EVIDENCE Touring Repertory

Artist Website | Reviews and Press | Touring Repertory

Touring Schedule | Technical Riders

On Earth Together by Ayodele Casel (1)

On Earth Together – Image courtesy of Ayodele Casel


Length: 10 minutes. 9 dancers

….So Subtle Are The Wings of Angels / That you may not realize they’ve come and gone, except / That innerly remains a glowing / Which seems just as good as knowing – Alan Harris

Choreographed by Ronald K. Brown and set to jazz musician Jason Moran’s same-named suite, The Subtle One dances through the mystic and inspirational relationship between spiritual beings and the society they inhabit. In Arabic, ‘Al-Lateef’ or ‘The Subtle One’ means “the one who whispers things into existence.” The dancers and the music affect each other with this softness. Performers move as ‘subtle ones’, affecting one another and the audience as they perceive the world. This new work combines brilliant talent and artistic intellect in a burst of uplifting dance.  Live music accompaniment is an option for presenters.

Brown and Moran are excited to collaborate after years of admiring each others’ work. Brown finds that the complexity of Moran’s music frees him to explore more contemporary modes of expressing African and Caribbean traditions. In a complimentary fashion, Moran feels that Brown’s dance highlights the ‘Africaness’ within his musical execution and structure.

The Subtle One was commissioned in part by The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.

TORCH (2013)

A torch is a fire source; the torch is a common emblem of both enlightenment and hope. A torch pointed downwards symbolizes death, while a torch held up symbolizes life, truth and the regenerative power of flame.

Torch was created as a celebration of perseverance and self-determination. Set to the music of various artists including DJ Zinhle, this dance of celebration honors the legacy of Beth Young, a phenomenal dance enthusiast and supporter of Evidence, A Dance Company who studied with the company for over 15 years before losing her battle with cancer on January 6, 2012.

This piece was created in residence at the Bedford Stuyvesant Restoration Corporation Youth Arts Academy. With generous support from Reggie Van Lee, Alvin Adell, New York Community Trust/ The King Family Fund and Friends of CELEBRATE BETH.


OET Length: 30 minutes. 8 dancers / EATT Length: 18 minutes. 8 dancers

Premiering in 2011, On Earth Together is inspired by and set to the music of Stevie Wonder. The piece takes its name from Wonder’s moving ballad, ‘You and I’ and is a study in compassion and relationships, not just between individuals but between indi­viduals and the world around them. In several moments, there are pairs dancing with, and to, each other, expressing the theme of connectedness and care. Brown asserts, “The more I discover and imagine I see the work as a commitment to making the world a better place: a loving & compassionate place to celebrate a world-view. The music of Stevie Wonder often speaks to the state of the world, asking questions of oneself and to society at large.” The movement vocabulary in On Earth Together includes the intentions in dance related to purpose and carving a way. In 2012, Brown will add Everybody at the Table, which includes the inspirational ‘Higher Ground’, strengthening the sense of commitment and promising better days ahead.

Co-commissioning support provided by: NJPAC Alternate Routes/New Jersey Performing Arts Center, University of Florida Performing Arts, Wolf Trap Foundation for the Performing Arts, Ordway Center for the Performing Arts, Alabama Dance Council, and Reginald Van Lee. This piece was created in part during the residencies at The NYU Tisch Dance Residency Festival.

 GATEKEEPERS (1999/2012)

Length: 30 minutes. 8 dancers

Originally commissioned by Philadanco in 1999, Gatekeepers portrays dancers as “soldiers walking toward heaven, searching for the wounded and looking out to make a safe haven for others to follow.” The inspiration and influences for Gatekeepers include Native American myth and African traditions. The name “Gatekeeper” is given to a new­born child in some African cultures and preparations are made to welcome the child into the community. In these cultures, they often observe two worlds: the world of form (life) and the unseen world (afterlife). “Gatekeepers” guard a portal into the unseen world, where we connect with our ancestors in the afterlife if we are properly prepared. These cultures also believe that just as its community cares for the child, so must the child care for its elders when it is time to transition into the afterlife. The theme of preparing the way—a safe and peaceful way of life across generations, and our responsibility to help each other in this quest—is present in many of Brown’s works. Brown feels that mankind has a fundamental responsibility to serve each other as caregivers.


