The Intersection of Art & Fitness
In July of 2014, we met up with dancer Camille A. Brown, circus performer Joshua Dean and choreographer Charlie Williams to talk about dance, the industry and staying in top physical shape for their art.
Photography by Alberto Milazzo
When Camille A. Brown was about three years old, she would watch Michael and Janet Jackson videos and try to learn the routines. Her mother took note of her innate love of dance and put her in dance classes. Now, as the leader of her own dance company as well as being Broadway choreographer (A Streetcar Named Desire in 2012), she is readying new work and challenging stereotypes.
What do you have to say to people who are told the same things you were told, that you aren’t the right look for what you are trying to do?
You definitely have to pull from inside and it might get hard. But if you don’t see the type of work or the type of company you are wanting to be in, then create it. I think we get caught up in trying to get into certain companies, but we need to be aware that we can create our own path. It might be hard and it will be a struggle. And even if you’re defeated, take your time and level out, we all need that. Then get back up and start again.
My first interaction with Joshua Dean was as he dangled above the audience during one of his areal routines as a part of the 2 Ring Circus show in Brooklyn. I caught up with the multi-faceted performer (once he landed) to find out more about the art of the circus and what it takes to maintain the highest caliber of performance in one of the most expressive and high-flying artforms around.
What is the continuous appeal of circus art for you?
The constant work. It’s not like I can quit training and still do what I do. I have to continue training everyday, I have to continue my workouts and stretching and every aspect of keeping my body fit from how I eat to how I feel in the air. Keeping all of that active in my life is the fun thing. You have to be a hard worker if you are going to do this.
When Charlie Williams was in third grade, his elementary school did a production of Midsummer Night’s Dream. He didn’t get the part. But it planted the desire to perform inside of him. Now, he’s performed on the Emmys, the Oscars, the Kennedy Center Honors, on Broadway, and you could see him dancing alongside Neil Patrick Harris in the film “A Million Ways To Die in The West.”
With what you do, you have to stay fit, and then you also stay fit because of it. Outside of dancing, what do you do to stay in peak shape?
I go to the gym a lot. I’ve been able to make the gym my quiet time and my personal time. Everyone has their own thing they do to relax and get centered, and for me it’s the gym. I go six days a week and mix it up with free weights and cardio. I get stressed out if I don’t go.
Photography by Alberto Milazzo. Follow him here.