Harlem Stage, one of the country's top presenters, producers and supporters of works by artists of color, announces four performances by EVIDENCE, A Dance Company (Ronald K. Brown, founder and Artistic Director) in celebration of the company's 25th Anniversary. The performances, part of the Harlem Stage E-Moves Series, run June 17-20 at the historic Gatehouse, 150 Convent Avenue at West 135th Street in Harlem.
The four-day run, co-presented by EVIDENCE, is part of the Harlem Stage Partners Program. Two programs of work by Brown will be featured, highlighting acclaimed company repertory from the 1990s and 2000s, including his recent "Two-Year Old Gentleman," which debuted in 2008. The full company of ten dancers also performs "To Harm the Dangerous" (1996), "Better Days" and "Incidents" (both 1998), "For You" (2003), and "One Shot" (2007).
For this retrospective, Brown chose works that expressed his choreographic aesthetic and are particularly important to him. "My mentor Bessie Schonberg always told me that people need to know where you've come from, they need to understand all aspects of you," he says. "The pieces I've selected for this special engagement reflect the range of work I've created over the years and offer audiences a glimpse into my world."
"It's a great honor to celebrate EVIDENCE's 25th Anniversary here at Harlem Stage, nearly 25 years to the day that the company had its first performance," said Patricia Cruz, Executive Director, Harlem Stage. "We've have a long relationship with Ron and the company that goes back to the early 1990s. Their performances are inspiring and thoughtful, and we plan to continue celebrating Ron's work well beyond this milestone."
FATHER'S DAY WEEKEND FREE WORKSHOP - JUNE 19
EVIDENCE Founder and Artistic Director Ronald K. Brown leads a free public workshop for African-American boys, their fathers, and their male mentors on June 19 at the Harlem Stage Gatehouse. "Males Moving: Legacy and Expression," gives cross-generational participants a chance to talk about (and dance about) their lives. "There is so much discussion about the role of a male influence in boys' lives; it's especially crucial in the African-American community," Brown says. "I'm trying to create opportunities for male family members to come together and, through movement, really hear each other." No dance experience necessary. Free; RSVP required at 212-281-9240, ext. 19 or 20, or email@example.com. (MEDIA NOTE--Additional info: firstname.lastname@example.org.)
PROGRAM 1 (JUNE 18 AND 19):
For You (2003)
Brown created "For You," a solo about generosity and survival in the face of tragedy, for a close friend who lost a long battle with cancer. This 2003 work, danced to Donny Hathaway's "A Song For You" will be performed by Brown himself.
Better Days (1998)
Showcasing the athleticism and artistry of the men in EVIDENCE, "Better Days" is a celebration of masculinity and sexuality, danced to music of LaBelle and others.
"Incidents," which celebrates females and female power, was cre ated from a collection of images inspired by historical texts, including Harriet Jacobs' "Incident in the Life of a Slave Girl." Images in the work allude to the residual physical manifestation and emotional responses that have since shaped women of African descent. Excerpts of the full dance are powered by music from The Staple Singers, Aretha Franklin, and Wunmi (who performs live), as well as text by Moms Mabley, Anna Russell and Ron Brown.
To Harm the Dangerous (1996)
"To Harm The Dangerous" is an ode to Brown's mother, whom he says was perceived differently by strangers than by her own family. "How can someone who brought so much love into the world be intimidating to, and not trusted by, people who met her?" Brown says. The piece is accompanied by House music from MKL.
PROGRAM 2 (JUNE 17 AND 20):
Two-Year Old Gentlemen (2008)
As a special Father's Day presentation, EVIDENCE performs Brown's critically acclaimed 2008 work "Two-Year Old Gentlemen." The piece tackles themes of brotherhood and support among men from different generations. Brown was inspired to create the work by his familial relationships, notably those between his grandfather, himself and his young nephew (who will make a cameo appearance during the Harlem Stage engagement). Master African drummer and long time EVIDENCE collaborator Mamadouba Mohammed Camara will play his original music composition live with two other musicians, including his nine-year-old son.
Brown studied ritual initiation dances from Cuba and the West African regions of Guinea, Senegal and Gambia, which are integrated into the work along with the Mardi Gras Indian tradition of war games.
One Shot (2007)
From 1936 to 1975 noted photographer Charles "Teenie" Harris captured many aspects of life in Pittsburgh: the spirit of childhood, decadence, and the soul of jazz. "One Shot" riffs on the same idea, looking to the legacy of a community and its effects on the evolution of other communities. The work incorporates video projection by Clifton Taylor and music by Billy Strayhorn, Mary Lou Williams, Arturo Sandoval, Lena Horne, Phyllis Hyman, and many others.