The Joyce Theater Foundation, Northrop at the University of Minnesota, DANCECleveland, and Cuyahoga Community College (Tri-C) will present a celebration of the 35th Anniversary of Ronald K. Brown/EVIDENCE with a mixed-bill performance live from The Joyce Theater stage on Thursday, FEBRUARY 18 at 8pm EST. Tickets are $25 and can be arranged through www.Joyce.org. Ticket holders have On-Demand streaming access to the performance until MARCH 4. For more information, please visit www.Joyce.org.
Ronald K. Brown/EVIDENCE continues its 35th Anniversary celebration on Thursday, FEBRUARY 18 with a program of some of the company's most iconic pieces, including the beloved Mercy and an excerpt from Grace, in a live stream performance event from The Joyce Theater's intimate Chelsea home, dedicated to EVIDENCE's longtime booking manager and friend, Pam Green. EVIDENCE, the dance company founded by Ronald K. Brown in 1985, focuses on the integration of traditional African dance with contemporary and spoken word to provide a unique view of struggles, tragedies, and triumphs of humanity.
Ronald K. Brown said today, "The dancers and I are grateful for the generosity of The Joyce, Northrop, DANCECleveland, and Tri-C to make this performance possible - safely - during a global pandemic. It is an absolute blessing and true gift for EVIDENCE to share these works with audiences around the world."
"It is always thrilling to present Ronald K. Brown/EVIDENCE and continue to grow our relationship," said Joyce Theater Executive Director Linda Shelton. "This opportunity is doubly exciting as it has given The Joyce the chance to collaborate in an entirely new way with Northrop, DANCECleveland, and Tri-C."
"We at Northrop are delighted that EVIDENCE has been able to rehearse safely, and that we are presenting our first dance live-stream in partnership with The Joyce, who have pioneered this technology for American dance, as well as our colleagues in Cleveland," said Kristen Brogdon, Northrop's Director of Programming. "I can't think of a more important time for an artistic reflection on Grace, with our online residency activities, and Mercy, through the incredible performance program Mr. Brown has created. There is a deep need for both of these qualities now, in our community and across the country."
Pam Young of DANCECleveland said, "Just when COVID made everything seem impossible, new things became possible. Bubble residencies have provided the opportunity for Ronald K Brown and his dancers to be able to rehearse, technology has created opportunities to live stream, and a whole host of specialized talent has risen up to be able to produce this performance. It also opened the door for four arts presenters in three different states to join together for the first time to bring this all about. It is quite remarkable."
"While the pandemic has stopped live performances, it has also presented some unique opportunities," said Terri Pontremoli, director of Tri-C Performing Arts and Tri-C JazzFest Cleveland. "Along with DANCECleveland, we are thrilled to co-present this extraordinary dance company in partnership with the prestigious Joyce Theater in New York and Northrop in Minneapolis."
Ronald K. Brown/EVIDENCE's body of work blends contemporary, African, Caribbean, and social dance forms to express spirituality, African American and diaspora culture and the beauty of movement in many forms. For this special online program, the company has assembled a selection of solos and duets from their repertory, including an excerpt from Grace, Brown's breakout piece performed first by the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater 20 years ago. The program also features an updated version of Mercy, an ethereal movement meditation that seeks to guide our hearts, set to music by Meshell Ndegeocello.
The full program for Ronald K. Brown/EVIDENCE's live performance from The Joyce Theater on FEBRUARY 18 - directed, filmed and produced by Nel Shelby Productions - is as follows:
Excerpt from Grace
Originally choreographed in 1999 for Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre and now considered a masterpiece in the Ailey repertory, EVIDENCE brings its own unique style to Grace, added to the company's repertory in 2004. Grace weaves the story of a Goddess' journey to Earth to spread grace among humans, ultimately welcoming them to heaven.
Choreographed in 2003 as tribute to the incredible legacy and leadership of the late American Dance Festival co-director, Stephanie Reinhart.
She is Here
She Is Here is a celebration of self-determination and perseverance. The solo, created on the Evidence women, honors the legacy of mothers and teachers who have inspired living with integrity.
Palo y Machete solo from One Shot
Inspired by the life and work of noted photographer Charles "Teenie" Harris, who documented black life in Pittsburgh from 1936 to 1975, One Shot features many aspects of life in Pittsburgh captured by Harris: the spirit of childhood, the indulgences of decadence, and the soul of jazz. The work uses the idea of looking to the legacy of community and its echoing effect on other communities in their distinct definition and evolution.
A part of Brown's larger work of Lessons, MARCH is an extraordinary duet set to a speech by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s speech on the value of a man. The movement embodies the sentiment of the text to illustrate a physical story of perseverance, dignity, and collective strength and caretaking.
Mercy marks the first collaboration between Choreographer Ronald K. Brown and Composer Meshell Ndegeocello. The piece focuses on seeking compassion, which leads one to have mercy. The tension of the dance embodies the words in Malian Composer/Singer Oumou Sangare's "Shirk," recorded by Ms. Ndegeocello. In this work, the dancers embark on a physical journey towards justice in response to assault that resolves in joy and surrender.
About Ronald K. Brown/EVIDENCE
Founded by Ronald K. Brown in 1985 and based in Brooklyn, New York, EVIDENCE focuses on the seamless integration of traditional African dance with contemporary choreography and spoken word. The choreography provides a unique view of human struggles, tragedies, and triumphs. Brown uses movement as a way to reinforce the importance of community in African American culture and to acquaint audiences with the beauty of traditional African forms and rhythms. He is an advocate for the growth of the African American dance community and is instrumental in encouraging young dancers to choreograph and develop careers in dance.
Brown's choreography is in high demand. He has set works on Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, Ailey II, Cleo Parker Robinson Ensemble, Dayton Contemporary Dance Company, Jennifer Muller/The Works, Jeune Ballet d'Afrique Noire, Ko-Thi Dance Company, PHILADANCO!, and others. He choreographed Regina Taylor's award-winning play, Crowns, and won an AUDELCO Award for his work on that production.
Ronald K. Brown/EVIDENCE tours to over 25 communities in the United States and abroad. The company has traveled to Cuba, Brazil, England, France, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Mexico, Senegal, Nigeria, South Africa, and Canada to perform, teach master classes, and conduct lecture/demonstrations for individuals of all ages. Ronald K. Brown/EVIDENCE brings arts education and cultural connections to local communities that have historically lacked these experiences. Annually, the company reaches an audience of more than 25,000.
Ronald K. Brown/EVIDENCE continues its 35th Anniversary celebration on Thursday, FEBRUARY 18 with a live stream performance from The Joyce Theater in New York City at 8pm EST. Tickets are $25 and can be arranged through www.Joyce.org. On-Demand streaming will be available to all ticket holders until Thursday, MARCH 4 at 11:59pm local time.