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DANCE – Camille A. Brown & Dancers’ BLACK GIRL: Linguistic Play – World Premiere Engagement – Review

We want to acknowledge the world-class compositions of composers Scott Patterson (piano)

and Tracy Wormworth (electric bass) and the amazing post-performance dialogues.


We Highly Recommend this performance.


We are all the sum total of our life experiences.

Ntzoake Shange, playwright of For Colored Girls, once remarked that , with every person she writes, she hopes to include all of their life experiences as they feel it: You live your present, you feel your past, you are your future.


BLACK GIRL: LINGUISTIC PLAY shows the survival of tradition but it also serves as a portrait of perfection.


Camille A Brown herself opens the piece as a young girl in continuous movement at play with her best friend. The young girl remains in time with the pace of the games her generation plays, in sync with the steps of the world she sees and in harmony with her psyche.


The early games and dances of steps and double Dutch allow a precision and joy that palpably mirror a young girl’s vision of her conquering the world — the attitude of the power and resilience of youth and a young girl whose primary mission is hitting her mark with speed and fly precision with her cronies. In her games and perfection, she is at peace with her world.

She communes with her ancestral spirits and steps out into the world commandingly


The next section features older girls, at first in sync and then diverging. The onset of

puberty has them preening at first with discovery, but then the shadow of the awesomeness

of the new bodies also begets a disconnect, their joy in seeing themselves also incites the

welcome and unwelcome gaze of others. Girls don’t all mature at the same time so the joys

of watching tv together in youth does not last. There is an otherness. Sometimes within

themselves. A divided psyche, perhaps something sadder- more dangerous, more vulnerable.


A portrait, perhaps of innocence lost. The encroaching maturity of adolescence can be an

alienating place. Even among best buddies, sometimes the noise of games enters the world

of isolation or loneliness. Even your childhood friends, even your childhood deserts you.

An unmediated life perhaps, not always in sync, sometimes raw like graffiti beyond chalk expressions.


The third piece has multitudinous meanings and subtexts– all of them fascinating to a viewer. The world viewed has two young women of a later age- definitely post adolescent.

Here the immigrant of youth encounters full womanhood. There are ways in which sheer description does not do justice to the art of this section of the dance.


And, oh, it is a dance. Can the young woman leaving behind adolescence accept the woman she will become? Can the woman she will become help the young girl inside her walk away from the final stages of immaturity, of childhood itself?


The choreographer Camille Brown herself describes this section as a story of two women – a child and a mother braiding her child’s hair and teaching her how to fly.


In the post-performance discussion, Camille also embraced an audience member’s description of the section as the courtship and relationship of a lesbian couple as equally valid. To me, it appeared as a woman accepting herself and her misgivings and young enthusiasms and hesitations as a young child, patiently understanding that she would grow up and be whole.

Unity/ Schism/ Reunion: The dance reveals The psyche of a girl’s life from girlhood, through adolescence, to full womanhood.


There is a clear universality to the movement, yet the symbolism of the opening and the call and response clearly alludes to the African American or Latina American tradition. But now Double Dutch is played by the Japanese as well, so the cultural motifs resound and play themselves.


In many ways, the project reveals the journey of choreographer Camille A Brown as she uses many dancers to portray the many aspects of her life.


She calls out to us:

Speak for those who are voiceless. Celebrate Triumph for the ancestors. Embrace Womanhood.


Commencing with the world premiere of Bessie and Doris Duke award-winning choreographer Camille A. Brown’s BLACK GIRL: Linguistic Play at New York’s Joyce Theater, the company will also tour to 10 venues and
cities across the nation, including Chicago, Los Angeles, and Miami.

Performances will feature original live music by composers Scott Patterson (piano) and Tracy Wormworth
(electric bass), and a moderated dialogue with audiences around the cultural and universal
themes presented by the Company’s repertory.  Mark Anthony Neal and dream hampton
were among the moderators for the Joyce Theater.

The season will also include various residencies, Black Girl Spectrum workshops and panel discussions.

Camille A. Brown’s BLACK GIRL: Linguistic Play draws from dance, music, and hand game
traditions of West and Sub-Saharan African cultures as filtered through generations of the
African-American experience. The result is a depiction of the complexities in carving out
a positive identity as a Black female in today’s urban America. The core of this multimedia
work is a unique blend of body percussion, rhythmic play, gesture, and self-expression that
creates its own lexicon.

