryllis Dance Academy in West New York, NJ. She attended Professional Performing Arts High school and studied as a scholarship student at Alvin Ailey American Dance Center. At Alvin Ailey, she was featured in the book “Attitude, eight young dancers come of age at the Ailey school” by Katherine Davis Fishman. She then graduated from the University Of North Carolina School of the Arts and at Montclair State University with a Dance Education Degree. Ms. Capote has worked and/ or continues to work with INSPIRIT, a dance company, Mavericks dance company, The Wells Performance Project, Areytos Performance Works, Kyle Abraham/ Abraham. In. Motion, Antonio Brown, Darrell Grand Moultrie, Christal Brown, Frederick Earl Mosley, Matthew Rushing, and Camille A. Brown and Dancers. She is currently faculty at Alvin Ailey American Dance Center, Adjunct Professor at Montclair State University, and Joffrey Ballet School. She joined the company in August 2014.
Kendra 'Vie Boheme' Dennard was born in Motown, developed in Pittsburgh and refined in Minneapolis. She is a former dance artist with TU Dance in St. Paul, Minnesota, a founding member of The August Wilson Center Dance Ensemble and a soul, funk, jazz vocalist and choreographer of her own solo dance work. She is also a Vinyasa yoga instructor. Vie was trained at Point Park University's Conservatory of Performing Arts (Pittsburgh, PA) and The Ailey School (NYC). Over the course of her career she performed the works of Kyle Abraham, Camille A. Brown, Dwight Rhoden, Gregory Dolbashian, Uri Sands, Darrell Grand Moultrie and Sidra Bell.
Dancer, Choreographer and Teacher Timothy Edwards, a Hawaii native, began his journey into dance at the age of fourteen when he stepped in his first dance class, African dance. From that day on his teacher, Desiree Kramer, would give him the tools and inspiration to pursue his new found dance dream.
From Washington, DC, Catherine received her training from the DC Youth Ensemble (DCYE), Baltimore School for the Arts (BSA) and at the Alvin Ailey American Dance Center. She was a finalist and 2nd place winner in the National Arts Recognition, in Miami, Fla. and a recipient of the Astaire Award for Best Broadway Female Ensemble. She has worked with and performed the works of noted choreographers including Kevin “Iega” Jeff, Donald Bryd, Hinton Battle. The Fred Benjamin Dance Company (artistic director Fred Benja¬min),Forces of Nature (artistic director, Abdel Salaam), Darrel grand Moultrie, and Camille A. Brown and dancers ( artistic director, Camille Brown). Catherine made her Broadway debut in the original cast of the hit musical FELA! produced by Jay-Z and Will Smith in 2009 and went on to tour internationally with the production until 2011. Catherine has performed throughout North America to as far as Central and South America, Europe, and Africa. She is a certified dance/fitness instructor and teaches regularly in after school programs. She gives thanks to all of her ancestors and loved ones for her success and guidance.
Juel D. Lane has been noted as one of the most gifted dance talents in the country, and his awe-inspiring work today still yields this title. An Atlanta native, he received his early training from Tri-Cities High School and The Youth Ensemble of Atlanta. Lane was recently selected to participate in the 2015-2016 Alvin Ailey Dance Foundation New Directions Choreography Lab, and is a company member of Bessie Award winning Camille A. Brown & Dancers. Prior to that, he was a dancer with Ron K. Brown/EVIDENCE, Carolyn Dorfman Dance Company,Axam DTE, Andrea E. Woods Souloworks & Dancers, and Helen Simoneau Danse. Alliance Theatre Credits: C.A. Lyons Project, I DREAM (Assistant Choreographer). Regional: SPUNK (True Colors Theatre- Choreographer), Rob Jackson’s, Rebirth (The Fox Theater, Atlanta-Choreographer), STAGGER LEE, Dallas Theater Center, Associate-Choreographer) He was featured on the Cover of the May/June 2015 issue of Dance Studio Magazine, and in 2013 was named one of Dance Magazine’s “25 to Watch.” In 2012, Lane made history as the first local independent Black choreographer to have his work commissioned by the Atlanta Ballet. A graduate of the University of North Carolina School of the Arts, he is heavily involved in dance on film and has released three dance-film projects: “Just Another Day,” “How to Kill a Ghost,” and “When The Beat Drops.” www.jueldlane.com
