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Evidence: Dance company blends African dance with Black culture

admin | 2/15/2012, 7:30 a.m.

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Artistic Director Ronald Brown uses movement to communicate

Brooklyn-born and raised Ronald K. Brown, 45, choreographed his first piece when he was in the second grade and says he always wanted to dance. Hes come a long way since then, eventually founding his own dance company called Evidence, that focuses on the fusion of traditional African dance with contemporary choreography and spoken world. Browns troupe will be featured Saturday, Feb. 18 at the South Miami-Dade Cultural Arts Center and will perform a new work inspired by the music of Stevie Wonder, On Earth Together. Two other dances, also conceived by Brown, will be featured: Ife: My Heart and Upside Down. The Stevie Wonder dance is our newest piece and is about compassion and how we become responsible citizens in the world, Brown said. It also points to the importance of treating those who are closest to us and with whom we are in personal relationships like they matter. Only then can you expand your efforts and attempt to show compassion to those in the world that you dont know. Brown has 10 dancers in his company and likens himself to a teacher and mentor for each of them. He started Evidence 26 years ago and like most dance companies, has had his share of tough times. There was a time [1999] when we were touring 20 to 30 weeks a year and it was incredible, he said. But for the past three years with the economy things have slowed down. During the rough times I worked for the sake of the work. I knew things would turn around for us. Thats how life goes sometimes. I first began studying dance in a class with 90 girls. And I was still trying to be cool on the block. You know how hard that was. I would dance anywhere including my moms living room. Later, I was offered a college scholarship for journalism but turned it down so I could learn more about dance. My mom always encouraged me but she also told me to get a job in the meantime. Once I got over the fear I was able to push forward. Evidence is a company that reminds people of their family and hopefully, their ancestors too. Its contemporary dance grounded in traditional sensibility from west Africa and the Caribbean. Our dances are intended to lift people up. When they see our work, I want them to see God and to see the light to see the spirit that dwells within us all. By D. Kevin McNeirkmcneir@miamitimesonline.com