Processing Sugar Notes (in-progress)
Driven by virtuosic athleticism, “Processing Sugar Notes” is an episodic evening-length work that considers the lasting effects of colonialism on global communities of color through the prism of sugar, the most important harvest crop to the trans-Atlantic slave trade. The dancers scoop, carry and hide mounds of sugar, creating borders, which are eventually wiped away, while sliding, spinning and colliding through the visceral topography in search of shared dignity and intimacy. Diabetes and other health issues that ravage communities of color in America, and the heteronormative value system entrenched in Western societal norms are a few of the issues interrogated in this work for, and by people, of color. Made with support from donors, and the California Arts Council.
The Weight of Sugar (2021)
Filmed on location at a historic renovated mill in Sacramento, CA, Bernard Brown/bbmoves’ latest short film uses the lens of sugar to illuminate some of the lasting effects of colonialism on women of color. With support from a strong community, a young black woman guides us toward ascension, releasing the vestiges of oppression scattered. Made with support from donors, California Humanities and the California Arts Council.
Inspired by Henry B. Brown, a slave who mailed himself to freedom in a 3' x 2' box from Richmond, VA to Philadelphia, PA., dancer/choreographer Bernard Brown’s duet for piano and body, “Box,” lyrically mediates on liberation and confinement – exploring how movement, space and intention can translate to freedom for the black body, mind and spirit.
...at leisure... (2021)
The short film, "...at leisure..." seeks to reinsert the Black, queer body into the public space of Santa Monica's historic Belmar Triangle community. This once vibrant African-American neighborhood is enlivened, resurrecting ancestral spirits. Choreographer and arts activist Bernard Brown collaborates with composer DeFacto X to retrace and expose lineages of visibility, on the street, in front of God and on the shore. Commissioned by Suarez Dance Theatre.
“Anew” seeks to create a vision of a new future, with Pasadena-native, Octavia Butler’s novel “Parable of the Sower” as inspiration. Moving from dissonance to harmony, “Anew” critiques American society’s current state while offering an alternative - a world where queerness is held high, queerness is coveted, queerness is a superpower. Can queerness make this world anew? This dance theatre solo work seeks to explore deep physical practice while merging Afrofuturism with social justice theory. Commissioned by Queering Dance Festival/Shawl-Anderson Dance Center.
Inspired by the global water crisis and specifically the ongoing crisis in Flint, MI, the site-responsive work “Amanzi//Water” chronicles a night with two different people in desperate search for each other, their humanity and water, an evaporating resource and growing commodity. Commissioned by Heidi Duckler Dance/Ebb and Flow Festival.
While crossing treacherous borderlands, two figures deepen their bond. Centering humanity, “Meji//Two” follows the winding paths of two travelers seeking liberation in a foreign land. Made with support from New Visions/New Voices, a program directed by Lula Washington Dance Theatre.
The Sweetness of Sweat (2022) - In process
Amidst an emerging pandemic, COVID-19, remembering another pandemic, HIV/AIDS, both of which are compounded by systemic racism, queer men of color find solace in each other. Connected through sweat, intimacy is their resistance. This short film, composed by resident composer, DeFacto X, was made with the support from donors, Brockus Dance Project and the California Arts Council.
The Mason Project (2023) - In process
This contemporary dance theater work seeks to illuminate the great legacy of Bridget “Biddy” Mason. After traveling by foot behind the slaveholder’s wagon caravan from Mississippi to Salt Lake City to San Bernardino, Mason petitioned for her freedom from slavery, which was approved by Los Angeles district judge in 1856. She went on to become one of Los Angeles’ most prominent philanthropists and landowners. Centering the audacious narrative of Biddy Mason, this new dance theater work will enliven her-story, the history of Los Angeles and interrogate the invisibilizing of Black contribution to the construction of our nation’s major cities. Incorporating historical accounts, text and video, Mason will be danced by 5 Black women with a lush and energetic movement language infused with historic social, jazz and contemporary dance forms.
Something Perfect Between Ourselves (2023-24) - In process
Set in a fictional bar, “Something Perfect Between Ourselves” taking its title from the disco-era ballad, by Black Queer music icon, Sylvester. This dance theater work seeks to reflect a memory from generations past – a queer haven, the Black Gay bar. Black Gay bars served as sites of leisure and enjoyment, community gathering places for support (both formal and informal) and political action, especially at the onset of the gay liberation movement and the onslaught of HIV/AIDS. Using nostalgia, partner dancing and humor, this quintet of Black and Brown men will swirl, swish and kiki through disco and R & B songs highlighting the “lost generation” of artists and souls who shared their gifts and talents, changing the world.