Maleek Washington is a native New Yorker from the Bronx. He began his studies at Harlem School of The Arts, Broadway Dance Center and LaGuardia High School for Performing Arts. He received a full scholarship to continue his education at The Boston Conservatory, and soon after he began dancing professionally. First he danced for CityDance Ensemble (Washington DC), where he worked with Paul Taylor, Kate Weare, and Alex Neoral. He's performed in over 10 countries worldwide and performed at notorious national locations including The White House, the John F. Kennedy Center and Jacob's Pillow. Maleek later moved back to New York City to collaborate with McArthur Genius awardee, Kyle Abraham, and his company Abraham.in.Motion (A.I.M.) for four seasons. Presently, Maleek is the first African American male performing in the immersive show Sleep No More. After signing to CESD talent agency, Maleek has performed for musical sensation Sia on Good Morning America, and for Rhianna for an immersive experience for her AntiDiary Campaign. Maleek is proud to be on faculty at the Joffrey Ballet School's Jazz and Contemporary program, and is a guest teacher at Broadway Dance Center, Gibney Dance, Peridance, New York University's Tisch School of the Arts, and CityDance Conservatory (Bethesda, MD). "Dancers are athletes of gods" -Albert Einstein
An avid performer and highly sought-after freelance artist, Juliette Jones has established herself as a consummate musician. A multi-genre acoustic and electric violinist, she performs as a live and studio recording artist; and works extensively with solo artists, bands, and DJs, as well as dance and theater. A BMI composer, Juliette also works as an arranger and has contracted for a number of live, television and multimedia events, including the Film Society of Lincoln Center's 51st New York Film Festival live presentation of the original Grand Theft Auto V score. She has taped or performed for the Golden Globes, The Tonight Show and Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, Late Night with Seth Meyers, NBA All-Stars, MTV Unplugged, Saturday Night Live, BET Honors, the Costume Institute Gala at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and Good Morning America. Juliette has performed with a veritable list of "who's who" in the music industry including Stevie Wonder, Aretha Franklin, Justin Timberlake, Janelle Monáe, John Legend, Toshi Reagon, Pharrell, Common, Frank Ocean, Hit-Boy, Florence + The Machine, Nicki Minaj, J. Cole, Ryan Leslie, Kid Cudi, Tye Tribbett, Richard Smallwood, Kim Burrell and Sheila E. For more information, please visit: www.julesonstrings.com
NYC-based drummer/composer/teacher Allison Miller engages her deep roots in improvisation as a vehicle to explore all music. Described by critics as a charismatic and rhythmically propulsive drummer with melodic sensibility, Miller has been named “Top 20 Jazz Drummers” in Downbeat Magazine. Her band, Boom Tic Boom, is a 2014 recipient of Chamber Music America’s “Presenter Consortium for Jazz Grant” and is proudly sponsored by Mid-Atlantic Arts Foundation. As a side-musician, Miller has been the rhythmic force behind such artists as Ani DiFranco, Natalie Merchant, Brandi Carlile, Toshi Reagon, Dr. Lonnie Smith, Patricia Barber, Marty Ehrlich, Ben Allison, the Meredith Vieira Show, and Late Night with Seth Meyers. She is the musical director of Speak, And Still You Must Swing, and Celebrate and co-leads Honey Ear Trio and Holler and Bam. Allison teaches at the New School for Jazz and Contemporary Music in NYC and endorses Yamaha drums, Zildjian cymbals, Vic Firth heads, and Evans drumheads.
Wilson R. Torres is a New York native born and raised in Washington Heights. Wilson’s musical journey took roots at the age of 2, holding it down on the pots and pans. At the age of 3 he received his 1st drum, putting his musical journey in motion. His formal training began at the age of 12 when he received a scholarship from The New York Pops Orchestra to study with percussionist Susan Evans. Wilson is a graduate of The Juilliard School M.A.P, The Juilliard School Pre College program and F.H LaGuardia High School of Music and Art (Fame). He received his B.M, M.M in Orchestral Performance from The Manhattan School of Music under the tutelage of Duncan Patton and Christopher S. Lamb. Broadway Credits include Tony and Grammy Award winning musical “In the Heights”, “Les Misérables” (25th anniversary revival), “Lysistrata Jones”, “The Wiz” (Encores),“On Your Toes” (Encores) and “Cabin in the Sky” (Encores). Tours include “Lion King” (1st National), “Lion King” (Cheetah) and “Wicked” (1st National). Orchestral credits include San Francisco Symphony, New Jersey Symphony, Staten Island Symphony and Albany Symphony. Wilson is a proud endorser of Latin Percussion and Sabian Cymbals.
