Performing Arts: Dance
February 16, 2019
Camille A. Brown is stunning storyteller, and “ink,” her last installment of a trilogy on identity and the African diaspora, clearly resonated with the unequivocally diverse audience that embraced her work on opening night. The luxury of time, and the incalculable value of collaborating with other artists (both dancers and musicians) over a period of two years, showed how dance, shaped by excellent minds and bodies, can convey complex ideas while remaining legible and accessible to viewers with different levels of experience. Her dances, while deriving from very personal and unique narratives, somehow seem to speak to everyone.

Brown demystifies her work on two levels: the program provides much information on her process, and a Dialogue between the artists and audience after the dancing is part of the show. But what is most exciting is the legibility of the dancing itself, a dazzling fusion of everyday movement and vernacular interactions and gestures, with more “formal” dance moves taken from tap, jazz, hip hop, modern, African, and African American social dances. She seamlessly integrates every element, with the musician/collaborators sitting centerstage.

Two large billboard-like collages hung on either side of the stage, with several portraits emerging from a clutter of colorful asymmetrical shapes, in a lighting and scenic design by David L. Arsenault that complemented the fusion of dancing below.

Brown herself danced the first solo, Culture Codes, where she sat on a chair and danced for a while from the waist up: her stylized gestures evoked everything from wringing out laundry to painful bondage; she was also playful, sassy, and direct; at one point, she broke into a frantic football run, fists clenched. Every dancer was unique and compelling: Beatrice Capote, Timothy Edwards, Catherine Foster, Juel D. Lane, Yusha-Marie Sorzano, and Maleek Washington. Their bodies moved, shook, bounced, flew and were played as percussion, in a dizzying and satisfying series of human exchanges and situations. We saw beauty, friendship, sexiness, distress, tenderness, playful competition, and a myriad of other granular moments, each full of significance to the dancers, and to us.
EYE ON THE ARTS, NY -- Nicole Duffy Robertson

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