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SCOTT SUTTELL, Crain's Cleveland Business   |  January 29, 2014

DANCECleveland, collaborator are 2014 Joyce Awards recipients

DANCECleveland and New York-based choreographer Camille A. Brown 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 nonprofit institutions.

Each winner receives a $50,000 grant for work designed to "strengthen cross-cultural understanding by bringing diverse audiences together."

Pam Young, executive director of DANCECleveland, said in a statement, "We are thrilled the Joyce Foundation selected our proposed project with Camille for this prestigious and generous award. 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."

With the Joyce Award money, Brown "will create a powerful dance and music composition" with the working title "Black Girl," according to DANCECleveland.

The piece "will depict the complexities of carving out a positive identity for African American females in urban American culture," the nonprofit organization said in a news release. "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."

DANCECleveland said the work combines "history and musicology with the fantastical approach of imagery in 'Alice in Wonderland,' " and will "shed light on feminism, patriarchy, stereotypes and beauty."

Other winners of Joyce Awards this year are 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.

"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, in a statement. "This year's endeavors bring strong voices to the table and showcase the incredible artistic talent of these four women, and we're excited to be part of the process."

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