Daniel Banks has worked extensively in the U.S. and abroad, having directed at such venues as the National Theatre of Uganda, the Belarussian National Drama Theatre, The Market Theatre (Johannesburg, South Africa), and Playhouse Square (Cleveland). He has served as choreographer/movement director for productions at NY Shakespeare Festival/ Shakespeare in the Park, Singapore Repertory Theatre, La Monnaie/De Munt (Brussels), Landestheater (Saltzburg), and for Maurice Sendak/The Night Kitchen. Daniel is co-director with Adam McKinney of the arts and service organization DNAWORKS for which he directed McKinney’s multi-media, genealogical dance journey HaMapah/The Map that has toured around the world. He is founder and director of the Hip Hop Theatre Initiative. HHTI works on the intersections of Hip Hop culture and theatre to promote youth self-expression and leadership, and has worked on campuses and in communities across the U.S. and in Ghana, South Africa, Hungary, Azerbaijan, Israel, Serbia, the U.K., and Mexico. He is editor of the critical anthology of Hip Hop Theatre plays Say Word! Voices from Hip Hop Theater. Daniel has taught on the faculties of the Department of Undergraduate Drama, Tisch School of the Arts, New York University, the MFA in Contemporary Performance at Naropa University, and the M.A. in Applied Theatre at City University of New York. He is currently Chair of Performing Arts at the Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe, NM.
Kamilah Forbes (Director): Most recent credits include:BROADWAY (associate director) The Mountaintop and Stickfly. Welcome to Nellie’s by Dominique Morrisseau (Classical Theater of Harlem, Reading), Nannyland by Radha Blank (Public Theater, Reading) Saturday Night/Sunday Morning by Katori Hall (Lincoln Center Theater Lab Reading series), The Mountaintop by Katori Hall (Lark Theater, barebones production), Journey to the door of no return by Psalmayene 24 (Arena Stage, workshop), Children of Children Keep Coming (Columbia University), Beauty, the Beast (Dance Mission, San Francisco), And Her Hair went with her by Zina Camblin (NJ Reperatory Theater) Most recently she directed National Poetry Slam Champion Marc Bamuthi Joseph’s multi-disciplinary dance theater piece SCOURGE. Scourge toured to Rotterdam, Brussels, Boston, DC, 651 arts (NYC), and was premiered at the Yerba Buena Center for the arts in San Francisco. Other credits include include: assistant director for Tony Award winning DEF POETRY JAM on BROADWAY, Masquerade by solo spoken word artist Roger Bonair–Agard, Rhyme Deferred which she conceived and co-wrote presented at: (The Kennedy Center, Arena Stage, PS122, New York Theater Workshop, Undermain Theater) other directing credits include: No Man’s Land (ODC Theater, San Francisco), Nightmares of JuJubee (The Lincoln Theater DC, PS122, NYC). She recently received the 2011 JOSEPHINE ABADY award from the League of Professional Women in theater for excellence in the theater and is a member of the Leadership Board with the Women’s Project.
Talvin Wilks is a playwright, director and dramaturg. His plays include Tod, the boy, Tod, The Trial of Uncle S&M, Bread of Heaven, An American Triptych and Jimmy and Lorraine. Acclaimed directorial projects include UDU by Sekou Sundiata, The Love Space Demands by Ntozake Shange, No Black Male Show/Pagan Operetta by Carl Hancock Rux, The Ballad of Emmett Till by Ifa Bayeza and the OBIE Award winning, The Shaneequa Chronicles by Stephanie Berry. He has served as co-writer/co-director for ten productions in Ping Chong’s ongoing series of Undesirable Elements, as well as the recent premiere of Collidescope: Adventures in Pre and Post Racial American. As a dance dramaturg, he has created five world premieres with the Bebe Miller Company, Going to the Wall, the Bessie Award winning, Verge, Landing/Place for which he received a 2006 Bessie Award, Necessary Beauty and A History. Recent dramaturgical collaborations include work with Camille A. Brown and Dancers (Mr. TOL E. RaNcE), Carmen de Lavallade (As I Remember It), Darrell Jones (Hoo-Ha), Urban Bush Women (Hep Hep Sweet Sweet, Walking with ‘Trane), and baba israel (The Spinning Wheel).
The Mask of Survival: Black Performance in Dance
By: Camille A. Brown