Length: 25 minutes. 4 male dancers, 1 child dancer

A story of brotherhood, community and struggle, the piece explores the relationships between generations, leveraging the precociousness of the young boy to balance the sometimes solemnity of the older men. In the piece, there is a focus on individual movement, but also on shared experience. The piece focuses on the individual humanity of each male figure, representing various family relationships. It also underscores collective actions, literally and figuratively via the dance movements.

ONE SHOT (2007)

Length: 75 minutes, excerpted segments 12 – 45 minutes. 6 – 7 dancers From 1936 – 1975, noted photographer Charles “Teenie” Harris captured many aspects of life in Pittsburgh: the spirit of childhood, the indulgences in decadence, and the soul of jazz. One Shot uses the idea of looking to the legacy of community and its echoing affect on other communities in their distinct definition and evolution. The work incorporates video projection by Clifton Taylor and music by Anonimo Consejo (“Palo & Machete”), Billy Strayhorn (“Johnnie Come Lately”), Ahmad Jamal (“Bellows” and “Poinciana”), Mary Lou Williams (“Free Spirits”), Arturo Sandoval (“Africa”), Mamadouba Mohammed Camara (“The Meeting Room”), Lena Horne (“Like Someone In Love,” “Someone To Watch Over Me,” “Concentrate On You”), and Phyllis Hyman (featuring McCoy Tyner, “In Search Of My Heart”).


Length: 18 minutes. 6 dancers

Taking its title from a song by Femi Kuti, Truth Don Die is a piece about joy. The song tells of a man who wakes up and decides to travel the world, telling people the word of God. Truth is the man’s name, and during his journey he is in an accident on one of the dangerous automobiles in his city in Nigeria. He should have died, but he didn’t because his life is an example of God’s blessings. The dance features music by Wunmi (“Woman Child”), Fred Hammond (“Your Steps Have Been Ordered”), Me Shell Ndegeocello (“Heaven”) and Femi Kuti (“Truth Don Die”).


Length: 20 minutes. 8 dancers

The work was built as the journey of three families to one destination a place where the heart was open. Ife/My Heart was originally commissioned and performed by the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater in 2005. Originally choreographed for the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater in 2005, Ife/My Heart looks at the parallel journey of 3 traditions towards love–Ife (loving one another the way God loves us). With costumes that reference the U.S., Cuba and West Africa the piece implores each of us to “release your heart” in response to the conflicts/conditions in the world and in personal relation­ships. The music celebrates a range of aesthetics including Ursula Rucker and Art Blakey.


Length: 80 minutes. 7 dancers

A collaboration with six-time Grammy Award Nominee Nnenna Freelon, Blueprint of a Lady: The Once and Future Life of Billie Holiday, is a tribute to the life and legacy of Billie Holiday. Ronald K. Brown uses movement to evoke Ms. Holiday’s feelings of pain, struggle, heartache, drive and success. With classics such as “God Bless the Child” and “Lover Man,” Freelon and Brown tell the story of universal triumph and redemption. The New York Times hails this collaboration as “a poetic take on Holiday’s life and art.”


Length: 27 minutes. 7 – 8 dancers

Order My Steps takes its title from Psalms 119 and explores ideas behind the scripture and seeing one’s life as a path. What is our direction? Is it correct and how do we deter-mine that? This contemporary dance is used as a vehicle to investigate the sense of purpose and obedience that comes into play when one recognizes “a calling.” Thematically, most of Evidence’s work presents a universal perspective that connects to more than one spiritual practice or ideology. Conversely, Order My Steps is fueled by a specific inspirational text. Narration by poet Chad Boseman is included as well as music by Fred Hammond (“Success Is In Your Hands”), Terry Riley (“Echoes of Primordial Time” and “Mongolian Winds,” performed by Kronos Quartet) and Bob Marley (“War/No More Trouble” and “Exodus”).

