Pre-Concert Chat with Daniella Brown

In any other year, our Faculty Recital would be a chance for students, parents, faculty, and community members to come together in Presser Hall for an amazing performance. Although we can’t gather in person, our faculty performers showed us that we can still put on an unforgettable concert. In fact, to Daniella Brown, who we’ll see moving with one of the best views in Philadelphia as her backdrop, the process of recording was just like performing in front of a live audience. Watch the full concert online here, and read the rest of our conversation with Daniella Brown:

In the recital, we will see you dance a few different styles, which are all improvisatory. What are some key rhythmic and cultural differences between the styles? How will we see these differences reflected in your movement during the performance?

Marimba and Fanga are both African-inspired musical styles so the rhythmic patterns were alike in some ways. With Marimba, I did more of a modern-inspired jazz style. Fanga is a traditional West African style that uses the drums. Fanga was the first African dance style I learned at age four. It was home. 

Creating a digital performance like this year’s recital took a different approach than previous year’s recitals. What did you enjoy about filming the performance like this? Did it make you miss any particular aspects of performing for a live audience?

I enjoyed dancing in the crisp air. Being able to look directly into the sky and feel the wind respond to my movement was therapeutic. It was a wonderful and healthy experience. The view of the city was my audience, it felt no different from a live performance. That’s the beauty of the collaboration of the body and the drums.

How did you approach preparing for these one-on-one collaborations with musicians?

We all understood that improvisation was the only method. I only listened to the music once to allow my body to respond naturally. There was no choreography involved in this creative process.