Ronald K. Brown”s dance troupe “Evidence” is that. In dances that look at the experience of community life, Brown”s company attempts to share perspectives through the dance. The dances suggest the story to the viewer rather than narrate for them. Brown has been interested in the journey of people since he began choreographing: Where they have been and where they are going.
For their Power Center debut, Brown”s newest work, “High Life,” will be showcased. The piece is a link between the ex-slaves of the rural south to the urban north, a movement similar to that of Africans moving from their villages to cities. “High Life” is an examination of where the new life begins and the old traditions end.
Brown”s choreography incorporates a synthesis of the arts. “Water” is a collaborated work with performance poet Cheryl Boyce-Taylor. Stories of tragedy, childhood, cleansing and baptism are referenced in the texts used of Boyce-Taylor”s. The piece is comprised of themes of violence, ritual initiation and healing.
For a community suffering from self-inflicting wounds, “Water” is an attempt to heal those wounds from the inside.
The final work to be presented by Brown”s troupe is “Upside Down.” Again, Brown has chosen to use the community as a focus and drawing point for his choreography. While it initially looks at community mourning, the piece focuses on the impetus that drives individuals to their destiny.
The latter part of the work is set to a song by Fela Anikulapo Kti, of the same title. The song tells a story of chaos and corruption caused by the desire for money and power.
Brown said in Dance Magazine, “I want audiences to understand my stories and messages. I want to share something that is specific. If you stir an audience, move them and inspire them, that shifts them to feel warm with each other and share a sense of community. Whatever they come away with ultimately has to do with where they”re coming from. But I want to free the soul and physicality of the person.”