Camille A. Brown

Choreographer, educator
Camille A. Brown leads her dance company through excavations of ancestral stories, both timeless and traditional, that connect history with contemporary culture.

Why you should listen

Camille A. Brown is a prolific Black female choreographer reclaiming the cultural narrative of African American identity. Her bold work taps into both ancestral stories and contemporary culture to capture a range of deeply personal experiences. Brown is a four-time Princess Grace Award winner, TED Fellow, Ford Foundation Art of Change Fellow, Jacob’s Pillow Dance Award winner, Guggenheim Fellowship recipient and Audelco Award winner, among others. 

Her work has been commissioned by the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, Complexions, Ailey II, Philandanco!, Urban Bush Women, Ballet Memphis, and Hubbard Street II, among others. Her TV credits include Jesus Christ Superstar LIVE (NBC). Her theater credits include Once On This Island (Broadway), A Streetcar Named Desire (Broadway), Fortress of Solitude (The Public Theater), Stagger Lee (DTC), BELLA: An American Tall Tale (DTC, Playwrights Horizons), Katori Hall’s BLOOD QUILT (Arena Stage), Cabin in the Sky (NY City Center Encores!), Jonathan Larson’s tick, tick…BOOM! starring Lin-Manuel Miranda (NY City Center Encores! Off-Center), Shakespeare’s The Winter’s Tale (Regional), and Marcus Gardley’s The BOX: A Black Comedy.

As artistic director of Camille A. Brown and Dancers, Brown strives to instill curiosity and reflection in diverse audiences through her emotionally raw and thought-provoking work. Her driving passion is to empower Black bodies to tell their story using their own language(s) through movement and dialogue. Through the company, Brown provides outreach activities to students, young adults and incarcerated women and men across the country through her platform EVERY BODY MOVE (EBM).

Currently, Brown is performing her new work "ink," the final installation of the company’s trilogy about culture, race and identity. "ink" follows the Bessie Award-winning "Mr. TOL E. RAncE" (2012) and Bessie-nominated "BLACK GIRL: Linguistic Play" (2015). Drawing on historic and contemporary rhythms, rituals, and gestural vocabulary of the African Diaspora, "ink" reclaims African-American narratives by showcasing their authenticity. The work examines the culture of Black life that is often appropriated, rewritten or silenced. 

Brown has been featured on the cover of Dance Magazine (April 2018) and Dance Teacher Magazine (August 2015). She co-directed the Social Dances: Jazz to Hip-Hop program with Moncell Durden at The Jacob’s Pillow School. She performed at the 2015 TED Conference and given talks at both TEDxBeaconStreet and TEDx Estée Lauder Companies. Her TED Talk, "A visual history of social dance in 25 moves," was chosen as one of the most notable talks of 2016 by TED Curator, Chris Anderson.

Brown is a graduate of the LaGuardia High School of the Performing Arts and received a BFA from the University of North Carolina School of the Arts.

Camille A. Brown’s TED talk

More news and ideas from Camille A. Brown

Live from TED2018

The Audacious Project: Notes from Session 4 of TED2018, with 7 bold ideas for global change — and $406 million to support them

April 12, 2018

The lights go down. A voice emerges — strong and hopeful. It’s Laurene Powell Jobs, the founder of philanthropic powerhouse Emerson Collective. “Among the many things I love about TED is the simplicity and clarity of its mission — to spread ideas,” she says. “But in order to create lasting change at scale, we need […]

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A picture that rendered me speechless, snapped at TED2015

June 25, 2015

They say a picture is worth a thousand words. This picture was worth all the words I had — it rendered me speechless. It’s an image of six Black women, smiling and hugging, taken by Ryan Lash at the TED2015 conference. There we were —  LaToya, Somi, Aomawa, Camille, Danielle and myself — in all […]

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