Clarence Brooks said that he started dancing by accident.

Brooks needed a physical education credit at his local college. Brooks got to take part in a dance class. He realized that “this was a workout,” and later, Brooks got to use dance as his gym credit. 

Brooks, now a professional dancer and associate professor of dance at Florida Atlantic University, has created numerous dancing programs, and formed the FAU dance program, 16 years ago. 

“I like being other,” Brooks said about his identity. “As I get older, I like it even more because I am adding ageism to the other now….I like the ageism, the black, the queer, being open.” 

Brooks also sits on the Board of Compass, the LGBT community center of the Palm Beaches.

Recently, Brooks was choreographed by Demetrius Klein in a dance, using James Baldwin’s “Pin Drop” speech. 

Brooks said the solo was dynamic and was a challenge. It was also “understanding what this straight white male was getting from this speech and then, putting it on this black, queer body using a black, queer voice,” Brooks said. “It was just this wonderful bit.” 

– Sophie Siegel 


Next: Out50: Kevin Muth

Table of Contents: SFGN's OUT50 2019

Previous: Out50: Michelle Sylvester