In today’s Spotlight on Black Choreographers, we are honoring Ronald K. Brown and Camille A. Brown, two choreographers who are recipients of the Jacobs Pillow Dance Award. This honorary award is given to creative visionaries and includes a cash prize of $25,000 as well as $25,000 to support the artist’s Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival summer residency and new commissions.
Ronald K. Brown
Ronald K. Brown, who founded Evidence. A Dance Company in 1985, has been an advocate for the growth of the African American dance community for over thirty years. Brown’s choreographic style combines traditional West African and Caribbean influences with contemporary dance movements and spoken word to facilitate an understanding of the human experience in the African Diaspora. He has choreographed for the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, Ailey II, Dayton Contemporary Dance Company, Philadanco, and others, as well as Regina Taylor’s award-winning play, “Crowns.”
Brown received the 2020 Jacob’s Pillow Dance Award and was recently celebrated in Dance We Must: A Virtual Event Supporting Jacob’s Pillow on June 20th.
One of Brown’s most popular pieces, Grace incorporates modern dance and West African idioms to portray individuals on a spiritual journey to a promised land.
The Call (2018)
Described as a “love letter to [Alvin] Ailey,” The Call is set to a contrasting mix of Bach, Jazz (by Mary Lou Williams) and Malian music, as performed by the Brooklyn-based Asase Yaa Entertainment Group. The piece, which has a small cast of 5 dancers, is classical in nature and features choreographic tributes to Ailey and his works.
Watch it here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tnlDfksJoTU
Camille A. Brown
Choreographer and educator, Camille A. Brown’s award-winning choreography reclaims the cultural narrative of African American identity. She is the Artistic Director of Camille A. Brown and Dancers and her work has been commissioned by the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, Broadway theaters, and other prominent institutions. She is the Choreographer for the Emmy Award Winning NBC special Jesus Christ Superstar Live in Concert, and the Tony Award Winning Broadway Revival of Once on This Island.
She received the 2016 Jacobs Pillow Dance Award and was lauded by Jacob’s Pillow Director Pamela Tate for her company’s social outreach activities for students, young adults, and incarcerated women and men.
BLACK GIRL: Linguistic Play (2015)
Reveals the complexity of carving out a self-defined identity as a black female in contemporary urban American culture.
Celebrates the rituals, gestural vocabulary, and traditions that remain ingrained within the lineage of the African Diaspora and reclaims African American narratives by showcasing their authenticity.
By guest blogger Gabrielle Bohrman
Read other posts in this series: https://www.artscenter.org/2020/06/spotlight-on-black-choreographers/