Posted on October 24, 2015 at 4:41 pm

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Performance Review: "Black Girl – Linguistic Play"

What are some words that come to mind when you hear the phrase “black girl”?  In the words of dancer and choreographer Camille A Brown,

“When I asked people this question, the responses I got were: Loud. Ratchet. Annoying. This is why I want to present Black Girl.”

“Black Girl – Linguistic Play” revolves around the subtleties and nuances of what it means to be a black woman in an urban 21st century society. Weaving familiar images from childhood play and the power of relationships and friendships, Camille A Brown and her team of dancers bring to life the empowering aspects of black womanhood that are often neglected in the media. Through this work, Camille challenges the audience’s beliefs and stereotypes by displaying common elements from their background that they do not expect would resonate with them.

Photo Credit: Christopher Duggan
Photo Credit: Christopher Duggan

In the first duet, the dancers create a tapestry of rhythms, with sections of silence (without music) where only the dancers’ footwork is heard. The second duet presents camaraderie through sisterhood, with the fighting that everyone sees but also the forgiving that nobody sees. The last duet is a poignant mother-daughter relationship where the mother exists as a safe haven and a secure base as the daughter explores the world on her own. Following the dance was “The Dialogue”, an open discussion of questions and reflections between the artists and audience about the production.

Photo Credit: Christopher Duggan
Photo Credit: Christopher Duggan

It is very clear that all the performers from Camille Brown’s company are well-trained, extremely strong dancers. The live music by Scott Patterson on piano and Tracy Wormworth on guitar add depth and dimension to the performance. The allusions to hand games from childhood resonate with audience members, allowing them to connect more deeply with the production.

Photo Credit: Christopher Duggan
Photo Credit: Christopher Duggan

Final Verdict: “Black Girl” is a reflective, relatable, and relevant work in the context of the current political climate. It provides individuals with an opportunity to shatter their own implicit and explicit stereotypes regarding black femininity. Definitely don’t miss this production if it’s coming to a city near you!

For more information about Camille A Brown and her upcoming performances, check out her website.