BLACK GIRL: Linguistic Play


BLACK GIRL: Linguistic Play

BLACK GIRL: Linguistic Play (2015)
RT: 52 minutes
Dancers: 6
Live Accompaniment/Musicians: 2

BLACK GIRL: Linguistic Play reveals the complexity of carving out a self-defined identity as a black female in urban American culture. In a society where black women are often only portrayed in terms of their strength, resiliency, or trauma, this work seeks to interrogate these narratives by representing a nuanced spectrum of black womanhood in a racially and politically charged world.

With original music compositions (live music by pianist, Scott Patterson and electric bassist, Tracy Wormworth), Brown uses the rhythmic play of African-American dance vernacular including social dancing, double dutch, steppin’, tap, Juba, ring shout, and gesture as the black woman’s domain to evoke childhood memories of self-discovery . From play to protest the performers come into their identities, from childhood innocence to girlhood awareness to maturity—all the while shaped by their environments, the bonds of sisterhood, and society at large.

Creative Team
Composers: Scott Patterson & Tracy Wormworth
Dramaturges: Daniel Banks, Kamilah Forbes and Talvin Wilks
Lighting Design: Burke Wilmore
Set Design: Elizabeth C. Nelson

Resources and References: Shapeshifters: Black Girls and the Choreography of Citizenship by Dr. Aimee Meredith Cox, The Games Black Girls Play: Learning the Ropes from Double-dutch to Hip-hop by Dr. Kyra Gaunt, Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland, and Daniel Silberberg’s Wonderland: The Zen of Alice.

The creation and presentation of BLACK GIRL: Linguistic Play is supported by the National Endowment for the Arts in cooperation with the New England Foundation for the Arts though the National Dance Project. Major support for NDP is provided by the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation and The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, with additional support from the Community Connections Fund of the MetLife Foundation.  Support from the NEA provides funding for choreographers in the early stages of their careers. BLACK GIRL: Linguistic Play 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, with additional support from the National Endowment for the Arts.

BLACK GIRL: Linguistic Play was commissioned by DANCECleveland through a 2014 Joyce Award from the Joyce Foundation. BLACK GIRL: Linguistic Play was developed in part during a residency at Baryshnikov Arts Center, New York, NY and awarded through the Princess Grace Foundation – USA Works in Progress residency program. A creative residency for BLACK GIRL: Linguistic Play was also supported by Wesleyan Center for the Arts. BLACK GIRL: Linguistic Play was also developed in part with support from a Jerome Anniversary 50th Anniversary Grant. BLACK GIRL: Linguistic Play was also supported by The MAP Fund, primarily supported by the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation with additional funds from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

Mr. TOL E. RAncE


“The work goes deep into its material and finds humor and beauty and frustration and ugliness and…and… and.”

-Oregon Arts Watch
Mr. TOL E. RAncE

Mr. TOL E. RAncE (2012)
RT: 40:00 minutes
Dancers: 7
Live Accompaniment
Music: “Lorraine’s Rag” and “What A Wonderful World” rendition by Brandon McCune – performed by Scott Patterson “Manipulator” by Jonathan Melville Pratt “KC Winning Game Theme” by Kurt “KC” Clayton “The Overture”, “Showtime”, and “Hattie Mae” by Scott Patterson

“Humor is what you wish in your secret heart were not funny, but it is, and you must laugh. Humor is your own unconscious therapy.”  – Langston Hughes Inspired by Spike Lee’s controversial movie, “Bamboozeled”, and Mel Watkins’ book, On The Real Side: From Slavery to Chris Rock”, Mr. TOL E. RAncE celebrates the humor and perseverance of the black performer and examines stereotypical roles dominating current popular Black culture. Through comedy, live original music, animation, theater, and poignantly retrospective dance vocabulary, Mr. TOL E. RAncE speaks to the issue of tolerance- how much Black performers had to tolerate, and addresses-forms of modern day minstrelsy we tolerate today. It is not a history lesson. Blending and contrasting the contemporary with the historic, this is a personal new work that strives to engage the community in a timely dialogue about where we we have been, where we are and where we might want to be.



“Every aspect of the dance-making here is thoroughly accomplished”

-The New York Times
City of Rain

RT 15:00 minutes
Dancers: 9
Premiere: August 9th, 2010 at The Joyce Theater

Dedicated to Greg ‘Blyes’ Boomer, this work was made possible by The Field Artist Residency

Photo credit: Christopher Duggan



“a tour de force “

– Jennifer Dunning, The New York Times
Good & Grown

GOOD & GROWN (2010)
Choreographed and Performed by Camille A. Brown
Music: Wes Montgomery and Saycon Sengbloh Visual Art: Justin Morris
*This work was made possible by The Field Artist Residency

“One could only describe her as simply breathtaking.”

-Pittsburgh Dance Examiner

“She’s a mistress of the melting gesture that’s betrayed by a storm of little staccato ones.”

-The Village Voice

Photo credit: Christopher Duggan



“A world premiere duet for Brown and Juel D. Lane, “Been There Done That,” reveal Brown’s considerable and effortless humor.”

-The Boston Globe
Been There, Done That

RT 7:00 minutes
Dancers: 2
Premiere: Jacob’s Pillow This work was co-commissioned by Jacob’s Pillow and created in part during a Creative Development Residency with support from the Jacob’s Pillow Dance Award Initiative”

Concept initially created on dance stars Danny Tidwell and Tony nominated dancer, Karine Plantadit, this work tells the struggles of a dancing duo from the 1950/60’s.

