Gamal Brown & Onyx Productions
As a native of Columbus, Ohio, Gamal Brown embodies what it means to be a dancer and choreographer. His performance and leadership abilities have put him with the likes of Alfred Dove and the Dove Arts Project as well as the Thoissane West African Dance Company under the direction of Abdou and Suzan Kounta.
As a dancer, Gamal took courses at Wright State University Dance Department and the Geraldine School of the Dance (Home of Dayton Contemporary Dance Company). Gamal has toured West Africa to study Senegalese dance under professional dance masters from the National Ballet du Senegal. His studies have also taken him to Washington, D.C., to develop his technique through dance workshops with Kankouran West African Dance Company under dance master and artistic director Assane Kounta and Dom Gueye. As he continued to adjoin to his education of movement, Gamal has studied with Mari Bass-Wiles, artistic director/founder of Maimouna Kieta School of West African Dance in Brooklyn, NY. He has sustained his absorption of dance by studying and performing under Jawole Willa Jo Zollar artistic director/founder of Urban Bush Women (Brooklyn, NY).
While in Columbus, his technical training encompasses movement within the dance vocabulary of Lester Horton, Katherine Dunham and Martha Graham. He’s performed with Alfred Dove, who also serves as his mentor and trainer, artistic director/founder with the Dove Arts Project and Youth Met (Ballet Met Outreach Program) with April Berry, former principal dancer of the Alvin Ailey American Dance Company.
Gamal assisted with organizing the first summer dance intensive at The Ohio State University collaborating with community stakeholders and national artists. As a choreographer, his work continues to challenge audiences to rethink the social, political and cultural significance of dance. He engages dancers in the history and purpose of movement. In 2008, he was commissioned to do a work entitled Stand paying homage to three women; Mary “Gran” Watson, Deborah Brown and Karin Watson. Their matriarchal influence has been paramount to his development. 2010 brought about a new work entitled, Mo’s Lament, a haunting testament of a dear friend’s ongoing trials of life; what is thought of as a good decision often revolts on her presumed sound consciousness and the turmoil of doubt begins anew.
In 2012 brought about a project titled, The Colored Section is a realistic view of some of the worst atrocities of human kind, lynching and segregation. Guests are immersed in period pieces that require them to remember a time that was not pleasant in our very near past and how it has impacted our future. Guest must sign their name on the “black list,” and become a part of American history. 2015 was the release of his newest choreopoem,The Docent’s Menagerie, is a provocative and timely artistic expression that is centered on an over-the-top cousin who serves as griot of the family and his decision to illuminate behaviors from members of his family.
Gamal Brown’s timeless piece of work can be found in his 2016 production of 6+1: Seven Deadly Sins. The body of this work is elementary in thought; people have always been immoral, shiftless and self-gratifying. Humankind struggled to find a conceptual system to operationalize their spiritual shortcomings, thus the Seven Deadly Sins. Each sin represents a personal struggle that we either win or lose. However, the sum total  knows that nothing is exactly as it seems and that reality is often hidden behind illusions. Provocative and salacious 6 + 1: Seven Deadly Sins tips its focus on each sin through the lens of the artist medium.
On March 18, Onyx Productions will be performing a new dance presentation, ROHO – Spirit.
Saturday, March 18
Time: 6:30 pm
Venue: Columbus Performing Arts Center / 549 Franklin Avenue, Columbus, OH 43215 / (614) 645-7469