2016 Jacob’s Pillow Award-winning choreographer Camille A. Brown and Dancers perform at the Diana Wortham Theatre, Thursday Friday, February 16 & 17 at 8:00 p.m. Ms. Brown is a versatile dancer and choreographer whose works range from light-hearted to spiritually based to politically charged to personal.
In addition to its evening performances, the company leads several educational and community residency activities during its Asheville tour stop:
– A free Community Workshop celebrating African-American social dance, February 16 at 4:00 p.m.at the Arthur Edington Center;
– Pre-performance discussions led by poet, artist and community activist DeWayne Barton, at The BLOCK off Biltmore, prior to the evening performances; and
– Matinee Series performance for students, families, homeschoolers, and community groups, February 17 at 10:00 a.m.
The Citizen-Times quotes Barton in this article: “Black history, culture, told through dance.”
Barton, whose work with Hood Huggers supports and empowers historically black communities, said that, as a sculptor and poet, he deeply understands the value of self-expression through art.
“Art saved me,” he said. “It has a powerful way of connecting people or reaching across lines like very few things can do. But we take art for granted. I don’t think we use it to its full potential.”
But art — whether it’s dance, theater, visual exhibits — has always had a huge accessibility problem.
Young people need to first be introduced to the arts to make a connection with art, but not every child gets that opportunity — and that’s why organizations like Hood Huggers and Date My City and companies like Camille A. Brown & Dancers purposely seek out those communities to make that connection.
“You go into a neighborhood and you see a basketball court — you don’t see a stage or a platform for artists,” Barton said. “Sports have a long list of support, and they have the infrastructure for kids to practice. … How can we create that same culture around the arts so we can start identifying young artists like we do for young (athletes)?”