As part of the University of Notre Dame’s Walk the Walk Week—a weeklong celebration of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day—the New York-based dance company EVIDENCE, founded by artistic director Ron K. Brown, brought its fusion of traditional African and contemporary dance to the DeBartolo Performing Arts Center for the second time in the Presenting Series’ history. Their weeklong residency included introductory to advanced dance instruction for the South Bend Community School Corporation’s arts magnet schools, and masterclasses for Notre Dame and St. Mary’s dance students.
Through work, EVIDENCE provides a unique view of human struggles, tragedies, and triumphs. Brown uses movement as a way to reinforce the importance of community in African American culture and to acquaint audiences with the beauty of traditional African forms and rhythms. He is an advocate for the growth of the African American dance community and is instrumental in encouraging young dancers to choreograph and to develop careers in dance.
For this performance, 16 community participants, ages 10 to 64, were selected in open auditions to rehearse and perform with the dance troupe during the program’s second half in the piece On Earth Together. Stories of liberation and peace come to life in dance to the soulful music of artists/activists Nina Simone, Fela Kuti, and Stevie Wonder.