If you are looking for juicy movement carried on cross-cultural currents, there’s no choreographer more satisfying than Ronald K. Brown. When he dances, a force seems to lift him upward but also keep him close to the Earth. Chalk it up to the African-infused vocabulary that comes naturally to him. He’s trained his company to dance with the same commitment, but to my eye, no one dances quite like Brown himself.
So, for a special treat during the 30th anniversary of his company Evidence, which starts today, he is performing a solo, Through Time and Culture, made last year.
Ron K. Bown's Evidence in The Subtle One, photo by Ayodele Casel.
In this feature story, written during Evidence’s 25th anniversary, Karyn Collins traces Brown from a little boy who made his first dance after seeing an Ailey performance, to the 18-year-old who started his own company, to the sought-after choreographer he has become. She also talks to the dancers about how they transfer the "gumbo' of global dance forms that reside naturally in his body to their bodies.
This video collage of his work over time shows his dancers performing his movement—deliciously—plus a short clip of his own dancing. Like gospel music, his choreography is guided by both struggle and spirituality.
In this "Choreography in Focus," which Ron and I shot in 2012, he talks about admiring Mary Anthony’s dances because they were “about people." He also describes how he got the entire cast of the Broadway musical Porgy and Bess up on their feet dancing—for which he won an Astaire Award. He even added a scene that helped define Broadway star Audra McDonald’s character through movement.
One thing is sure: Of all the choreographers whose companies have made it to 30, Ron Brown is the youngest.
Evidence brings two programs to the Joyce, February 24 to March 1. For tickets, click here.
Essential oils sometimes get a bad rap.Between the aggressive social media marketing for the products and the sometimes magical-sounding claims about their healing properties, it's easy to forget what they can actually do.But if you look beyond the pyramid schemes and exaggerations, experts believe they have legit benefits to offer both mind and body.
How can dancers take advantage of their medicinal properties? We asked Amy Galper, certified aromatherapist and co-founder of the New York Institute of Aromatic Studies:
Karen Azenberg, a past president of the Stage Directors and Choreographers Society, stumbled on something peculiar before the union's 2015 move to new offices: a 52-year-old sealed envelope with a handwritten note attached. It was from Agnes de Mille, the groundbreaking choreographer of Oklahoma! and Rodeo. De Mille, a founding member of SDC, had sealed the envelope with gold wax before mailing it to the union and asking, in a separate note, that it not be opened. The reason? "It is the outline for a play, and I have no means of copyrighting…The material is eminently stealable."