His eye is on the sparrow
If you start a dance company at 19, you’re likely to be in good shape when your 25th anniversary comes around. Ronald K. Brown’s Evidence/A Dance Company, a Brooklyn-based troupe whose leader’s work has been seen on the Ailey dancers, brings both his “greatest hits” and a new piece to the Joyce.
Brown fuses African styles with contemporary sensibility. He makes liturgical dance of the highest order; at its center is always a relationship to God and community. His pieces are usually performed to music with words; powerful moments in the 1995 “Lessons: Exotica/Harm to the Dangerous,” are accompanied by a recording of Civilla D. Martin’s glorious lyrics to “His Eye is on the Sparrow.” In the new “On Earth Together” to songs by Stevie Wonder, the dancers actually touch each other; their behavior is sensuous without being lewd.
The barefoot performers, of many sizes and shapes, move their arms and torsos with great fluency, carving space, exposing chests that seem to reach toward heaven. This season Brown brings into the company’s repertory “Ife/My Heart,” made for the Ailey company in 2005; on his own troupe it looks absolutely exquisite.