This work is heavily inspired by Brown’s own experiences
and influenced by: Shapeshifters: Black Girls and the Choreography of Citizenship by Dr.
Aimee Meredith Cox and The Games Black Girls Play: Learning the Ropes from Double Dutch
to Hip hop by Dr. Kyra Gaunt.

Kyra Gaunt’s book, The Games Black Girls Play, inspired the concept for the work. The word
“play” immediately shot out. I started thinking about my childhood and the many games
I used to play—Double Dutch, Red light, Green light, Marco Polo—and how it was hard
for me to find narratives within the media that showcased Black girls being just that: girls.
This instantly resonated and became personal. Who was I before the world defined me?
What are the unspoken languages within Black girl culture that are multi-dimensional and
have been appropriated and compartmentalized by others? What are the dimensions of
Black girl joy that cannot be boxed into a smile or a grimace, but demonstrated in a head tilt,
lip smack, hand gesture, and more?
BLACK GIRL: Linguistic Play showcases and elevates the rhythms and gestures of childhood
play, highlights the musical complexity and composition, and claims them as art. It shows the
power of sisterhood and the fact that, as we mature, Black girls still play. It is remembering,
conjuring, honoring, and healing. It’s a Black girl’s story through her gaze. This work is a gift
to myself and Black girls everywhere.


September 22-27, 2015 – New York
The Joyce Theater
• Performances September 22-23, 7:30 p.m., 24-26, 8:00 p.m., 27, 2:00 p.m.
• World Premiere BLACK GIRL: Linguistic Play
• Youth Night September 25, and Celebration of Black Women September 26
October 20-24, 2015 – College Park, MD
The Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center, Kay Theatre The Clarice
• Performance October 23, 8:00 p.m.
• University master classes, workshops, lectures
November 2-8, 2015 – Chicago
Columbia College, Dance Center
• Black Girl Spectrum workshop (October 7-9) with Dance Center and Global Girls
• Performances November5 -7, 7:30 p.m.
• University master classes, workshops, lectures
• Black Girl Spectrum workshop with Red Clay Dance
November 13-15, 2015 – Cleveland, OH
Playhouse Square – Hanna Theatre, DANCECleveland
• Performance November 14, 8:00 p.m.
• University master class
December 2 -6, 2015 – Los Angeles
• Performances December 3-5, 8:30 p.m., December 6, 3:00 p.m.
• Community master classes and workshops
January 17: The Gathering,

Camille A. Brown’s annual open forum for intergenerational
black female artists to support one another and to advocate for greater cultural equity and
acknowledgement in the contemporary dance world

January 18*24, 2016 – Notre Dame, IN
DeBartolo Center – University of Notre Dame
• Performances  January 21-22, 7:00 p.m., January 23, 7:30 p.m.
• Black Girl Spectrum workshops
January 27-30, 2016 – Huntingdon, PA
Juniata College
• Performance  January 29, 7:30 p.m.
• Community master classes and workshops
February 10-14, 2016 – Ann Arbor, MI
University Musical Society – University of Michigan
• Performance  February 13, 8:00 p.m.
• Community master classes and workshops
• University master classes
February 15-21, 2016 – Miami
MDC Live Arts Lehman Theater – Miami Dade College
• Performance February 20, 8:00 p.m.
• Black Girl Spectrum workshops
• University master classes
February 26-28, 2016 – Reading, PA
Miller Center for the Arts – Reading Area Community College
• Performance February 27, 7:30 p.m.
• Community master classes and workshop
• University master classes
April 11-16, 2016 – Tempe, AZ
ASU Gammage
• Residency (March 20-23) in local women’s prison
• Performance April 16, 7:00 p.m.

The Joyce Theater Foundation, in association with Camille A. Brown & Dancers, presents

Artistic Director
Camille A. Brown

Beatrice Capote, Catherine Foster, Fana Fraser, Mora-Amina Parker,
Yusha-Marie Sorzano and Camille A. Brown

Scott Patterson
Composer/Electric Bassist
Tracy Wormworth


Directed and Choreographed by: Camille A. Brown,
in collaboration with the women of CABD
Music: Original compositions
“Back in the day,” “All Grownt up,” and “Beautiful memories” by Scott Paterson;
“Jump!,” “She Fast,” and “Tender” by Tracy Wormworth
Rendition of “Everything in its right place” by Radiohead
Dramaturges: Daniel Banks, Kamilah Forbes, and Talvin Wilks
Lighting Design: Burke Wilmore
Sound Design: Sam Crawford
Set Design: Elizabeth C. Nelson
Costume Design Contributors: Zulema Griffin, Carolyn Meckha Cherry,
Mayte Natalio, and Catherine Foster

The creation and presentation of BLACK GIRL: Linguistic Play is supported by the New England Foundation for the Arts’ National Dance Project with lead funding 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 and the National Endowment for the Arts. Major support for this new work also comes from
the MAP Fund, primarily supported by the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation with additional funds from
The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation; Engaging Dance Audiences administered by Dance/USA and made possible with
generous funding from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation; a Jerome Foundation 50th Anniversary Grant;
New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature; Harkness Foundation for Dance, and a 2014 New York City Center Choreography Fellowship.

