The history of African-American social dance - Camille A. Brown -

*Over 10 MILLION plays of Facebook*

Participants Benjamin Allen, Kadeem Alston-Roman, Athena Beasley, Mo Beasley, Reina Beasley, Beatrice Capote, Chloe Davis, E. Moncell Durden, Timothy Edwards, John Felton, Catherine Foster, Jocinda Johnson, Nzinga Joseph, Janiya Pearson, Kesnie Pierre, Jamyra Salley, Stefanie Siegel, Herbert Sweat, Jayah R. Williams, Jayden C. Williams and K. Mshindi Williams View full lesson: Why do we dance? African-American social dances started as a way for enslaved Africans to keep cultural traditions alive and retain a sense of inner freedom. They remain an affirmation of identity and independence. In this electric demonstration, packed with live performances, choreographer, educator and TED Fellow Camille A. Brown explores what happens when communities let loose and express themselves by dancing together. Lesson and choreography by Camille A. Brown, titles by Kozmonot Animation Studio.

Quotes from Brown’s new work Black Girl: Linguistic Play


“Camille Brown’s performance expanded the constraints of dance in a performance that held the attention of her audience through various mediums..The darkness of Black Girl was heart-wrenching, lonely and quiet. Her self-discovery as an independent artist in Black Girl and her exploration of the resonance of African-American folklores in African-American lives in The New Second Line is a form of acknowledgement of the power of black individuals. This last dialogue epitomizes the reason why we need works like Brown’s. We do not live in a post-racial, post-gender society, and the scars left by our history continue to shape our thoughts.”
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-The Williams Record

“Black Girl might be dance in its most humanistic form: the embodiment and questioning of cultural norms that manifest in muscular holding, posture, gesture, and breath.”
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-Nicole Bindler, Thinking Dance

“I am in awe of Brown’s impeccable timing, of how her use of those moments of stillness, silence, and pause give me the opportunity to reflect.. Brown exposed more facets: the full spectrum of the black female experience.  Brown’s dancers, too, spoke about examining their own experiences–whether fulfilling the stereotypes of black women to protect themselves from street harassment or, as dancer Fana Fraser stated, the “hybrid identities within myself.” Though she is Trinidadian, Fraser noted, “In America, I am black.”
This is why it was so brave. Not only was Brown opening up her work for anybody’s interpretation and critique, she was opening up her life–all the layers of identity therein–and all of the complications our society puts upon those lives. She was proving, to all in attendance, that #blacklivesmatter.”
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-Becca Weber, Thinking Dance

“These periods of intimacy seemed to speak to the struggle to be an individual while still feeling a part of the Sisterhood. Finding the balance between being you and pleasing others is something that I think many people can identify with, and was an overarching theme of this piece that I could really relate to..While I realize I will never understand completely, I feel like after seeing Camille A. Brown & Dancers, I now have a better grasp of what W. E. B. Dubois meant by “double-consciousness,” that sense of “twoness” felt by black Americans. To see it played out so elegantly on stage made it all the more meaningful and powerful. I commend these dancers for making themselves vulnerable for the sake of enlightening their audiences. I couldn’t help but think about the emotional energy required to have that same tough dialog at the end of every performance. As the goal of the company is to “foster cultural and educational dialogues among audiences and local communities while instilling a sense of curiosity and appreciation,” I would say, mission accomplished.”
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-Flynn Center Blog

“how do we diverge in the moving black body – how she finds her black girl in the movement that is familiar to many from varying perspectives – homegrown references like double dutch, steppin, ring shout, church shoutin, house, preachin, tellin wih the body is old stuff rich and wise – when the body is in protest/reverence – flailing and focused – rockin the ride of the intense life and reveling in the elation of struggle – pushing the fly stance while finding the earth under your feet from the bottom up – head to toe – toe to head – the leaning to be even closer to the ground for that power – the movement flowing through every nook and cranny – the filling up to thrust in grace – we need to see more of these dances – every african/black/american dance move is not the same – it has nuance – and so does the enticing cb and her crew of unstoppable emotist extraordinaire – the physical insight was mind blowing”
-Lela Aisha, Flyground

Quotes from Brown’s work on Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater The Groove To Nobody’s Business


“..delicious…Ms. Brown’s work is both expressive and economic-no words need.”
-Jennifer Dunning (The New York Times)

“The Groove to Nobody’s Business its massively talented creator, Camille A Brown, is a [Queens]-born New Yorker aged just 27. Brown creates a funky, laugh-a-minute dance sitcom around the meeting of strangers on a subway. Bickering lovers, a bag lady, a city suit, a cheeky teenager and others jostle for space on a bench and hilariously over-react to each others’ everyday ticks. Part hip-hop, part manic physical rant, it’s original and entertaining in equal measure.”
-The Independent On Sunday (London)

