Walter’s World: Camille A. Brown “Fun- Raiser”

By Walter Rutledge

On October 10, 2011, Camille A. Brown held her second annual fundraiser. The festival event could be more accurately described “fun-raiser”.

In addition to raising funds for her fledging company the evening honored two women who are still making vital contributions in dance; former dancer, turned singer and dance curator Danielle Gee and dance legend Carmen de Lavallade.

The Hudson Terrace was the setting for this auspicious occasion. The subdued light and open loft style floor plan allowed the guest to freely move and mingle. Roving trays of hors d’oeuvre and a fulling stocked bar added to the jovial atmosphere.

The highlights of the evening were the honorees and their remarks to the audience. Gee talked about her continued commitment to the arts after having her dance career cut short. Ms. de Lavallade talked about her personal life with her husband and son; meeting a young high school gymnast named Alvin Ailey and suggesting he take dance classes, and called for a return to social civility. She reminded us the chase is usually always more alluring than the capture. Each honoree received an original oil painting by artist Aaqil Ka.

Camille Brown provided the audience with a glimpse for her new work entitled Mr. TOL E. RAncE. The work is a retrospect of the history of Black comedy. Brown performed the solo The Real Cool set to the instrumental version of Its A Wonderful World.

I always enjoy watching a choreographer execute their work. It is usually the most honest and reveling interpretation of the choreography. The timing, phrasing and artistic pathos are as authentic and outstanding as a real Gucci bag in a sea of knock-offs.

Brown did not disappoint. She is a rare and original artist, whose choreography defies convention. Most impressive was her counterpointal phrasing, which created it’s own music against the legato soundtrack.

Brown introduced her company on stage. Then shared with the audience a poignant story of when she could no longer afford rehearsal pay she decided out of respect for the dance to suspend rehearsals. The dancers decided to rehearsed anyway, which confirms that real leaders inspire others to follow.

Camille A Brown and Dancers will present three performances; January 27-29 at the Joyce Theater located 175 Eighth Avenue at 19th Street. If you missed the October 10th fundraiser you can still make a contribution by going to We suggest you purchase your tickets early, Brown has built a loyal and ardent following and we suspect the three-day offering will be a sell out.

1) Section entitled March photography by Christopher Duggan 2) Portrait of Carmen de Lavallade by Aaqil Ka 3) Portrait of Danielle Gee by Aaqil Ka 4) Photography by Matt Karas

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"We re-imagine, recreate, and redeem cultural omissions and misrepresentations of Blackness, for the culture. ...." This post is made in partnership with British Pathé.

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