TED Studios
TED Studios

A Thursday morning pick-me-up…

Check out prolific choreographer Camille A. Brown’s Ted Studio short piece, “A Visual History of African American Social Dance in 25 Moves,” which asks and answers the questions, “Why do we dance?”, uncovering how African American social dances started as a way for enslaved Africans to keep cultural traditions alive, and retain a sense of inner freedom. These dances, as they’ve evolved over the years, have continued to be an affirmation of identity and independence for black people.

Brown is a four-time Princess Grace Award winner, 2016 Jacob’s Pillow Dance Award recipient, 2016 Guggenheim Fellowship recipient, 2015 USA Jay Franke & David Herro Fellow, 2015 TED Fellow and 2015 Doris Duke Artist Award recipient. Her company, Camille A. Brown & Dancers, received a 2014 Bessie Award for Outstanding Production for the work Mr. TOL E. RAncE (2012) and recently received a 2016 Bessie Nomination for Outstanding Production of her work, BLACK GIRL: Linguistic Play (2015).

Brown’s work has been commissioned by Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, Philadanco!, Complexions and Urban Bush Women, among others. Her theater credits as Choreographer include Broadway’s “A Streetcar Named Desire,” “Cabin in the Sky” for New York City Center Encores!, Jonathan Larson’s “tick, tick…BOOM!” starring Lin Manuel Miranda, and others.

Packed with live performances, and published online this week, watch “A Visual History of African American Social Dance in 25 Moves” below: