Modern dance choreographer Ronald K. Brown performed with his company, Evidence, at the DeBartolo Performing Arts Center on Jan. 23 and 24.
Brown founded Evidence, a group of eight dancers plus himself, in 1985. The company’s dances are a mixture of African and modern styles and are meant to bring attention to shared human experiences. The two dances performed here, “Come Ye” and “On Earth Together,” were “a call to all those living in fear” and a message about “purpose and carving a way,” respectively, according to the company’s artistic statement.
The music and the dancers’ intense style of expression combined to create emotion related to conflict and individual experiences. “On Earth Together” was based on the music of Stevie Wonder and told stories of love and loss. Throughout the performance, the dancers switched easily between joy and sadness, but always seemed genuine.
A week before the performances, Brown also held an audition in South Bend and chose 16 people, including freshman Nandi Mgwaba, from the ages of 10 to 64 to dance alongside his company. Brown choreographed a special dance for them, and in the finale he, his company and local dancers all performed together, reflecting Evidence’s mission to connect all people.