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January 29, 2014

Choreographer Camille A. Brown and DANCECleveland Receive Prestigious Joyce Award

The coveted $50,000 grant supports the creation of thought-provoking work

from artists of color and non-profit collaborators

CLEVELAND (Jan. 29, 2014) New York-based choreographer Camille A. Brown and DANCECleveland are one of four recipients of the 2014 Joyce Awards, given annually by the Joyce Foundation in Chicago to recognize artists of color who collaborate with non-profit institutions. The $50,000 grants aim to strengthen cross-cultural understanding by bringing diverse audiences together.

"We are thrilled the Joyce Foundation selected our proposed project with Camille for this prestigious and generous award," said Pam Young, DANCECleveland executive director. "We're looking forward to supporting Camille as she creates a new work that we will present as part of our 60th anniversary season in 2015."

For the Joyce Award, Brown will create a powerful dance and music composition with the working title Black Girl. The piece will depict the complexities of carving out a positive identity for African American females in urban American culture. The multimedia creation will use literary works, including Toni Morrison's The Bluest Eye, as inspiration. Brown and her dancers will interview communities of African American women, both young and old, in Cleveland and other parts of the country. Their struggles and triumphs will be incorporated as spoken text during the performance. Combining history and musicology with the fantastical approach of imagery in Alice in Wonderland, this work will shed light on feminism, patriarchy, stereotypes and beauty.

Brown is one of four African American Joyce Award recipients that include composer Jessie Montgomery with the Sphinx Organization in Detroit; and in Minneapolis, Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Lynn Nottage with the Guthrie Theater and playwright Tracey Scott Wilson with the Pillsbury House Theatre. An anonymous national panel of cultural organization and business leaders selects winners based on artistic merit, quality of work and community engagement in artistic process.

"Throughout the Joyce Awards' 11 years, we have been so proud to support over 35 community-oriented arts projects to diversify and engage audiences and artists," said Ellen Alberding, President of the Joyce Foundation. "This year's endeavors bring strong voices to the table and showcase the incredible artistic talent of the winning artists, and we're excited to be part of the process."

Brown, a prolific choreographer who has achieved multiple accolades and awards for her daring works, is the artistic director of her own New York City-based company, Camille A. Brown & Dancers. Dance companies that have commissioned her work include Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, Philadanco, Urban Bush Women and Complexions, among others.

Photographs and additional information about each artist and partnering organization is available on the Joyce Foundation's website.

DANCECleveland, a Cleveland, Ohio based non-profit, is one of a handful of presenters nationally that is dedicated solely to the presentation of modern and contemporary dance. The centerpiece of the organization's programming is its annual performance series. The performances are surrounded by an array of educational outreach events including artist-run master classes, residency programs, student matinees, pre-performance lectures and post-performance Q&A sessions, designed both to break artistic boundaries and provide community access to the dance aesthetic and dance luminaries that DANCECleveland brings to Northeast Ohio. For more information visit www.dancecleveland.org

About the Joyce Foundation: The Joyce Foundation supports policies that improve the quality of life for people in the Great Lakes region and that can serve as models for the country. Our efforts are focused on addressing today's most pressing problems while also shaping the public policy decisions critical to achieving long-term solutions and creating opportunity. The work is based on sound research and aimed at areas where we can add the most value. We encourage new, forward thinking and innovative approaches with a regional focus and the potential for a national reach. To learn more about the Foundation, please visit www.joycefdn.org.

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