After the success of the Tony-winning revival of Once On This Island, Camille A. Brown is back on Broadway as choreographer of Tarell Alvin McCraney's acclaimed new play Choir Boy.
The Dram Desk, OCC, and Chita Rivera Award nominee is having a moment right now. You may have recently seen her choreography on TV's Jesus Christ Superstar Live! or John Legend's NBC New Year's Eve performance or onstage in This Ain't No Disco, Bella, The Wiz at The Muny, or ink—the final installment of Brown’s dance trilogy about identity, which makes its NYC debut at The Joyce Theatre from February 5-10.
BroadwayBox caught up with Camille A. Brown to discuss why Choir Boy feels so powerful, not being creatively pigeonholed, and making the leap to director/choreographer.
1. How does your process begin when taking on a new work, and how is it different for a stage piece like Choir Boy and Once On This Island than it is for when you create something like ink for your dance company?
It's interesting because when you're walking into a theatre piece you have your book and you have the music; but for dance, I'm actually creating the book in a sense, so it's a little more tedious and more exploratory, in terms of the movement language for the show. Because even though I have my own choreographic voice, I also think it's important for me every time I do a new work to find a very specific movement language for that piece. I always try to push myself.
It's definitely scarier when I'm building my own shows, just because it's coming from a place of the unknown. For instance, with ink, I definitely know that I want to talk about black people's narratives, but that can be anything—that can be 1,000 hours—so it's really about narrowing it down.