Black Girl : Linguistic Play – Dance Critique

“Black Girl: Linguistic Play” by Camile A. Brown depicts the daily activities of a typical black American girlhood. The choreographer mines the movement of the play from rituals and gestures of the African diaspora. The play is similar to a broad palette that Ms. Brown brought up in Jamaica, Queens, blends with a lot of precision. The play features a propellant rhythm section ensemble organized by Allison Miller. The show starts with the sound of a distant chant and a single drum which is similar to a call to the Yoruba deity known as the Elegba, who, as noted by Ms. Brown, clears and opens the space as the protector, communicator and guardian. Additionally, this can also explain her role in the bracing follow that comes after, like conjuring and a culmination feeling. She appears to compress the years of efforts in minutes. Brown’s compact frame strikes and coils in from a strongly seated position and copying actions such as stirring something thick and scratching a turntable.

            In this dance, the choreographer is trying to express the concept of the unspoken language and rhythm that black girls encounter through Double Dutch, hand-clapping, and social dances that are modern and ancestral (Johnson 25). The play portrays sisterhood’s power and reveals the complexity of carving out a self-defined image of a black female in the contemporary urban American culture. M.s Brown presents that in a society where women of color are usually exhibited based on their trauma, resiliency, or strength, this dance looks into examining these narratives by forming a representation of a nuanced spectrum of Black womanhood in a politically and racially charged community.

            This linguistic play is built on the dance, hand game, and music from the Sub-Saharan and West Africa’s cultures as sieved through various generations of the African-American experience. The outcome is depicting multiple complexities in carving out a perfect identity as a female of color in contemporary urban America. This multimedia play’s foundation is a natural blend of body gesture, self-expression, percussion, and rhythmic play that builds its own lexicon.

            The dynamic dancer dressed in a pair of orange pants and a halter top that is pattered graces the 85th cover of the anniversary season program in a posture that attracts Brown’s attention. The dancer also suspends in mid-air with her hands sculpted and outstretched as if she both in reverence and celebration. As a result of these moves, the dance has been described as a moving and joyful exploration of childhood innocence, maturation, and girlhood awareness of the black female beyond her lens. It shows the dance’s idea by telling larger and smaller stories: universal, personal, and cultural. The dance evokes the memories of our different girlhoods, steeped in the rhythms and rituals of the games in the play. These games include two girls playing Double Dutch, girls challenging one another via rhythms and movements, two girls gossiping about the third girl, and some girls smacking one another’s palms in complicated rhythms.

            The dance compares to the experiencing of life as it draws a correlation of how girls develop through social dances and hand-clapping games. By applying these dances and games, the choreographer has built a work that promotes the rhythms and gestures of childhood games and examines how they aid African-American girls to carve out their self-defined identities in modern urban America (Johnson30). The dance reflects current society because it is formed on the foundation that Black girls still engage in plays as we mature. The dance depicts the struggles African American girls go through in the modern cities of the U.S.

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