“This new work by Camille A. Brown, is another must-see-again dance, sexy, edgy, and full of a hit. The J. Wiese sets bring us into a subway station and train, as passengers wait at the platform and travel together, relating in familiarity and annoyance, while breaking into dance, song after song.”
-Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower

“Ms. Brown assails people in the subway in both a light hearted and dimensional way, combining their distinct personalities. Expertly set off by J. Wiese’s clever set, enhanced by Dalila Kee’s lighting, and Carolyn Meckha¨ Cherry’s amusing costumes lend credence. Funny, sexy, touching and, above all, recognizable, this piece is destined to become a company standard. Congrats to the dancers and to Ms. Brown.”
-Theater Scene

“The story line is original and entertaining…Ms. Brown did an excellent job developing stage characters through movement and interaction over the three sections. She also captured the unique entertainment quality that can be attained through contemporary choreography while also delivering a Broadway appeal that is sure to entertain any audience.”
-Explore Dance

Quotes on Brown as a dancer with Ronald K. Brown/EVIDENCE:


“Camille A. Brown exerts a special draw on the eye; her movements range from explosive extensions to polyrhythmic articulation. Extending her presence far past her physical reach.”
-Corey Harrower

“Camille Brown, a fabulous performer, turns sexy into funny and eccentric. Bravo!”
-Wendy Perron (Dance Magazine)

“..the most startling discovery was Camille A. Brown, a pixie-ish powerhouse with the determined air of a high priestess.”
-San Francisco Chronicle

“Finally, the company performed Grace… danced just as superbly here, particularly by the small, beautiful, and technically bravura Camille A. Brown”
-Chicago Sun Times

“I Didn’t Know What Time It Was’ kick started the show with Latin drums and Freelon’s upbeat delivery, as well as the giddy punch of dancer Camille Brown. Brown’s solo was a mixture of thrashing African ritual dance, grandly unfolding balances and cheesecake poses. It was by turns ecstatic and serene, a portrait of a woman deliriously comfortable in her own skin”
-The Washington Post

“Led by the glorious Camille Brown as the heavenly monitor, the dancers’ bodies speak eloquently of enlightenment and community spirit”
-The Globe and Mail (Canada)



Black Girlhood Through Black Girls’ Eyes: A Chat With Camille A. Brown
By: Carla Escoda

Camille Talks About Her Vision for Broadway’s “Once on This Island”
By: Courtney Bowers
Dance Spirit

Meet The Dance Company: Camille A. Brown & Dancers
By: Lauren Kay

The Mask of Survival: Black Performance in Dance
By: Camille A. Brown
The Offing

Camille A. Brown Stomps Down Stereotypes in Kirsten Childs’s New Musical
By: Pete Hempstead

WPFW 89.3. FM

By: Keanna C. Faircloth

New Dance Piece Highlights How Black Girls Play
By: Laura Pellicer & Frank Stasio

Camille A. Brown: The Real Woman Communicating Equality, Freedom and Identity!

Peace Quarters

The Evolution of Camille A. Brown

Working in the Theatre: Choreography
American Theatre Wing

Camille A. Brown on BLACK GIRL: Linguistic Play
DeBartolo Performing Arts Center

Take Five | Five questions for Camille A. Brown
The Berkshire Eagle

How Camille A. Brown Uses Theater to Capture Black Girl Joy
By: Brianna Patterson
The Culture

Camille A. Brown: A Choreographer Hitting Her Stride
By: Darralyn Hutson
Black Enterprise

Black Girlhood Takes Center Stage In A Work That’s Serious About ‘Play’

By: Neda Ulaby

Exploring African American female identity: Choreographer Camille A. Brown in Conversation
By: Marni LaRose
Critical Dance

10 Minutes with Camille A. Brown
By: Karyn D. Collins
Dance Magazine

The Necessity of Reflection: A Conversation with National Artist Camille A. Brown Performing at 2013 Chicago Dancing Festival
By: Baraka de Soleil

Interview En L’Air with Camille A. Brown
By: Armando Braswell
Interview En L’air

Body and Soul: Listen.: Camille A. Brown
By: Eva Yaa Asantewaa

“Choreography in Focus” with Camille A. Brown
By: Wendy Perron
Dance Magazine

Camille A. Brown, Award-Winning Choreographer on The Kiner Hour – Let’s Talk Dance with Ashani
By: Ashani Mfuko
Kiner Enterprises



