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Dancer Camille A. Brown to hold lecture, debut her Hancher-commissioned performance ‘ink’


Creative Matters Lecture with Camille A. Brown

Hancher — Friday, Jan. 26 at 7:30 p.m.

ink

Hancher — Saturday, Jan. 27 at 7:30 p.m.

Camille A. Brown will present a lecture on Friday and a performance on Saturday. — photo courtesy of Creative Matters Lecture series

Dancer and choreographer Camille A. Brown, a 2016 Guggenheim fellow, has had work commissioned by Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, Urban Bush Women and more. This Saturday, Jan. 26 at 7:30 p.m., she presents ink, an original Hancher commission. The piece is the third in a trilogy about identity. The first two parts, Mr. TOL E. RAncE and BLACK GIRL: Linguistic Play, likewise explored black culture and identity.

“Dance has always been the most natural way for me to communicate my feelings or responses to our political climate and life experiences,” Brown said in an email.

Before her performance, Brown will be speaking with Michael Sakamoto of the University of Iowa Dance Department as part of the UI Creative Matters lecture series. The conversation is titled Activism Through Art. “Michael plans on asking me about my larger ideas, beliefs and desires and how it influences my choreographic and performance work,” Brown said.

Brown brings her company, Camille A. Brown & Dancers (CABD), to Hancher for ink. Company members will be engaging with UI students while here, conversing and teaching master classes. “It feels good to have such amazing collaborator dancers that support the work of CABD beyond the stage,” Brown said. Brown and her dancers will also be refining some technical aspects of ink while here.

CABD has a strong engagement program that keeps Brown and her dancers connected to the communities they reflect in their work. They are committed to fostering dialogue and creating safe spaces through programs such as prison outreach, a youth initiative, the Gathering (a yearly event just held earlier this month in New York), Black Girl Spectrum and more.

In addition to dance, Brown has some history as a clarinetist, but relies on it now mainly to better communicate with the musicians she works with.

“When I was younger, my mom wanted me to learn how to play an instrument,” she said. “My cousin played the piano, so I picked the clarinet. When I auditioned for LaGuardia High School (the Fame school), I decided to audition for dance only. Dance is what I LOVE. Playing the clarinet was something I enjoyed doing, but not as much as dance.”

This Hancher commission indulges that love by incorporating elements of a wide variety of dance styles.

“I am creating my own movement language that draws from the elements of African dance, African American social dance, tap, jazz, modern and hip-hop,” Brown said. “They are layered and interwoven within the fabric of the movement and gesture.”

Youth tickets to Saturday’s performance of ink are $10-20, university student tickets are $10-36 and adult tickets are $30-40. Friday’s Creative Matters Lecture Series event is free to the public.

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