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BWW Dance Review: BLACK GIRL: Linguistic Play


BWW Reviews: BRIC Celebrate Brooklyn! Presents BLACK GIRL: Linguistic Play

By Jennifer Fried

BRIC Celebrate Brooklyn! offered New Yorkers a free evening of empowering music and dance at the Prospect Park Bandshell on July 21st 2016. The program began with Brandee Younger's glistening jazzy harp music following the traditions of Dorothy Ashby and Alice Coltrane. Younger's mellow jazzy music scintillated throughout the park as she played original compositions and covers of Coltrane and Ashby.

Next, Camille A. Brown's BLACK GIRL: Linguistic Play stormed the stage. The work took the audience on a journey depicting the maturation of a black woman as she finds self-empowerment in dance.

A sassy, fierce and at times playfully snarky step dance number opened the evening. Beyond the fantastically frantic yet impeccably clear steps, particularly eye catching was the magnetic chemistry between the two dancers on stage. The duet seemed to challenge and push each other into self-growth, through both friendship and at times rivalry. Brown boldly put on stage an intricate style that, audiences rarely have the opportunity to enjoy. Brown commented at the end of the show that the piece was meant to commemorate the bliss her mother and aunt experienced dancing together, which she certainly achieved.

Following, in order to capture the more mature teenage black women, was a sultry, spirited 70's style number. Within this section, Brown seemed to explore the over sexualization of black women by the media and popular culture. Once again, relationship between the dancers on stage continued to be the center of the piece.

The final scene contained two dancers, executing smooth, modern inspired movement in order to capture the confusing passage of developing into a confident young woman. The most visceral moment of the piece presented an older working professional woman covering the young adult woman with white chalk. The challenge of whether to conform to the dominant white culture or remain true to her upbringing within a dynamic and caried black culture felt raw. Brown presented on stage such a dynamic and diverse selections of movement that the audience desperately wants to see the woman remain true to such a precious culture.

Brown accomplished what few contemporary choreographers can: a vigorous, unique and universal story of identity development of a black woman from childhood to adulthood. The dance styles allow her characters to find their community, their history, and most importantly themselves. Beyond a narrative, the piece serves as a historical lesson for the younger generation on the diversity of steps and the importance of street dance for the black community: whether modern, African-inspired or step dance. In a time when many seem to be rejecting diversity, Brown's work demonstrates the power of art in creating and celebrating the melting pot of American culture.

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From This Author Jennifer Fried

Jennifer Fried originally from Northern California received her BA in Classical Languages and Literature in 2012 from New York University. After attending New York University (read more...)