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Camille A. Brown & Dancers 'Black Girl: Linguistic Play'


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In BLACK GIRL: Linguistic Play, Camille A. Brown draws upon the rhythmic pulsation of double Dutch, the complexity of step and tap, and the full-body percussion of juba to elevate the cultural contributions of black girls to triumphant artistic expression. Inspired by Kyra D. Gaunt’s book The Games Black Girls Play, three duets recall childhood relationships that are both playful and bittersweet; through these dances, Brown explores how black girls and women “perform” in order to meet social expectations, while still maintaining their own cultural language, and translates the spontaneous movement of youth into sophisticated, sneaker-stomping footwork. The dancers smile as they move and lock eyes as they tussle, reveling in the complicated patterns that grow out of schoolyard play. The result is a joyous celebration of youthful movement that manages to raise essential questions about what it means to become and be seen as a black woman in America. “Dramatically brilliant, physically exhilarating,” exclaims The New York Times. Duke Performances Artist-in-Residence Camille A. Brown “is clearly a force of nature.” This visionary choreographer has created an essential trilogy of works that redefine black identity within the evolving cultural landscape of this country: Mr. TOL E. RAncE, BLACK GIRL: Linguistic Play, and ink. Her series of three one-week residencies at Duke Performances with her company, Camille A. Brown & Dancers, marks the first time a single presenter has staged this trilogy in its entirety. Separately, the shows function as breathtaking stand-alone pieces; together, they form a striking commentary on perceptions of black identity. A courageous, unified epic, her trilogy — presented here in reverse order — is at the vanguard of American dance.

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