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  • Writer's pictureMary Ann

Camille A. Brown Comes to OZ Arts Nashville Dec. 14 & 15

Completing a trilogy about African-American identity, the prolific choreographer of Once on this Island and Jesus Christ Superstar Live! weaves together movement styles, storytelling, and traditional African instruments

Camille A. Brown & Dancers: ink

Award-winning choreographer Camille A. Brown is sharing her latest creation with audiences at OZ Arts Nashville for two nights on December 14 &15, 2018ink is the third piece in a trilogy about African-American identity – this one specifically exploring brotherhood and male-female love. Camille A. Brown & Dancers premiered this work late last year at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, and Nashville audiences won’t want to miss this exciting combination of dance, storytelling and musical genres from one of the country’s most acclaimed choreographers. ink celebrates the rituals, gestural vocabulary, and traditions that remain ingrained within the lineage of the African Diaspora and reclaims African-Americans narratives by showcasing their authenticity. In collaboration with music director Allison Miller, percussionist Wilson Torres, violinist Juliette Jones, and composer/pianist Scott Patterson, ink celebrates black masculinity and explores the power of everyday gestures. “It’s an honor to host a choreographer as influential and creative as Camille A. Brown here in Nashville,” says OZ Arts President & CEO Tim Ozgener. “Having the chance to engage with Camille’s vibrant work is an extraordinary opportunity for Middle Tennessee audiences to witness one of our nation’s fastest-rising stars.” “I am thrilled to bring ink to Nashville!” said Brown. “We come with love, community, funk, and soul and look forward to joining the Nashville community in celebrating black identity.” Using the rhythms and sounds of traditional African and handmade instruments as its center, the work travels through time with elements of blues, hip-hop, jazz, and swing music. This musical landscape embodies its own storytelling. The movement is an amalgamation of African-American social dance, African, tap, jazz, modern, and hip-hop. Through self-empowerment, black love, brotherhood, exhaustion and resilience, community and fellowship, ink depicts the pedestrian interactions of individuals and relationships as grounds for accessing one’s innate superpowers and finding liberation. In a recent piece about Brown, Dance Magazine placed the renowned choreographer in the company of television producer Shonda Rhimes and film director Ava DuVernay as “part of a cultural movement of black female artists who are redefining how African-American stories are told: with humanity, sensitivity, depth and intellectual sophistication.” No wonder. Her bold creations—including NBC’s Emmy Award-winning Jesus Christ Superstar Live in Concert and  Tony Award-winning revival of Once on This Island, fuse ancestral stories and contemporary culture in a way that celebrates, challenges and inspires. She is a four-time recipient of the Princess Grace Award, a Ford Foundation Art of Change Fellow, winner of the Jacob’s Pillow Dance Award, Guggenheim Fellowship recipient, and TED Fellow, among other accolades. In addition, her work has been commissioned by the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater and others. Among that work is this dance theatre trilogy about African-American identity, beginning with Mr. TOL E. RAncE in 2012 and BLACK GIRL: Linguistic Play in 2015. ink is the final installation. It is an amalgamation of African-American social dance, African, tap, jazz, modern and hip-hop, employing everyday interactions of people and relationships as grounds for “accessing one’s innate super powers and finding liberation.”     “The first one was about other people’s perceptions of black people,” Brown told the New York Times. “And Black Girl was more about the inside—my childhood, my perspective. Where is the black girl joy that I don’t see in the media? How can we bring that to the stage?” ink, which premiered at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in late 2017, expands to include glimpses of brotherhood and male-female love. After a preview performance, Brown told the Times, an audience member admitted surprise that the two men depicted in ink’s male duet Turf | Super Power: The Dab didn’t turn on each other.      “It goes to show what people expect when they see two black men on the stage,” she says. “I want to show them something different.” Lead commissioners of ink are Peak Performances at Montclair State University, N.J., and the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, with support from the Lumberyard. The presentation of Camille A. Brown & Dancers’ ink was made possible by the New England Foundation for the Arts’ National Dance Project, with lead funding from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation and The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.  Camille A. Brown & Dancers | ink December 14 & 15, 2018 Doors Friday @ 7:00 PM; Saturday @ 6:00 PM Performance Friday @ 8:00 PM; Saturday @ 7:00 PM Run time: 55 minutes $69 per person (Appropriate for all ages) Tickets available at About OZ Arts Nashville Since opening in 2014, OZ Arts Nashville, a 501(c)(3) contemporary arts center, has changed the cultural landscape of the city. Housed in the former C.A.O. cigar warehouse owned by Nashville’s Ozgener family, OZ Arts brings world-class performances and art installations to the city, and gives ambitious local artists opportunities to work on a grand scale. The flexible 10,000 square-foot, column-free venue, nestled amidst five acres of artfully landscaped grounds, is continually reconfigured to serve artists’ imaginations, and to challenge and inspire a diverse range of curious audiences. OZ Arts is supported in part by Metro Arts – Nashville Office of Arts + Culture. For more information, please visit


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