American Dance Guild, Joniece Boykins, Photo: Alexander Bryant
American Dance Guild, Joniece Boykins, Photo: Alexander Bryant
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Impressions of Ronald K. Brown/Evidence, a Dance Company

Impressions of Ronald K. Brown/Evidence, a Dance Company
Trina Mannino/Follow @Trinamannino on Twitter

By Trina Mannino/Follow @Trinamannino on Twitter
View Profile | More From This Author

Published on December 7, 2015
Photo: David Andrako

Celebrating their 30th Anniversary Season in Style at BRIC House

November 19, 2015

Artistic Director: Ronald K. Brown / Associate Artistic Director: Arcell Cabuag

Dancers: Ronald K. Brown, Arcell Cabuag, Shayla Caldwell, Brionna Edmundson, Taylor Jones, Annique Roberts, Keon Theoulouis, Sherman Wood, Clarice Young

Guest Artists: Rasaan “Talu” Green

Upcoming performances at Queen's Theatre on December 12 & 13. For tickets, go to the Queen's Theatre website.


“We must speak the truth to one another or stay buried in the dark,” says choreographer Ronald K. Brown as his company celebrates their 30th anniversary season at the BRIC House in Brooklyn on November 19. His gentle voice envelops us before the stage lights come up for his 2001 work Walking Out the Dark. Amidst the violence the world has seen in recent weeks in Beirut, Mali and Paris, Brown's poignant remarks linger. 

Four dancers, arranged at the corners of the stage, take turns to expel the fury and despair that resides in their bones. Their vigourous stomping stirs not only the floor beneath them but seemingly the layers of earth hundreds of feet below. Clarice Young’s pelvis undulates while her fists pierce the air. These tense exchanges don’t need lengthy monologues or program notes. They paint a vivid picture of strife and misunderstanding.

Antique Roberts is in a lunge and she executes a back end
Shayla Caldwell, Keon Thoulouis, Clarice Young and Annique Roberts in Walking Out the Dark; Photo by David Andrako

Before their unspoken language divulges too much, Brown steers the quartet into an unexpected direction. Bits of cork, resembling snow, begin to fall after the dancers crumple to the ground into wide snow angel positions. As the flurries touch their skin, the dancers' torsos soften to release any constriction they once possessed. The hostility has all but dissipated. Their movement now conjures images of the ethereal and airy, whereas earlier earthy, labored steps prevailed. Annique Roberts is especially impressive. In one moment, she plummets to the ground, and in the next, she ascends, her petite frame flying into a lofty jump. Her body is at ease in Brown’s textured lexicon. 

A female dancer in a long tunic juts out her right hip as her right leg hovers in the air at a 90 degree angle
Sherman D. Wood and Annique Roberts in Why You Follow/Por Que Sigues; Photo by David Andrako

Why You Follow/Por Que Sigues continues to feature vibrant steps performed to infectious Afro-Cuban sounds. African, disco, hip hop, and modern dance forms meld with the performers’ vivacious flair to create a singular, communal style. It’s unclear what Brown’s merry band of movers are celebrating, but audience members don’t seem to mind. They whoop and offer terms of praise while nodding their heads to the rhythms, enraptured with the company’s play on a meandering conga line.

While both pieces exemplify the ensemble’s technical feats and committed intensity, the element that truly sets the company apart is their unabashed enjoyment for dancing, especially with one another. Ronald K. Brown/Evidence, a Dance Company provides us with respite in a vulnerable time. The illuminating spirits offer joy in a period of darkness. 


Ronald K. Brown/Evidence, a Dance Company has upcoming performances at Queen's Theatre on December 12 & 13. For tickets, go to the Queen's Theatre website.
 

 

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