This work was commissioned by DANCECleveland through a 2014 Joyce Award from the Joyce Foundation, The
Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center at The University of Maryland, Juniata Presents and Juniata College. It was
developed, in part, during a residency at Baryshnikov Arts Center, New York, NY awarded through the Princess Grace Foundation–USA Works in Progress residency program; a creative residency at The Yard, The Flynn Center, and the Wesleyan Center for the Arts; a technical residency at Juniata College in Huntington, PA; a residency at New York City Center; and a residency at Newcomb Dance Program, Tulane University Department of Theatre and Dance.

BLACK GIRL: Linguistic Play was supported by a technical production residency provided by The Joyce Theater with funding from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

The Dialogue
The program continues with a moderated dialogue, allowing audiences
to engage with the artists on stage, discover more about the creative process,
and explore themes within the work.


CAMILLE A. BROWN (Artistic Director) is recognized for her daring yet introspective
approach to cultural themes through masterful storytelling and political dialogues. She
is a 2015 Doris Duke Artist Award Recipient, 2015 TED Fellow, 2014 Bessie Award Winner
for “Outstanding Production” (Mr. TOL E. RAncE), two-time Princess Grace Award Winner
(Choreography & Works in Progress Residency), two-time recipient of NEFA’s National Dance
Project: Production Grant, 2015 MAP Fund Grantee, 2015 Engaging Dance Audiences Grant
Recipient, 2014 Joyce Award recipient with DANCECleveland, a Jerome Foundation 50th
Anniversary Grantee, and a 2014 New York City Center Choreography Fellow.
Her theater credits include the Broadway revival of A Streetcar Named Desire (2012), Fortress
of Solitude (The Public Theater, Lucille Lortel Award Nominee for Choreography), Stagger
Lee (DTC), Katori Hall’s BLOOD QUILT (Arena Stage), Jonathan Larson’s tick, tick…BOOM! (City
Center’s Encores!) starring Lin-Manuel Miranda, Shakespeare’s The Winter’s Tale (Regional),
Marcus Gardley’s The BOX: A Black Comedy, and GALOIS at the New Ohio Theatre. She has
created works for Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, Philadanco!, Complexions, Urban
Bush Women, Ballet Memphis and Hubbard Street II. Camille danced with Ronald K. Brown/
Evidence from 2001 to 2007 and was a guest with Rennie Harris/ Puremovement, and a guest
artist for The Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater in her work, The Groove to Nobody’s Business,
set for the Company during its 2008 season and Judith Jamison’s Celebration in 2011.
In 2014, Camille founded two initiatives: The Gathering, an annual open forum for
intergenerational Black female artists to advocate for greater cultural equity and
acknowledgement in the contemporary dance world; and BLACK GIRL SPECTRUM, a multifaceted community engagement initiative that seeks to amplify the cultural and creative
empowerment of Black girls and women through dance, dialogue, and popular education
tools. This past summer, Camille co-directed The School of Jacob’s Pillow’s new program,
Social Dances: Jazz to Hip Hop, with Moncell Durden. Camille was featured on the cover of the
2015 August edition of Dance Teacher Magazine.
BEATRICE CAPOTE (Dancer) started at The Alvin Ailey School and graduated from University
of North Carolina School of the Arts and Montclair State University. She has performed
with companies and choreographers such as INSPIRIT, a dance company; Maverick Dance
Experience; The Wells Performance Project; Areytos Performance Works; Earl Mosley; Matthew
Rushing; Antonio Brown; and Kyle Abraham/Abraham.In.Motion. Capote has choreographed
and performed her solo work in various venues such as, WestFest Dance Festival, Bronx
Academy of Arts and Dance (BAAD), Pregones Theatre and more. She is currently on faculty
at The Alvin Ailey School, Joffrey Ballet School, and Montclair State University. Capote is
thrilled to be working with Camille A. Brown & Dancers.
CATHERINE FOSTER (Dancer and Costume Design Contributor) is from Washington, DC.
She trained with DC Youth Ensemble (DCYE), Baltimore School for the Arts, and Alvin Ailey
