The choreographer Camille A. Brown has a rare talent – the ability to make you understand a situation or state of mind through dance. And it’s not easy; how many choreographers try to telescope stories or relay messages and either leave you scratching your head or resort to a vocabulary so obvious and didactic it feels like a lecture? Brown triumphs where others fail; she has found that sweet spot, the place where meaning and movement meet. And she does it with humor and warmth.
Her latest piece, ink, is finishing up a run at the Joyce Theater. It is the closing installment in a trilogy about black life in America that began with Mr. TOL E. RAncE (2012) and continued with BLACK GIRL: Linguistic Play (2015). Brown, who has worked in musicals and theatre, has created a show that feels like a series of scenes from the life of people she knows or has known: lovers, friends, people with complicated lives and fears but also bursting with life, playfulness, and joy. All the dancers in the show are African American, as are all but one of the musicians onstage. There is a strong sense that the performers are relating stories they know well.