Peak Performances: Camille A. Brown & Dancers ‘Ink’ it Up

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Published February 14, 2018
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The Montclarion
Maleek Washington and Timothy Edwards of Camille A. Brown & Dancers in "Ink." Photo courtesy of Marina Levitskaya Photo credit: Photo courtesy of Marina Levitskaya
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From left to right: Timothy Edwards, Beatrice Capote, Maleek Washington, Catherine Foster, Monique Brooks Roberts (violinist) and Kendra “Vie Boheme” Dennard of Camille A. Brown & Dancers in “Ink.”
Photo courtesy of Marina Levitskaya

Last week, the Alexander Kasser Theater hosted a dance performance by Camille A. Brown and her company of dancers in a culturally enriched production called “Ink.”

Brown has quite an impressive resume. She has been an award-winning dancer throughout the years. In her career, she has been a four-time Princess Grace Award recipient and her choreography is known for illustrating stories from the perspective of black females. The timeless and traditional stories she tells through her and her company’s dancing are known for connecting history and contemporary culture together.

Catherine Foster of Camille A. Brown & Dancers in ink. Photo by Marina Levitskaya.jpg

Catherine Foster of Camille A. Brown & Dancers in “Ink.”
Photo courtesy of Marina Levitskaya

Brown’s latest performance in “Ink” perfectly matches her vision. The dance opened up with some hilarious voice-overs, telling the audience exactly what they can expect from everything to come that night. The voice-overs perfectly represented black culture and created a lot of laughter in the audience. The first dance was a solo by Brown. The music started off slow and atmospheric, with movements done while sitting down. As time went on, the dancing became more creative and flashy, and the music sped up, providing a strong African-American vibe.

Later on in the show, there were multiple duets depicting different relationships between the dancers, such as one between a man and woman. Immediately following, the audience had an opportunity to look at a “bro-mantic” rivalry between two friends. Viewers could see some emotional parts of the dance while others parts provided comic relief.

Aside from the opening, there is no narration or voice-over in the rest of the show. The story is entirely told through dancing. This really encourages the audience to engage themselves mentally with the dances in order to figure out what they each mean.

However, it created a sense of confusion since there is not any information to lean on. It really would have been nice to have a bit more voice-over, particularly in between each performance where someone receives the basic information of what is to be expected from a particular dance.

The biggest problem with the performance might be what was not there. Throughout the show, it felt like something was missing. There was nothing that stuck out. While the dancing was very well done, it felt like it was missing that one “wow” moment.

At the end of the day, Brown and the dancers in “Ink” put on a very solid performance that showed the personality and grit of the black community while providing atmospheric music, impressive dancing and an engaging story and message.

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