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The Kennedy Center presents Camille A. Brown & Dancers

By: Nov. 07, 2017
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In her Kennedy Center debut, acclaimed choreographer Camille A. Brown brings two influential works as part of her dance trilogy about culture, race, and identity-BLACK GIRL: Linguistic Play on December 1 and the world premiere Kennedy Center co-commission of ink on December 2-to the Eisenhower stage. Both performed to original live music, each full-evening production celebrates diversity, community, history, and the exploration of finding oneself.

Premiered in 2015 as the second installment of the trilogy, BLACK GIRL: Linguistic Play reveals the complexity of carving out an identity as a Black female in urban American culture. Directed and choreographed B. Brown in collaboration with the women of the company, Brown uses the rhythms of African American dance vernacular, including social dancing, double dutch, steppin', tap, Juba, ring shout, and gesture to evoke childhood memories of self-discovery-everything from play to protest. The work showcases and elevates these rhythms and gestures of childhood play, highlights the musical complexity and composition, and claims them as art.

ink, a world premiere Kennedy Center co-commission, delves into the history of African American gestural language through self-empowerment, Black love, brotherhood, exhaustion and resilience, community, and fellowship. As the final installment of Brown's trilogy (along with Mr. TOL E. RAncE (2012) and BLACK GIRL: Linguistic Play (2015)), the work depicts the pedestrian interactions of individuals and relationships as grounds for accessing one's innate super powers and finding liberation. It examines the culture of Black life that is often appropriated, rewritten, or silenced. Using the rhythms and sounds of traditional African and handmade instruments as its center, the work travels through time with elements of blues, Hip Hop, jazz, and swing along with a fusion of movement of African American social dance, African, tap, jazz, modern, and Hip Hop.

Recognized for its introspective approach to cultural themes through visceral movement and socio-political dialogues, Camille A. Brown & Dancers is known for high theatricality, gutsy movement, and virtuosic musicality. The company's work explores a range of themes with an appreciation of the past and an eye on the present. Making a personal claim on history, Camille A. Brown leads her dancers through excavations of ancestral stories, both timeless and traditional, as well as immediate contemporary issues. The work is strongly character based, expressing each choreographic topic by building from little moments to model a filmic sensibility. Theater, poetry, visual art, and music of all genres merge to inject each performance with energy and urgency.

These performances are also part of the continuing celebration of JFKC: A Centennial Celebration of John F. Kennedy, the Kennedy Center's programming initiative marking the 100th anniversary of John F. Kennedy's birth and legacy. JFKC is inspired by five ideals frequently attributed to America's 35th President: Courage, Freedom, Justice, Service, and Gratitude. Brown's exploration of cultural themes and identity through movement to create dialogue about important issues champion the ideals of courage, freedom, and justice, embodying the spirit of President Kennedy's vision for America.

Funding Credits:

Peak Performances @ Montclair State University (NJ) and The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts are lead commissioners for ink. The presentation of Camille A. Brown's ink was made possible with generous support from LUMBERYARD Contemporary Performing Arts (formerly ADI).

This engagement of Camille A. Brown & Dancers is made possible through ARTSConnect program of Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation with support from the National Endowment of the Arts.

The presentation of ink 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.

Support for JFKC: A Centennial Celebration of John F. Kennedy is provided by

Ambassador Elizabeth Frawley Bagley, Chevron, The Blanche and Irving Laurie Foundation, Northern Trust, and Target.

Tickets start at $19. Tickets can be purchased at the Kennedy Center box office or by calling Instant Charge at (202) 467-4600. Patrons living outside the Washington metropolitan area may dial toll-free at (800) 444-1324. For all other ticket-related customer service inquiries, call the Advance Sales Box Office at (202) 416-8540.


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