“Been There, Done That” showed off Brown’s skill at creating character.”

-Danceview times

Photo credit: Christopher Duggan



“In her new Matchstick…she [Ms. Brown] creates a physical and emotional environment…intriguing and powerful.”

-Eva Yaa Asantewaa (Infinitebody)

RT: 21:00 minutes
Dancers: 4
2 musicians, 1 poet
Music: Brandon McCune and Farai Malianga (live accompaniment)
Premiere: July 2008- Dance Theater Workshop (New York)

Set in the year 1915 (50 years after the Civil War and 50 years before the Civil Rights Movement) in a small room , this work focuses on 4 young black males who have been selected by the elders to be the future leaders of the community. In a time where truth, justice, and peace, are all against them, these men meet, stepping into their leadership and creating the path for change. With poetry written by Dana Gourrier (performed by J. Michael Kinsey), Matchstick explores the conversations between these menthrough bold, earthbound movements.



“Truly possessive of a star quality the room seems to shine brighter because of her light…”

-iDANZ review from Apap 2010

MARY (2009)
RT: 5:00 minutes
Music: Kurt ‘KC’ Clayton Premiere: April 2009- Aaron Davis Hall (New York)

Is dedicated to the memory of her grandmother- Mary Virginia Williams. This dance expresses how blessed she feels to have been given such a wonderful gift in her ‘Grandma’. She will always be with her in spirit- being her special guardian angel.

“There is no undercover talent here as Camille shines like a star on stage. With the use of breath, her movements seem effortless. The lines created on her body are clean and exact, and the theatrical choreography draws me in emotionally and spiritually. Each movement speaks the words of her story. Camille opens the eyes and ears of the audience as she vividly reads us a story about her grandmother through dance. Bravo Camille for a beautiful performance and for waking up the spirit of your grandmother on stage.”

-Careitha Davis (iDANZ)

Photo credit: Steven Schreiber



“2007 should be remembered as the year of The Groove when choreographer Camille A. Brown threw down a worthy challenge”

-Eva Yaa Asantewaa (Dance Magazine)
The Groove to Nobody’s Business

RT: 15:00 minutes
Dancers: 9
Music: Ray Charles and Brandon McCune
Premiere: September 2007- Sadler’s Wells (London, England)

Imagining the meeting of strangers on a subway, Brown’s work (commissioned by Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater) reveals glimpses of humanity in pedestrian movements and ordinary interactions.

“Groove bears all the hallmarks of its creator’s own style in her celebrated years dancing for Ronald K. Brown- bold, quicksilver, detailed, and charming to the max. I can’t wait to see what this dancemaker brings us next.”

-Eva Yaa Asantewaa (Dance Magazine)

Photo credit: Steven Schreiber



“[Camille A. Brown] as an innate ability to emulate the unspoken in the subtle ways she captures and telegraphs vernacular gesture.”

-The Washington Post
The Evolution of a Secured Feminine

RT: 9:00 minutes
Music: Ella Fitzgerald, Betty Carter, Nancy Wilson
Premiere: September 2007- City Center’s Fall for Dance (New York)
Company Premiere: Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater (Dec, 2010)

Choreographed and performed by Brown, “The Evolution…”, is a portrait of a woman, who with taunt gestures and fast footwork bursts into action creating a witty and humorous portrayal of a character in the midst of vacillating between uncertainty and carefree expression. The candid journey becomes a force with no restrictions, while finding joy in the spontaneity of life and celebrating the limitless gift of being a woman. *This work was made possible with generous support from The Fund For New Work and Bam/651 Arts.

“The incomparable Camille A. Brown dances her solo to music by Ella Fitzgerald, Betty Carter and Nancy Wilson…Brown breezed onto the stage, a hat dipped low over her eyes, and launched into ‘The Evolution of a Secured Feminine’. (What a title! But, by the end of this tour de force, you understand it.) It certainly could not be called quiet or small, but it had lots of tiny, vivid treasures, specific, focused movements danced with frightening control and… I adored this dance, and so did the audience who could not get enough of Brown”

-Eva Yaa Asantewaa



“Though grief is given its due, exuberance swells with the music of the Rebirth Brass Band. We’re still here, Brown reminds us, so we might as well dance.”

-The Boston Globe
New Second Line

RT: 10:00 minutes
Dancers: 8-14
Music: Los Hombres Calientes (feat. Kermit Ruffins)
Visual Artist: Moses Ball
Premiere: August 2006 (Washington, D.C.)
Originally Commissioned by: Reflections Dance Company

Inspired by the events of Hurricane Katrina in 2005, this work is a celebration of the spirit and culture of the people of New Orleans. Second Line is a traditional brass band parade for weddings, social events, and most notably, funerals. The people who follow the parade dancing with high energy and spirit are known as the ‘second line’.

“The movement in New Second Line is elastic, springy and big, with collapses to floor that pop right back again, lots of group synchronicity and fun. Everything is so strong and emphatic but also fluid and smooth.”


Photo credit: Christopher Duggan


Camille A. Brown


Camille A. Brown and Dancers Repertory


Camille A. Brown Theater Choreography


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