Camille A. Brown’s Inspirational Moves and Message
Camille A. Brown & Dancers mesmerized audiences and schoolchildren across Southeast Michigan during their January residency.
From workshops in K-12 schools to community dance events, a sold-out School Day Performance, and the UMS debut of their powerful work, ink, here are seven of our favorite moments:
1. Teaching Artist Workshops
UMS Teaching Artists worked with Scarlett Middle School students and other local schools to learn about Camille Brown’s unique choreography and movement, in preparation for their upcoming School Day Performance. To bring the lesson full circle, Teaching Artists returned to each school to lead post-performance workshops.
2. Learning History through Dance
Company member Catherine Foster led a Community Movement Workshop in Detroit’s Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History, taking participants on a journey of dance history. From a call-and-response warm-up to the “Lindy Hop”, swipe through our Instagram post to watch the class unfold!
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3. Master Class at U-M
While on campus, company member Juel D. Lane led a creative and thought-provoking master class with University of Michigan dance students.
4. A Cool School Day Performance
More than 1,200 K-12 students from 13 area schools (including every Scarlett Middle School student) arrived at the Power Center for a sold-out School Day Performance. The Company’s mix of cool moves, hip-hop, rhythm, and visual storytelling drew countless oohs and aahs from the young crowd!
5. A Special Q & A
After the performance, students from Scarlett Middle School met with the company. Camille shared how she found the power to express her voice through dance. She encouraged students to be resilient and stay close to their community of support, especially in the face of criticism, remarking, “If you don’t believe in who you are and what you’re doing, who will?”
6. You Can Dance!
Camille A. Brown & Dancers company members Timothy L. Edwards and Maleek Washington invited local dancers of all ages and levels to explore movement with them at the Ann Arbor Y.
7. A Poignant Closing
“Energizing, thought-provoking, and simply beautiful” is how one audience member shared his appreciation for ink, the final installation of the company’s trilogy of stories of Black identity. Explosive choreography and the rhythmic interplay between the musicians and dancers left Saturday night’s audience enthralled and wanting more.
A lively Q & A after the performance shed light on the symbolism and meaning behind the theatrical choreography — all intended to expand the narrative of hopes, dreams, relationships, and community beyond entrenched stereotypes.
Our sincerest appreciation to Camille A. Brown & Dancers for a beautiful week of movement and creative inspiration. Follow @CamilleABrown on Instagram to keep up with the company’s work on and off the stage on Instagram.
21st Century Intern Travelogue: Kandis Terry
“My summer experience as one of four UMS interns is one that I cannot put into words. This opportunity not only gave me the chance to grow as a student, but also gave me every tool I didn’t know I needed to heal as an artist.”
Kandis Terry spent the summer of 2018 in New York City with Camille A. Brown & Dancers (CABD) as part of her 21st Century Internship — a program in collaboration with UMS and the University of Michigan School of Music, Theatre & Dance.
The best part of my time as a 21st Century Intern was that I was able to surround myself with all types of artists from diverse cultures and ancestral backgrounds. I realize that I have a voice and that my quality of movement matters. I saw the possibilities and wonders that artistic “creation”—specifically that of Black Women—can do. Through Camille’s artistry and leadership, and with her unique administrative team, I have been able to make many new professional connections and forge relationships. Here are two of my favorite experiences from my summer:
Dance/USA Annual Conference
One of the most memorable experiences from my internship was attending the extraordinary Dance/USA annual conference in Los Angeles. There I engaged in a delightful conversation with leaders representing many demographics about social stature, gender, and race within movement and culture—in particular, Black men, women, boys, and girls. Although these topics are not always given the spotlight or recognition in what is known today as a common and adequate professionalism in the art of dance, Camille’s work gives voice to social issues that have been presumably swept under the rug for a long time.
Gibney Dance Center Educational Panel
Much of my time in New York was surrounded around mental health awareness. I had the pleasure of working with CABD’s Managing Director Indira Goodwine, whose sense of positive morale and work ethic I really looked up to. She taught me to grow and continue be the best version of myself, or at least strive to be.
On my first day of my internship, I observed her talk as part of a three-member panel at the Gibney Dance Choreographic Center, which represented a perfect balance of poise, eloquence, and artistic measure. Each artist spoke to their unique experiences as a professional dancer up to this point in their respective careers.
Indira was the only woman on panel, and encouraged all of the women in the room to pursue a successful career in the arts profession. She spoke about how incorporating mental wellness in your work field or place environment contributes to one’s success and overall happiness in life, with some wise words on how to conclude each day:
- “We are in charge of what, when, and how we make both sense of and success with the findings we collect from our artistic research.”
- “What you have to offer is more than you know.”
- “Language matters.”
CABD dancer Maleek Washington was also on the panel, and offered great advice to those in attendance:
- Know who you are as a person and who you are as a dancer.
- Instagram gives you instant access to publicity at your fingertips.
- ‘Word of Mouth’ is important.
- Go see shows, take class!
- Put in hard work now.
It was a great way to start my internship! From that point on I knew it was my job and my responsibility to capture and embrace all of the tasks and opportunities presented to me over these next upcoming summer months.
While at U-M, my educational experience has been enriched but challenging. This internship saved me. It showed me that many artists of color struggle with mental wellness. In response and efforts to address this epidemic, we must be resilient and push forward with our talents and passion for creativity.
At times I have felt lost, but my 21st Century Internship experience, in its entirety, was an affirmation for me, and the beginning to my course and journey towards healing and setting new goals.