Ronald K. Brown/Evidence | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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Ronald K. Brown/Evidence

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Apparently African-American choreographer Ronald K. Brown--who established his

company, Evidence, in New York in 1985--specializes in identity politics. The new piece his ten-member troupe will perform here, High Life, is said to describe "the American Negro's journey from the rural south to the north." On one program they'll also perform excerpts from Better Days, a piece exploring "how gay men of African descent have tackled issues surrounding masculinity, faith and sustenance": the first section, set to a devotional song, shows a bare-chested man clasping his head as the female singer intones "I know He watches me" (apparently a mixed blessing); the second, set to a bluesy soul song, features club-style dancing; and in the third, two male couples move to a jazzy percussion-guitar score. Brown's choreography characteristically blends modern and jazz movements with African dance; relentlessly serious and often repetitive, it loops back through phrases over and over again. High Life will be performed on all three programs, as will excerpts from Upside Down, said to reflect on "the impetus that drives the individual towards his/her identity." Excerpts from Better Days (which we're warned contains "graphic language and movement") will be danced Friday only, and excerpts from Incidents--about how the identities of African-American women have been formed--Thursday and Saturday only. Dance Center of Columbia College, 1306 S. Michigan, 312-344-8300. Opens Thursday, May 3, 8 PM. Through May 5: Friday-Saturday, 8 PM. $20. Note: The company will offer a free preview Sunday, April 29, from 1 to 1:30 PM at the DuSable Museum of African American History, 740 E. 56th Pl., and a master class the same day from 5 to 7 PM at the Old Town School of Folk Music, 4544 N. Lincoln; $15, no reservations.

--Laura Molzahn

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Rose Eichenbaum.

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