The History Of African-American Social Dance

Camille A. Brown

by Camille A. Brown
Artistic Director, Camille A. Brown & Dancers

Why do we dance? African-American social dances started as a way for enslaved Africans to keep cultural traditions alive and retain a sense of inner freedom. They remain an affirmation of identity and independence.

I continue to be amazed (and humbled) by the impact that my TED- Ed video lesson on, “The History Of African-American Social Dance has had over the past few months! We recently hit a major milestone, with over 10 million video views on Facebook, in less than 3 months! Incredible!

This just reaffirms that social dance is something people from all over the world can relate to, and that movement is a universal language that brings people together.

So, you may be wondering, how can YOU join us in making even more of a positive impact in our local and global communities, in the year 2017? Donate to our#SocialDanceForSocialChange Ambassador individual giving campaign, and help us reach our $15,000 goal by, December 31st, 2016!

About Camille A. Brown

Camille A. Brown is a prolific choreographer, making a personal claim on history through the lens of a modern black female perspective.

The artistic director of Camille A. Brown & Dancers, 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 DesireFortress of Solitude(Lucille Lortel Nomination), Shakespeare’s The Winter’s TaleCabin in the Sky for New York City Center Encores!, Jonathan Larson’s tick, tick…BOOM! starring Lin Manuel Miranda, and BELLA: An American Tall Tale, among others.

Brown is the founder of two initiatives, The Gathering and BLACK GIRL SPECTRUM (BGS). As a teacher, she seeks to amplify cultural and creative empowerment through dance, dialogue, and popular education tools.

Black Girl Spectrum Symposium 2016
Natalie Williams Breast Care Foundation

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