American Dance Center. Awards include National Arts Recognition (second place), and she is
a recipient of the Astaire Award for Best Broadway Female Ensemble. Catherine has worked
with and performed the works of noted choreographers/companies, including Kevin “Iega”
Jeff, Hinton Battle, Darrell Grand Moultrie, The Fred Benjamin Dance Company, Forces of
Nature, and Camille A. Brown & Dancers. She has worked with recording artists Alicia Keys,
The Roots, Jazmine Sullivan, and Angelique Kidjo. Catherine appeared on Broadway and in
the touring company of FELA! (original cast), produced by Jay Z and Will Smith. Catherine
thanks her ancestors and loved ones for contributing to her success and for their guidance.
CamilleBrown-DraftB.indd 6 9/2/2015 10:39:17 AM
FANA FRASER (Dancer), born and raised in Trinidad and Tobago, began her dance training
at Caribbean School of Dancing. She is an honors graduate of the Ailey/Fordham BFA Dance
program and has performed with Ailey II, Sidra Bell Dance NY, The Francesca Harper Project,
Oui Danse, and The Metropolitan Opera. Fana has also worked as a rehearsal assistant for
Darrell Grand Moultrie, with Andrea Miller in the Hermès All About Women 2014 New York
production, and in collaboration with Ryan McNamara for Performa 13 and Art Basel Miami
2014. Fana has been working with Camille A. Brown & Dancers since 2013.
MORA-AMINA PARKER (Dancer) hails from San Francisco, CA, where she began her training
with the San Francisco School of the Arts and Savage Jazz Dance Company. During her
career, she has danced with Dallas Black Dance Theater and PHILADANCO!. Career highlights
include performing principle roles in ballets by Alonzo King, Ronald K. Brown, Donald Byrd,
and Talley Beatty. In addition to nurturing her dance career, Mora is also a classically trained
Pilates instructor. She has had the pleasure of working with Camille A. Brown & Dancers for
six years.
YUSHA-MARIE SORZANO (Dancer), originally from Trinidad, received her primary
instruction from New World School of the Arts, Thomas Armour Youth Ballet, and The Dance
Theater of Harlem. A graduate of the Ailey/Fordham BFA Program, she went on to join Ailey II,
Complexions Contemporary Ballet, The Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, Morphoses, TU
Dance, and BODYTRAFFIC. Additionally, she has performed as a guest artist with Benjamin
Millipied’s LA Dance Project. Yusha-Marie has performed in principle roles with the Ailey
Company and in a wide variety of concert works, including work by noted choreographers
Ulysses Dove, Hofesh Shechter, and Kyle Abraham. This is Yusha-Marie’s first year with
Camille A. Brown & Dancers.
SCOTT PATTERSON (Composer/Pianist) is a contributing composer and the pianist/
performer of the Bessie Award-winning, Mr. TOL E. RAncE (2013). Pittsburgh Tribune-Review
describes Patterson’s playing as, “a masterly blend of virtuosity, singing style and beautiful
voicing.” His blend of classical, soul and rock music is futuristic, emotive and luxuriant.
Patterson is co-founder and Artistic Director of Afro House, a music driven performance art
house committed to the development of a music culture that is disruptive, innovative, and
transformative. Patterson’s sci-fi musical, Ebon Kojo: The Last Tribe, will premiere at the Charm
City Fringe Festival this November in Baltimore, MD!
TRACY WORMWORTH (Composer/Electric Bassist) is a world renowned bassist in the music
and television industry. Her touring and recording experience includes work with Roberta
Flack, Phyllis Hyman, Sting, Joan Osborne, The B-52s, Cyndi Lauper, Rachelle Farrell, jazz
greats Wayne Shorter and Regina Carter, and others. Tracy was a member of “The Rosie
O’Donnell Show” band, where she accompanied everyone from Mary J. Blige to Liza Minelli.
Television credits include “The Conan O’Brien Show,” “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno,” “Late
Night with Craig Kilborn,” “The Arsenio Hall Show,” “The Today Show,” and “Saturday Night
Live.” Tracy thanks her husband, David Washington and her family.


September 4, 2015 - Posted by | ART, CULTURE, ENTREPRENEURS, LIFESTYLES, Music, opportunity, Uncategorized, We Recommend | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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