CSU Dance Department at work

Antonio Brown on the creative process

By: Trinity Stevens

On Feb. 26, Antonio Brown, Cleveland State University dance artist in residence, hosted a livestream informal dance showing via Zoom. Those watching got to see three original pieces of choreography by Brown. 

The videos were filmed prior to the virtual event and during the Zoom showing, Brown provided insight about the creative process. The pieces shown in the videos were performed by Antonio Brown Dance Company, Antonio himself, and the CSU Dance Company.

Brown is from the Cleveland area where he attended the Cleveland School of the Arts. He continued to study dance at the Juilliard School and worked with many other dance companies and organizations. Brown also founded his own company, Antonio Brown Dance, in 2013. His company is based in New York and is composed of dancers from all different backgrounds. While being primarily contemporary modern dance, the company does a variety of different movement styles.

Antonio Brown is pictured center surrounded by company dancers, Source: Antonio Brown Facebook

The first of the three pieces that were shown was a duet between Antonio Brown and Kaylin Horgan, Antonio Brown Dance company member. The duet was a part of the company’s repertoire and had originally been set for the stage. Interestingly, this was the first piece that the company came to CSU to perform some years ago. However, this year brought a new quarantine edition of the piece. The two dancers being confined to their own spaces on screen was rather fitting to the storyline, which was already about two people in their separate spaces.

The second video that viewers got to see was a snippet of Antonio dancing outdoors, called “Donald’s Testimony.” This segment of dance was part of a larger project organized by a friend from Juilliard as part of a racial and social justice campaign. The piece had been filmed outdoors and not being constricted by working in a traditional theatre space allowed for an added sense of realism. 

The CSU Dance Company performed the last piece of the evening, “Wakening.” Inspiration for this piece of choreography came from “Bridgerton.” The drama, romance, and lure of this British period drama has captured the attention of many a Netflix viewer, including that of Antonio Brown. Originally picturing lush ball gowns, opulent chandeliers, and a stage full of flowy dancers, compromises had to be made due to not being able to be in a theatre space. However, filmed in a studio with dancers clad in plain, long skirts, the piece still captured the beauty of the dancers, movement, and space, as intended.

The CSU Dance Company is composed of Cleveland State University students that are currently studying dance in upper-division courses. Each year students audition to be a part of the company which rehearses and performs contemporary modern repertory. The dance department lives up to its mission by adapting to continue to provide students with dance exposure during this time of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

For more information about Antonio Brown and his company, please visit the Antonio Brown Dance website. For more information about the Cleveland State University dance program and CSU Dance Company, please visit the department website.