Review: Camille A. Brown & Dancers dazzling at Jacob’s Pillow
By: Ken Ross
Mass Live

Play’s the thing in triumphant ‘BLACK GIRL’ at Jacob’s Pillow
By: Janine Parker
Boston Globe

Camille Brown’s ‘BLACK GIRL Linguistic Play’ at Jacob’s Pillow, dynamic exploration of Black female identity
By: Hannah Van Sickle
The Berkshire Edge

The Art and Artistry of Double Dutch
By: Gia Kourlas
New York Times

Dancing to the Beat of a Hard History
By: Vivian Ewing
The Vineyard Gazette

Choreographer Camille Brown explores black women’s identity in two performances
MV Times

Camille A. Brown Dance Company performs tonight at the Ford Center
By: Sarah Smith
The DM Online

Students ‘battle’ in dance
By: R. Michael Semple
Tribune Chronicle

Choreographer Camille A. Brown: The Body Speaks
By: Latoya Cross

Choreographer Camille A. Brown asks: ‘What is so uncomfortable about a black girl playing?’
By: Nim Wunnan
Organ Arts Watch

BWW Dance Review: BLACK GIRL: Linguistic Play
By: Jennifer Fried

Review: Mourning in Tap Shoes at Jacob’s Pillow
By: Siobhan Burke
New York Times

Camille A. Brown: A Choreographer Hitting Her Stride
By: Darralynn Hutson
Black Enterprise

Where Hamilton Meets Princess Grace: Prince Albert Honors Stars Leslie Odom Jr. and Camille A. Brown
By: Sara Hammel
People Magazine

How Camille A. Brown Uses Theater to Capture Black Girl Joy
By: Brianna Patterson
The Culture: For Harriet

Jacob’s Pillow Dance to Honor Camille A. Brown
By: Joshua Barone
New York Times

Dance review: ‘Black Girl’ profound and moving
By: Susan L. Pena
Reading Eagle

RACC’s Miller Center Presents Dancer and Choreographer Camille A. Brown

Multistyled Choreographer Camille A. Brown Makes Miami Debut with BLACK GIRL: Linguistic Play
By: Catherine Hollingsworth
Miami New Times

We inspire marginalized young women to express black girlhood
By: Thelma Campbell
Miami Herald

Students Rediscover Roots Through African Dance, Expression
By: Marybel Rodriguez
CBS Miami

Dance work in Miami shows a new vision of African-American girls
By: Jordan Levin
Miami Herald

Aisle View: ‘Honey in the Honeycomb’
By: Steven Suskin
Huffington Post

‘BLACK GIRL: Linguistic Play’ explores why Black lives matter
By: Gillian Jakab
The Michigan Daily

Cabin in the Sky Review: jazzy, corny all-black musical restored at City Center
By: Jonathan Mandell
DC Theaterscene

Camille A. Brown

By: Caryn Cooper

Unleashing the Rhythms of Childhood
By: Katherine Bergstrom
Point of Contact

Camille A. Brown’s BLACK GIRL: Linguistic Play presented at The Joyce Theater
By: Theresa Ruth Howard
My Body My Image

A Mirror in the Sky: Camille A. Brown’s Black Girl: Linguistic Play
By: Aimee Cox
The Feminist Wire

Review: In a New Work, Camille A. Brown Plays with Empowerment
By: Gia Kourlas
New York Times

A Dance Dedicated to the Lives of Black Girls
By: Lauren Kay
Theatre Development Fund

Camille A. Brown & Dancers: BLACK GIRL
By: Eva Yaa Asantewaa
Time Out NY

‘Mr. TOL E. RAncE’ brings it all
By: Susan Broili
The Herald Sun

Music, story-telling drive look at race and tolerance
By: Susan Broili
The Herald Sun

Camille A. Brown’s Gripping Dance of Racial Stereotypes
By: Nim Wunnan
Oregon Arts Watch

A Dance for Tolerance
By: Jenna Lechner
The Portland Mercury

Finding the Power – IABD
By: Charmaine Warren
Dance Magazine

PHILADANCO’s “New Faces” mixes old and new faces
By: Lewis Whittington
Edge Media Network

Alvin Ailey takes a step back in time
Daily News

With faith and talent, young choreographer Camille A. Brown is making all the right moves
By: Robert Johnson
Star Ledger Entertainment

Video Interviews



Camille A. Brown


Camille A. Brown and Dancers Repertory


Camille A. Brown Theater Choreography


Engagement with Camille A. Brown