Camille A. Brown Takes Off With Two Awards in Two Weeks

April 7, 2016

Sometimes with artists, when it rains, it pours. That’s certainly the case for choreographer Camille A. Brown, who in the past two weeks has won two high-profile awards, in addition to keeping busy with her #BlackGirlMovement activism.

Two weeks ago, Jacob’s Pillow announced they would be honoring Brown with the 10th Annual Jacob’s Pillow Award, including an unrestricted $25,000 cash prize, an engagement at next summer’s festival and a Creative Development Residency. This prize—especially with the added bonus of a performance opportunity and creative residency—is enough to skyrocket Camille A. Brown & Dancers into a year of major success.

Photo by Matt Karas.

But it doesn’t stop there. This week, the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation chose Brown as a recipient of one of their prestigious fellowships. Of the 178 fellows for 2016, five are choreographers, including quirky renegade Michelle Ellsworth. The amount of grant money for each fellow varies, but I’ll bet it’s a pretty penny.

Fana Fraser and Beatrice Capote in Brown’s Black Girl: Linguistic Play.
Photo by Christopher Duggan.

It makes sense that both organizations chose to invest in Brown’s work. She has constantly made giving back a priority—even with all this rapid success, she hasn’t slowed down her activism one bit. Brown and her company sponsored the Black Girl Movement Conference this week, a sold-out three day event where Brown gave several presentations and performed excerpts from her magical Black Girl: Linguistic Play. (Follow her live-tweet of the conference here.) And I’m sure she’ll continue her multi-faced outreach efforts with the increased funding, including her Black Girl Spectrum community engagement initiative and The Gathering, an annual meeting of black dance artists.

The momentum growing around Brown and her company is well deserved, and I’m looking forward to seeing what she does next.