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University of Iowa News Release

Jan. 14, 2005

Dance Company Performs At UI Feb. 1-4 For Black History Month

Ronald K. Brown/Evidence Dance Company will conclude a four-day, Black History Month residency at the University of Iowa with a performance at 8 p.m. Friday, Feb. 4 in Hancher Auditorium.

The residency will also include:

-- a free community event at 7:30 Tues, Feb. 1, in  Old Brick;

-- a Stage Door performance for area school groups on Feb. 2;

-- an interview with Nancy Hagen on KSUI at 10:30 a.m. Thursday, Feb. 3; and

-- a discussion with audience members in Hancher following the Friday performance.

All dances on the program are choreographed by Ronald K. Brown, using music by Fela Anikulapo Kuti, who has been called the Nigerian Bob Marley. The dance pieces are:

-- "Grace," which Brown says is about "people who are living their lives without acknowledging the grace that surrounds their individual existences. . . Ultimately, most of my work is about people trying to get to the temple of God, or trying to be god-like -- to perform the work here on earth that we are supposed to do";

-- "Upside Down," which uses the loss of a community member as a rite and a call for solidarity; and

-- "Come Ye," which aims to express the idea of summoning soldiers, warriors and angels who are dedicated to liberation and willing to fight for their lives and ultimately for peace.

"Grace" was originally choreographed for the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater.

Ronald K. Brown/Evidence, based in Brooklyn, NY, has presented work since 1985, performing in a style uniquely his own -- described by a Dance Magazine article as a "polyglot African-club-hip-hop-postmodern vocabulary that he invented."

New York Times dance critic Anna Kisselgoff wrote, "As a modern-dance choreographer, Ronald K. Brown has moved over the last 15 years into a class by of himself. The depth of his work lies in an original high-energy idiom drawn from various sources and in the way this vocabulary fuses with his themes.

"These themes are spiritual, and even those who do not believe there is a promised land might agree that Mr. Brown makes a Journey in that direction look persuasive and powerful."

A review in the Cincinnati Inquirer observed, "Ronald K. Brown/Evidence builds dances to a frenetic pace -- and then takes off from there.

"Mr. Brown is the sole choreographer of this African-American company. He's Brooklyn-born and New York-raised, but he explores movement with an Ivory Coast sensibility. The result is contemporary dance that's either Americanized African or Africanized American -- it's hard to tell which part of his heritage has the stronger influence, so interwoven are the movements.

"Mr. Brown is a modern-trained dancer who decided in the 1980s to tell stories through dance and in essence developed an Afro-American folklore. . . . He's relentlessly inventive; his dances chock-full of activity."

Sarah Kaufman wrote in the Washington Post, "Grand themes are typically present in Ronald K. Brown's work: the primacy of God, the African-American journey, the importance of individual responsibility and accountability. . . .

"Brown's choreography has zoomed to the forefront of modern dance by virtue of its exquisitely sculpted movement, and a compelling sense that the dancing springs from a deep well of spiritual urgency. Though the idea of blending modern dance with African dance is as old as Katherine Dunham, Brown's fusion of the two idioms is uniquely his own, and his work looks like no one else's."

In addition to performing at many venues in New York, Evidence has been seen at numerous festivals in the United States and abroad including the Lyon/Biennale de la Danse, Jacob's Pillow Dance Festival, American Dance Festival, National Black Arts Festival, Colorado Dance Festival, It's Queer Up North Festival and the Exit Festival

Richard and Mary Jo Stanley are the local sponsors of the performance, through the University of Iowa Foundation.

Tickets for the Feb. 4 performance of Ronald K. Brown/Evidence Dance Company are $33/30/27; UI student $29.70/15; senior citizen $29.70/27/24.30; youth $23.10/21/18.90.

Hancher Auditorium box office business hours are 10 a.m.-5:30 p.m. weekdays and 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturdays. From the local calling area, dial 319-335-1160. Long distance is toll-free, 1-800-HANCHER. Fax to 319-353-2284. People with special needs for access, seating and auxiliary services should dial 319-335-1158, which is equipped with TDD for people with hearing impairment who use that technology.

Tickets may be ordered on-line 24 hours a day, seven days a week through Hancher's website: http://www.hancher.uiowa.edu.

Orders may be charged to VISA, MasterCard or American Express. UI students may charge their purchases to their university bills, and UI faculty and staff may select the option of payroll deduction. Information and brochures may be requested by e-mail: hancher-box-office@uiowa.edu.

For UI arts information and calendar updates, visit http://www.uiowa.edu/artsiowa. To receive UI arts news by e-mail, ur-acr@uiowa.edu.

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa Arts Center Relations, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 351, Iowa City, IA 52242-2500.

MEDIA CONTACT: Winston Barclay, 319-384-0073, winston-barclay@uiowa.edu.

PHOTOS are available at http://www.uiowa.edu/hancher/media.html.