Camille A. Brown & Dancers will present BLACK GIRL: Linguistic Play (2015) as part of the University Concert and Lecture Series on Saturday, February 8th at 8:00 pm in the UNCG Auditorium. Inspired by ethnomusicologist Kyra Gaunt’s prize-winning book, The Games Black Girls Play: Learning the Ropes from Double-Dutch to Hip-Hop, BLACK GIRL is an evening-length work for the women of Camille A. Brown’s company, which tours nationally and internationally and annually reaches 20,000 people.
Artistic Director and choreographer Camille A. Brown recalls: “The word ‘play’ immediately shot out. I started thinking about my childhood and the many games used to play — Double Dutch, Red light Green light, Marco Polo — and how it was hard for me to find narratives within the media that showcased Black girls being just that: girls.”
BLACK GIRL: Linguistic Play celebrates the unspoken rhythms that African American girls develop through Double Dutch, social dances, and hand-clapping games. By mining these games and dances, Brown has created a work that elevates the gestures and rhythms of childhood games and explores how they help African American girls to carve out self-defined identities in urban America.
About the work, Brown writes, “It shows the power of sisterhood and the fact that, as we mature, Black girls still play.” With live music by pianist Justin Ellington and electric bassist Robin Bramlett, BLACK GIRL: Linguistic Play was nominated for a 2016 Bessie Award for Outstanding Production. Brown concludes, “If our audiences see parts of themselves in our work — their struggles and their joys — regardless of their color, gender, or socioeconomic background, then I know we have done our job.”
Brown’s Ted-Ed talk, A Visual History of Social Dance in 25 Moves, has over 15 million views on Facebook.