GRACE (1999/2004)

Length: 33 minutes. 7 – 8 dancers

Originally choreographed in 1999 for Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre and now considered a masterpiece in the Ailey repertory, Evidence brings its own unique style to the performance of Grace, added to the Evidence repertory in 2004. The piece is an homage and ode to God’s grace and Mr. Ailey’s legacy embodied in the physical journey of dance. Set to the music of Duke Ellington (“Come Sunday,” sung by Jimmy McPhail and “Come Sunday,” sung by Jennifer Holliday), Roy Davis Jr. (“Gabriel” and “Rock Shock”) and Fela Anikulapo Kuti (“Shakara”).

COME YE (2003)

Length: 27 minutes. 7 – 8 dancers

Inspired by the music and sociopolitical legacies of artists/activists Nina Simone and Fela Kuti, this multimedia work utilizes Mr. Brown’s signature style of kinetic storytelling through African, Caribbean, modern, ballet and social dance styles to summon warriors, angels and activists dedicated to the pursuit of liberation and peace amidst the strug­gles of human conflict. This work includes music by Nina Simone (“Come Ye,” “Sunday in Savannah,” and “Revolution”) and Fela Kuti (“Kalakuta” and “Coffin for Head of State”) and a video collage by Robert Penn.


Length: 55 minutes, excerpted segments 20-25 minutes. 4 dancers

Walking Out the Dark is constructed as a danced conversation between mother

brother, sister, lover, friend. The piece aims to examine what impedes our ability to assist one another in a time of need. The work draws on the idea that in America we do not have codified rituals of self-examination and healing as in other societies. The work utilizes this contrast to show how culture and ritual can affect us. The text is excerpted from a series of letters by Ronald K. Brown. The score includes music by Phillip Hamilton (“Freedom”), Sweet Honey in the Rock (“O Death”) and Francisco Mora. The movement is a fusion of spiritual dances from Benin, Cuba, and Côte d’lvoire.

HIGH LIFE (2000)

Length: 33 Minutes. 7-8 dancers

High Life is built as images of migration and discovery of decadence. This dance looks at the movement, stories and music that describe the journey of the American Negro from the rural south to the north. The work also examines music, fashion and culture which developed in West African cities as young people and families left in their villages making their way to the dreams and aspirations pregnant in developing metropolises. The implications of new found freedom and self-determination are addressed in this dance, where celebration and new beginnings are examined alongside the traditional and cultural values that are lost during the discovery of so called liberation. The music score includes; Oscar Brown Jr., Nikki Giovanni, The JB’s, The Nikengas, The Ashantis, Fela Anikulapo Kuti, with the original music by Wunmi Olaya.


Length: 71 minutes, excerpted segments 10-20 minutes. 4 dancers

Incidents is being re-mounted for the 2008/2009 season. The piece was created from a collection of images inspired by several historical texts including Harriet Jacobs’ “Incident in the Life of a Slave Girl.” The images in the work allude to residual physical manifestations and emotional responses that have helped to shape the character of women of African Descent. The evening-length dance, which is also performed in excerpts, utilizes the music of The Staple Singers, Aretha Franklin, and Wunmi and text by Moms Mabley, Anna Russell and Ronald K. Brown.


Length: 21 minutes. 7 – 8 dancers

Upside Down begins with the premonition of community mourning. The dance contin­ues as a race that reflects the impetus that drives the individual towards their destiny. The score begins with Malian vocalist Oumou Sangare’s “Kun Fe Ko” (The Uncertainty of Things), a song which says the destiny of a child is in God’s hands. The remainder of Upside Down is set to Fela Anikulapo Kuti’s song of the same title, which tells the story of chaos and corruption, because of the abuse of power and the ever-strong desire for wealth. The dance uses the loss of a community member as a rite and calls for solidarity. The ascension and passing on of one soul is also used as an image to reflect that the destiny is to the self.


Length: 22 minutes. 7 – 8 dancers

Set to an original score by Wunmi, Ebony Magazine: to a Village begins with a parade of individuals preoccupied with their own façade and beauty. The mantra in the score, “do you see what I see” is a challenge to question one’s perceptions. The movement allows the dancers to shift from their self-consciousness to a physicality that is more connected to the ground and ultimately to each other. Ebony Magazine: to a Village was originally commissioned and performed by Cleo Parker Robinson Dance Ensemble and became a part of the Evidence repertory in March 1998.