Clarence Brooks performs at the Library of Congress’ Coolidge Auditorium

Clarence Brooks

by Polly Burks | Tuesday, May 28, 2019

Clarence Brooks (FAU Department of Theatre and Dance) was one of five performers that was asked to participate in “The Legacy of the New Dance Group” at the Library of Congress’ Coolidge Auditorium in April 2019. Brooks presented Talley Beatty’s (1918-1996) “Mourner’s Bench” (1947). Beatty was part of an artist collective formed in 1932 by a circle of accomplished American modern dance pioneers who sought to use their voices in the fight for social justice. They coined the phrase “Dance is a weapon” and established a center offering low-cost dance classes for disadvantaged students. The performance was followed by a panel discussion that featured  personal reflections from two of Beatty’s former soloist dancers, Delores Browne (84) and Eloise Anderson (94). Brooks has reconstructed several early African American dances, or dances that spoke of/to the Black voice. One of the co-chairs of the National Arts Club saw Brooks’ May 2018 performance of “Mourner’s Bench” in New York city and invited him to perform at the Library of Congress as part of this celebration.

Image: Dance: “Mourner’s Bench” | Choreography: Talley Beatty | Dancer: Clarence Brooks | Photo: Jonathan Hsu| Location: Library of Congress