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BWW Review: RONALD K BROWN/EVIDENCE at The Kennedy Center


BWW Review: RONALD K BROWN/EVIDENCE at The Kennedy Center

Electric. In one word that is how I would describe Ronald K. Brown's/EVIDENCE's Kennedy Center performance. There are not many times in my life where I can say that a modern dance performance has left me feeling energized and excited, however, last night's performance was a fiery exception. The show consists of three separate installments with a 15 minute intermission between each.

The first installment Mercy opens with a single performer Annique S.Roberts who seems to be constantly battling unseen forces around her. At the top of Mercy there are hanging pieces of fabric that seem to taunt the agile dancers. Throughout Mercy we see many of the dancers performing wildly different phrases from each other but come together in one swift movement when this unseen force threatens them. It is a charged atmosphere - especially with the music of Abe Rounds, Chris Bruce, and Jake Sherman playing a combination of atmospheric music peppered with pleas for love, mercy, and talks of stormy waters. Mercy is a melancholic battle that leaves everyone on the edge of their seat.

The following installation The Equality of Night and Day: First Glimpse a beautiful statement not only about the struggles black Americans face everyday from systemic violence but of the unity and resilience of the black community. The beauty of this piece is that in its politicization it is fiercely beautiful to watch. It is a moving piece that easily educates, entertains and is accessible to people of all ages and all walks of life. You simply cannot tear yourself away from the haunting imagery of such beautiful bodies solemnly marching together.

The final piece, Grace, is somewhat of a redemption to the two other pieces aforementioned. Grace is an explosive and incredibly tactile performance meant to sow confidence and a sense of presence in its dancers and audience. The struggles of the previous pieces have not been forgotten nor will they, however, Grace demonstrates a newfound gravitas in its performers that is unmatched.

The most remarkable and exciting part of this show is the accessibility. I took my mother to see the show who has sat through countless dance performances and rehearsals (courtesy of my sister and I) and her least favorite always happened to be the modern dance performances. When I asked her to accompany me to see Ronald K. Brown/EVIDENCE she was hesitant on if she would be knowledgeable enough in modern dance to understand and appreciate it. She was elated to find that she was "mesmerized" by what was happening on stage. She not only found that the piece's were energizing but she thoroughly enjoyed and rejoiced with the dancers. I would absolutely recommend this beautiful, vibrant work of art to everyone.

Ronald K Brown/EVIDENCE runs at the Kennedy Center from Oct.21-23. Masks are required as well as proof of vaccination. Tickets can be purchased here

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From This Author Elizabeth Seablom