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Flatbush between DeKalb and Willoughby
Inspired by Mel Watkins’ book, On The Real Side, Spike Lee’s controversial movie, Bamboozled, and Dave Chappelle’s “dancing vs. shuffling” analogy, this evening-length dance theater work celebrates African-American humor and examines “the mask” of survival and the “double consciousness” (W.E.B. DuBois) of the black performer throughout history and the stereotypical roles dominating current popular Black culture.
Through comedy, animation, theater, soul-stirring live music by Scott Patterson (with original compositions from Jonathan Melville Pratt, Brandon McCune, Kurt “KC” Clayton and Scott Patterson) and poignantly retrospective dance vocabulary, Mr. TOL E. RAncE speaks to the issue of tolerance—how much Black performers had to tolerate—and addresses forms of modern day minstrelsy we tolerate today. It is not a history lesson. Blending and contrasting the contemporary with the historic, the goal of this personal work is to engage, provoke, and move the conversation of race forward in a timely dialogue about where we have been, where we are and where we might want to be.
“The Dialogue” portion of Mr. TOL E. RAncE is a conversation with the performers that gives the audience an opportunity to share their reactions to the work. Past moderators include Michael Eric Dyson, Kamilah Forbes, Stacey Muhammad and Dr. James Peterson.
…the character of the show is much more complex than simply a protest piece…it’s the potent combination of energy, precision, and deeply-researched understanding of the material shown by the troupe that makes the work cross a line into something more personal, making everyone with an empathetic bone in their bodies shift a little in their seats at the ghoulishness behind these caricatures. The work goes deep into its material and finds humor and beauty and frustration and ugliness and…and… and. - Oregon Arts Watch
Click here to see a preview of Mr. TOL E. RAncE.
Click here to see audience reactions from the American Dance Festival.
Click here for an educational reference and resource guide specifically geared to students and their instructors.
Known for high theatricality, gutsy moves and virtuosic musicality, Camille A. Brown & Dancers soar through history like a whirlwind. The company’s work explores typical, real life situations ranging from literal relationships to more complex themes with an eye on the past and present. Making a personal claim on history, through the lens of a modern female perspective, Camille A. Brown leads her dancers through dazzling excavations of ancestral stories, both timeless and traditional, as well as immediate contemporary issues. The work is strongly character based, expressing whatever the topic is by building from little moments, modeling a filmic sensibility. Theater, poetry, visual art and music of all genres merge to inject each performance with energy and urgency.
Camille A. Brown is a prolific choreographer who has achieved multiple accolades and awards for her daring works. Ms. Brown is the 2013 recipient of The International Association of Blacks in Dance Founders Award, winner of the prestigious Princess Grace Award (Choreography), the Mariam McGlone Emerging Choreographer Award (Wesleyan University), and the 2012 City College of New York Women & Culture Award.
Informed by her music background as a clarinetist, she creates choreography that utilizes musical composition as storytelling investigating the silent space within the measure, and filling it with mesmerizing movement.
Camille A. Brown’s choreography and dynamic performances have led her to receive a Bessie nomination for Best Performance in her work, The Evolution of a Secured Feminine, and a Best Choreography nomination from the Black Theater Arts Alliance for her debut work set on the Ailey company, The Groove To Nobody’s Business, and was among the first cohort of fellows for Ailey’s New Directions Choreography Lab.
Dance companies that have commissioned her work are: Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, Philadanco, Urban Bush Women, Complexions, Ailey II, Ballet Memphis, TU Dance, and Hubbard Street II, among others. Camille and her dancers have performed at major dance venues around the country including The Joyce Theater, Bates Dance Festival, Whitebird Dance, and Jacob’s Pillow. Her works have been performed at The Kennedy Center, The Apollo, Brooklyn Academy of Music, Madison Square Garden, and New York City Center. She was the Choreographer for Saverio Palatella’s line, Whole¬garment 3D, for New York Fashion Week in 2008.
A graduate of the LaGuardia High School of the Performing Arts, Ms. Brown earned a B.F.A. from the University of North Carolina School of the Arts. From 2001-2007 she was a member of Ronald K. Brown’s Evidence, A Dance Company, and was a guest artist with Rennie Harris’ Puremovement, and Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater (2008 and 2011).
A career highlight for Camille was being named choreographer for the Broadway revival of A Streetcar Named Desire in 2012, along with the Off-Broadway musical production, Soul Doctor. She also choreographed a production of Pins & Needles in 2011 presented by The Foundry Theater. Ms. Brown recently choreographed William Shakespeare’s The Winter’s Tale for The McCarter Theater in Princeton, NJ, and is the Movement Consultant for an Untitled work in development with poet-playwright Marcus Gardley and The Foundry Theatre. A new musical, Fortress of Solitude, also featuring her choreography, is slated to debut at the Public Theater in 2014.
Jessica Lynne and DéLana R.A. Dameron reflect on ways they make a home, creatively, wherever they are.