Award-winning choreographers and dancers Camille A. Brown and Juel D. Lane are the recipients of the second annual Alumni Artpreneur of the Year Awards from their alma mater, the University of North Carolina School of the Arts (UNCSA), Chancellor Lindsay Bierman has announced. Graduates of the premier UNCSA School of Dance, Brown (’01) and Lane (’02) will each receive $20,000. Brown’s award, for creative enterprise, will sustain her New York-based company, Camille A. Brown and Dancers. Lane’s award, for a creative project, will be used to create new choreographic work.
The Chancellor’s Alumni Artpreneur of the Year Awards were launched in 2018 to support alumni who establish creative projects or creative enterprises of the highest merit, artistic excellence or innovative potential. The Artpreneur of the Year Award is supported by a grant from the Mary Duke Biddle Foundation.
“An artpreneur is an artist who is not defined by what is, but inspired by all that could be; who is business savvy and technologically aware; who is devoted to creating value and impact through their creative practice; who reaches beyond existing disciplines to create new ways to connect with others; who is willing to take creative risks in order to positively transform our world,” Bierman said.
“Camille A. Brown and Juel D. Lane exemplify what it means to be an artpreneur,” he added. “Trained as dancers and choreographers, they create groundbreaking work that enriches our culture, enlightens our society, lifts our spirits, and feeds our souls. They take creative risks, but are grounded in sound business practices. We’re proud of them, and we’re pleased to support their very promising careers.”
A four-time Princess Grace Award winner, Brown also is the recipient of a Bessie Award, Ford Foundation Art of Change Fellowship, Jacob’s Pillow Dance Award, Doris Duke Award and a TED fellowship. Currently, Brown is performing and touring her new work “ink” – called “rousing and incisive” by The New York Times – the final installation her company’s trilogy about culture, race and identity. She returned to UNCSA as a guest artist in 2015.
Lane was selected for the prestigious Alvin Ailey Dance Foundation New Directions Choreography Lab in 2015-16. He is the recipient of two Celebration of Dance Awards in his native city of Atlanta, for Choreographer of the Year and Best Choreography for Live Performance for “Touch & Agree.” He is currently dancing with Camille A. Brown & Dancers. In September 2018, he premiered “DM” at UNCSA’s Fall Dance concert.
The Artpreneur of the Year Awards are part of the University’s initiative to nurture entrepreneurship. In the fall, the University will offer an entrepreneurship minor concentration – its first minor. “More than ever before, it is important that artists are able to carve their own path in the $800 billion creative economy,” Bierman said. “Disruptions across the arts and culture industries provide more opportunities for artists, but they must have the grit – business agility and the courage to take risks – to create their own career path.”
Led by Dean Susan Jaffe, a former principal dancer with American Ballet Theatre (ABT) for 22 years, the UNCSA School of Dance is the exclusive educational affiliate of ABT. With concentrations in classical ballet and contemporary dance, the school prepares talented young dancers for careers in top companies and productions around the world. Faculty have led distinguished careers with companies including ABT, Bolshoi Ballet, and Trisha Brown and Company.
Camille A. Brown has choreographed for dance companies such as Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, Complexions and Urban Bush Women, and for theater productions including “Once on This Island,” “A Streetcar Named Desire” and “tick, tick…BOOM!” In April 2018, she was the choreographer for the Emmy Award-winning “Jesus Christ Superstar, Live in Concert” on NBC. In 2016, Brown’s TED-Ed talk, A Visual History of Social Dance in 25 Moves, was chosen as one of the most notable talks of the year by TED Curator Chris Anderson.
In 2006, Brown founded Camille A. Brown and Dancers (CABD), a Bessie Award-winning, NYC-based dance company that performs in NYC and across the world, inviting audiences into stories and dialogues about race, culture and identity. With her company, Brown strives to instill curiosity and reflection in diverse audiences through her emotionally raw and thought-provoking work. Her driving passion is to empower Black bodies to tell their story using their own language(s) through movement and dialogue. Through the company, she provides outreach activities to students, young adults, and incarcerated women and men across the country.
CABD is known for an introspective approach to cultural themes through visceral movement and socio-political dialogues. Brown leads her dancers through excavations of ancestral stories, encouraging each dancer to embrace their unique embodiment of the artistic vision and gestural vocabulary. The work uses theatricality and the aesthetics of modern, hip hop, African, ballet and tap to tell stories that connect history with contemporary culture.
Currently, Brown is performing and touring her new work “ink,” the final installation of the company’s trilogy about culture, race and identity. “ink” follows the Bessie Award-winning “Mr. TOL E. RAncE” (2012) and Bessie-nominated “BLACK GIRL: Linguistic Play” (2015). Drawing on historic and contemporary rhythms, rituals and gestural vocabulary of the African Diaspora, "ink" reclaims African-American narratives by showcasing their authenticity. The work examines the culture of Black life that is often appropriated, rewritten, or silenced.
Juel D. Lane is a dancer, choreographer, filmmaker, and one of Dance Magazine's "25 to Watch." Most recently he won Celebration of Dance: Choreographer of the Year and Best Choreography for Live Performance for Ailey II's "Touch & Agree." He has performed nationally and internationally with Ronald K. Brown/Evidence, and currently dances with Bessie Award-winning Camille A. Brown & Dancers.
In 2012, Lane became the first Black, independent, Atlanta-based choreographer ever to be commissioned by the Atlanta Ballet, choreographing "Moments of Dis" for the company. He was selected to participate in the 2015-16 Alvin Ailey Dance Foundation New Directions Choreography Lab. Lane has also released four dance on film projects: "Just Another Day," "How to Kill a Ghost," "When The Beat Drops," and "The Maestro" which was featured on AfroPunk.com. He recently choreographed on Ailey II and Dallas Black Dance Theatre. Lane was last seen as a dancer in the Emmy Award-winning TV special, "Jesus Christ Superstar," Live in Concert; on NBC.
In the fall of 2018, Lane choreographed an original work for the School of Dance’s Fall Dance program. "DM" for two male dancers and 16 female dancers, was set to original music by composer Munir Zakee.
April 11, 2019