Wednesday, February 6, 2019

Camille A. Brown's superheroes write their names in "ink"

Maleek Washington and Timothy Edwards
performing ink by Camille A. Brown
(photos: Christopher Dugan)


ink
Camille A. Brown & Dancers
The Joyce Theater
February 5-10

Do not trifle with Camille A. Brown. The woman knows her mind, and her secure creative imprint has been felt, now, not only on dance stages but on television and Broadway. Ask her a question--as folks did during her audience dialogue at The Joyce's opening night for ink--and, without any hesitation, you get Direct Camille. Her movement might appear, to some, a chain of several interlocking dance genres, but it is not thoughtlessly or simplistically so. Nor can we shove it under a safe, defining label. What to call what she crafts in her work? "It's me," Brown says.

ink exemplifies that. For about 75 uninterrupted minutes, it energizes the Joyce stage under two weathered-looking billboards of collaged images designed by David L. Arsenault. There's the startling thwack of percussion that opens the evening, and a typically atypical solo for Brown whose raptor-like power, adept control of physical isolations and ability to adapt her shape to handle any environment or condition are markers for the intricacies of Black intelligence and creativity, skills for surviving and thriving under duress.

Above: Camille A. Brown's opening solo
Below: Catherine Foster
(photos: Christopher Duggan)

And then comes the spill of movement from her six dancer/collaborators, accented with gestures that have come to bear private meaning, a language accumulating maturity from one dance to the next. It is this precious, complex language, she might say, that gives her people--my people--a fighting chance to stay alive. With movement drawn from the Black diaspora--traditional, contemporary and invented--this artist clears room to write her manifesto across the air, rewriting the lies of so-called history, the stereotypes and limitations thrown on Black bodies and Black culture. Following the previous works of Brown's trilogy--Bessie-winning Mr. TOL E. RAncE and the Bessie-nominated BLACK GIRL: Linguistic Play--ink uses solos and duets to expand the way we think about Black possibility, especially as it relates to gender and how people exist with one another.

Juel D. Lane (left) with Beatrice Capote in ink
(photo: Christopher Duggan)

With no boxes around the way souls and bodies are "supposed" to behave and respond to life, there is freedom, and there is caring where division, competition and violence might have been expected. The trilogy ends with an embodied wish for our future, a lesson in what we will need to get there.

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Director/Choreographer: Camille A. Brown in collaboration with the dancers

Dancers: Beatrice Capote, Timothy Edwards, Catherine Foster, Juel D. Lane, Yusha-Marie Sorzano, Maleek Washington and Camille A. Brown

Music Director: Allison Miller

Musicians: Juliette Jones, Allison Miller, Scott Patterson, Wilson R. Torres

Dramaturgs: Daniel Banks, Kamilah Forbes, Talvin Wilks

Lighting and Scenic Design: David L. Arsenault

Sound Design: Justin Ellington

Costume Designer: Mayte Natalio

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ink continues at The Joyce through Sunday, February 10. Hurry and click for schedule information and tickets!

MAP/DIRECTIONS

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DISCLAIMER: In addition to my work on InfiniteBody, I serve as Senior Curatorial Director of Gibney. The postings on this site are my own and do not necessarily reflect the views, strategies or opinions of Gibney.

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