Camille A. Brown

The Return to Joy, Pt. 1

Written by:
Yvonne Turay - Paint Branch Elementary School

   Camille A. Brown is not just a dancer. She is on a mission. Camille is from Jamaica Queens, New York It was an interesting time that includes memories of Q85, Farmers Blvd, Guy R. Brewer, Foch Blvd, E/F train (last stop), Green Acres Mall, Rochdale Village, and grandma and granddaddy's house was a block away.
   While she was a kid double dutching in New York with her friends she was exposed to Michael and Janet Jackson. Camille decided to become a dancer because they inspired her to move and to express herself. Like many kids, she learned the dance moves by watching the videos over and over. When her mom saw her perform the dances she knew then she had to put her in dance classes.

   Also, like many kids childhood was not always easy. She says, “I have always been a quiet child. My voice was small, so I got teased a lot, and it made me more self-conscious about speaking.”
   Camille was inspired by her mom because her mom loved musicals and she shared it with Camille.She was also inspired by her aunt. Her aunt used to dance for the dance ministry at her church. It was clear that her aunt loved what she was doing.
   The best part of performing for Camille is that she gets to have freedom. As a director she has made her own safe space for herself. “The best thing about my freedom is my work and company is that I get to have a conversations with the audience about my work.” she writes
   The obstacles in Camille’s life is that she was getting older and age is not always a best friend to such a demanding physical profession like dancing and choreography The obstacles are not new.
   Camille was told early on that there was a certain ideal of a dancer that she was told she was not. That did not stop her. From the shy girl with a small voice came a grown and strong woman determined to use her voice, body, joy, intelligence, and creativity to address issues.
   During college it was hard for her to be in shows. It grew so frustrating she wanted to transfer. She decided, after talking to her mom, to focus on composition. When she did this she realized, “I realized that I didn't have to wait for anyone to tell me when I could dance.”
   Camille created this production about a black girl’s story through her gaze. Camille wanted to put childhood play like Double Dutch and hand clapping games on stage and claim them as art.
   Now, Camille stands tall as a director, choreographer, and dancer. Through her work she wants to continue to make people think and more importantly feel a sense of joy.

Part Two