Pamela Young, DANCECleveland Executive Director
Developmental Residency with Camille A. Brown at the Women’s
Reintegration Center in Cleveland, OH
“As a dance-only presenter, it is always thrilling for me to meet dance makers, like Camille A. Brown, who possess a fresh new voice and perspective in dance and to begin a longer-term relationship to support both the creation of new work and the artist as well. DANCECleveland was pleased to be able to secure funding from a Joyce Award to commission Camille’s new work, but our interest went far beyond just providing funding. Working with Camille, we mapped out a process that would support her creative inquiry and research on the ground in Cleveland while at the same time create a community of women to surround the creation of this new work.
As part of Camille’s research process, we set up a series of interviews with African-American ‘elders’ and their mothers, college students and incarcerated women. The meetings turned into deeply meaningful dialogues, story-telling and sharing and an elevated fascination with dance.
Camille and her dancers returned again in January to perform an excerpt of BLACK GIRL: Linguistic Play at the IABD conference where her new ‘community’ was present to cheer her on and then meet with the Company to share their thoughts about the work. The next day Camille, dancers and musicians went back to the Prison to perform the work. The women were moved, overwhelmed and excited to see what had been created. The women all stayed to discuss their reactions and again, share their enthusiasm for this wonderful young dance maker.”
Bianca Van Heydoorn
Director of Educational Initiatives at the Prisoner Reentry Institute of
John Jay College
“By design, prisons are places where human beings are isolated. Places
where self-reflection and transformative dialogue most certainly occur, but
rarely travel beyond the walls of the institution. Camille A. Brown’s
initiative, Black Girl Spectrum, presents an exciting opportunity to have
transformative conversations through movement and the power to serve as a
conduit for the voices of people in prison—voices that are too often left
out of our conversations about empowerment and community building.”
The women of Journey Home- Estrella Jail
A program supported and funded by ASU Gammage. Special thanks to Teniqua Broughton, Michael Reed, and the staff at ASU Gammage and Estrella Jail.
What I Am Not
“Why must the world judge.
My nation is divisible.
White noise- upper hand.
No false words will I be choken.
I am not ignorant.
I am not ugly.
I am not this woman in stripes.
I am not hateful.
I am not who you remember me to be.
I am not crazy.
I am not a bad mother.
I am not a bad wife.
I am not a failure.
I am not a doormat.
I am 6 months clean. That’s my truth and that’s my fact.
I am loved by my own family.
I have become functional.
Be all that I can be for myself.
I have crossed over the line.
I am not a slave.
I am making what I am with who I am.
I am more than stripes.
I see beyond the faults.
I am very much beauty.
We are mothers.
We are daughters.
We are sisters.”