Nashville, Tenn. – January 18, 2022 – Contemporary arts center OZ Arts Nashville today announced it will present performances from acclaimed choreographer Ronald K. Brown and dance company EVIDENCE from February 10-12, 2022, in OZ Arts’ expansive creative warehouse. The program will feature three original works by Brown titled Grace, Mercy and his latest piece titled The Equality of Night and Day: First Glimpse featuring text by Angela Davis and a score by Jason Moran.
Brown has been hailed as a “modern dance savior” by The New York Times and founded EVIDENCE in 1985 as an expression of the unique views of human struggles, tragedies, and triumphs through a seamless integration of traditional African dance, contemporary choreography and spoken word.
“With this remarkable trilogy of performances, Brown’s signature choreography takes audience members on a spiritual journey that honors Africa and African American traditions while sparking insightful conversations around equity in our present-day society,” said Mark Murphy, OZ Arts Executive and Artistic Director. “It’s an honor to host the work of such an influential choreographer here in Nashville and share his timely message with audiences in this current moment.”
One of his best-known pieces, Grace, was originally choreographed for the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater in 1985. It tells the story of a goddess’ journey to earth to spread grace among humans, ultimately welcoming them to heaven. Described by The New York Times as “astounding, something to be sensed as well as seen,” this spiritually charged work is a rapturous blend of modern dance and West African idioms. Brown’s varied music choices closely reflect the heart of the work, with the spiritual grounding of Duke Ellington’s “Come Sunday,” the contemporary yet timeless house music vibe of Roy Davis’ “Gabriel,” and the West African and African American traditions of Fela Kuti’s Afro-Pop beats.
Commissioned by Fisher Center at Bard and The Joyce Theater, Mercy marks the first collaboration between Ronald K. Brown and visionary vocalist, composer, and bassist Meshell Ndegeocello. The piece focuses on seeking compassion, which leads one to have mercy. In this work, the dancers embark on a physical journey towards justice in response to assault that resolves in joy and surrender.
Finally, coming to Nashville following its world premiere at the prestigious Kennedy Center, Brown’s latest work, The Equality of Night and Day: First Glimpse, features an original score by acclaimed jazz pioneer Jason Moran, set to spoken word by educator and activist Angela Davis. This new, in-progress work is the third installment in a trilogy examining balance, equity and fairness in light of the conflicting present-day issues that young people, women and people of color face in a world where exploitation, gentrification, racism and xenophobia are on the rise.
The company’s residency in Nashville will also include a free master class for local dancers at TM Productions. For more details, visit the OZ Arts Nashville website.
Tickets for the evening including Grace, Mercy, and The Equality of Night and Day: First Glimpse begin at $25 and are on sale now at the following link. OZ Arts is invested in the health of its guests, artists and the overall community. Proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test taken within 72 hours prior to the event is required to attend this event.
This performance is made possible by the New England Foundation for the Arts’ National Dance Project, with lead funding from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation and The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. To learn more about upcoming performances at OZ, please visit www.ozartsnashville.org.
About OZ Arts Nashville
Founded in 2013 by the Ozgener family, OZ Arts Nashville has quickly established itself as one of the Southeast's most influential and respected producers and presenters focused on the creation and presentation of significant performing and visual art works by diverse cultural visionaries who are making vital contributions to the evolution of contemporary culture. Through performances, exhibitions, and community events, OZ Arts focuses on producing and presenting the work of local and visiting artists who reflect our diverse society, utilize new artistic forms and technology in creative ways, and provide opportunities for meaningful engagement with audiences, students and cultural and civic leaders. OZ Arts' unique creative warehouse has developed a reputation as a major national and regional laboratory for experimentation and a home for contemporary dance and performance. More than 50,000 audience members have been introduced to adventurous artists from around the world since the organization opened, and hundreds of local and regional artists have used OZ’s 10,000 square-foot warehouse theater to develop new works. For more information, please visit ozartsnashville.org.
About Ronald K. Brown and EVIDENCE, A Dance Company
Internationally-acclaimed choreographer Ronald K. Brown formed his company EVIDENCE in 1985, and the group has since toured throughout the world. Brown is a master choreographer and visionary storyteller whose distinct blend of West African, Caribbean, and contemporary genres is embedded with an unmatched sense of musicality, spiritual traditions, and humanity. An advocate for the growth of the African American dance community for over thirty years, Brown creates works that show audiences “the evidence of themselves and the evidence of our human condition,” and tells stories of human struggles, tragedies, and triumphs.
Brown was nineteen when he created a solo called Evidence, a work which embodied the philosophical basis of his choreography and company. Based in Brooklyn, EVIDENCE, A Dance Company focuses on the seamless integration of traditional African dance with contemporary choreography and spoken word. Brown uses movement as a way to reinforce the community in African American culture and to acquaint audiences with the beauty of traditional African forms and rhythms.
Today, Brown is one of the most sought-after choreographers, and has created over 100 works for his own dance company EVIDENCE, in addition to companies like Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, Cleo Parker Robinson Dance Ensemble, PHILADANCO, and Ballet Hispánico, among others. The subject of his work varies from the depiction of a Goddess’ journey to Earth to spread grace among humans (Grace, 1985; and a call to fight for peace inspired by music and sociopolitical legacies of artist/activists Nina Simone and Fela Kuti (Come Ye, 2002); to a soulful, uplifting dance set to Afro-Cuban jazz music by GRAMMY-Award winning Arturo O’Farrill (New Conversations: Iron Meets Water, 2018).
Brown won the prestigious 2020 Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival Award, and has won a Fred & Adele Astaire Award for Outstanding Choreography in the Tony Award-winning The Gershwin's Porgy & Bess, adapted by Suzan Lori Parks, arrangement by Diedre Murray and directed by Diane Paulus. In addition, Brown was named Def Dance Jam Workshop Mentor of the Year in 2000, and has received a John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Fellowship, National Endowment for the Arts Choreographers Fellowship, New York Foundation for the Arts Fellowship, United States Artists Fellowship, and The Ailey Apex Award for teaching.