patterns like a dust-heavy bee retracing
its travels in scale before the hive. —Gregory Pardlo, “Double Dutch”
|Camille A. Brown & Dancers in "Second Line" photo by Christopher Duggan|
As a little girl I would watch my mom dance to popular music in the house, I kept asking, “how do you find the beat? Can you teach me those steps? She said, “just keep listening to the sounds until your body moves with it.” She also decided to enroll me in local Saturday morning dance classes. As I read through The Games Black Girls Play by Dr. Kyra Gaunt I felt a cadence with my early childhood experiences in dance, music and play. She states, “Every day black girls generate and pass on a unique repertoire of chants and embodied rhythms in their play that both reflects and inspires the prince of black popular music making.” It is the power of play at its best where relationships, connections and friendships find roots.
|Set design by Elizabeth C. Nelson; Burke Wilmer, lighting design.|
#BlackGirlLP is a collective, collaborative, creative force of energy in dance and music — where the games African American girls still play takes center stage in contemporary form.
As I sat there in The Joyce Theater I remembered my Saturday mornings in dance class where for the first half hour our group would sit down on the dance floor with legs folded, heads up, dressed in our required black leotards and tights with composition notebooks. We learned to pronounce, spell and memorize the names of positions to be practiced for the day, but interpretative dance was our last session — a time of African drums and other rhythms to move through improvisational playful moves. My first dance lessons involved visual cues and listening for sound rhythms. It was my first kinesthetic learning lab experience. It was also another kind of playtime.
Camille A. Brown with Tracy Wormworth in BLACK GIRL: Linguistic Play (excerpt) from Camille A. Brown & Dancers on Vimeo.