I’m not the hugest fan of Dance Theater because I feel there’s always a void that can only be filled through words. So, sitting in the theater waiting for Ronald K. Brown/Evidence, I can’t help but anticipate the levels of boredom I will suffer through. I sit and joke with my cousin Kieran, “this show will probably be nothing more than evidence that adults can charge an arm and a leg for prancing around on stage simply by calling it art”. As I wait, I ask myself what is the role, the function of evidence. Evidence is supposed to point us to some sort of conclusion... so it makes sense that it was not until after the show that I was able to truly put things in perspective.
I lead my life searching for the deeper meanings in words, but never with much attention paid to kinesthesia (you know, body language). To me, movements hold arbitrary meanings. I realize dance produces a language, but the source of my confusion, my reserve was rooted in the fact that I could not translate. Rather than translate through the language of an analyst, I had to seek understanding through the language of the spoken word artist, so I went home and I wrote. I wrote my feelings, my understandings, my experience and this was the result:
Thought I walked through life with eyes wide open
But truly I stupor, blurred vision, I’m hoping
For a place to call home.
Baptized in a river blue, where once my fathers’ blood ran red
Simply for not being “White”
Publish my story in a history book
Sing songs of my struggle for civil rights
It’s a griot, a djeli, a Black Macchiavelli
To philosophize, over forms of protest
Hypothesize, as to why “il ne potest”
But at some point one must say, “Yes I Can”.
Go through the breaking, the shaking, the pressing
Be anointed by the holy oil
Receive your blessing
And dance your way through life.
Now I can translate.
I can understand what the dancers say with their bodies as they dance to a Civil Rights speech that although not musical by nature, possesses a steady beat. As two chocolate women become one, intertwining themselves on stage, a message of unity is drawn. There is no distinction between light skin and dark skin, it is a message that we are one. I went home content knowing that whether dancing to afro-beats, moving to disco, or pouring out one’s soul to gospel music, dance definitely communicates.
The dancers moving in unison is representative that we should move through life in unison, regardless of race, creed, religion, etc. Diversity is to be celebrated. I rode home and a man on the train asked for change. I watched as people said they had nothing to spare, but they forgot the most important thing, Love. I offered the man a prayer, because he wasn’t asking for coins, he was asking for change, for compassion. Ronald K. Brown/Evidence made it so evident, that in life, when met with prejudice and injustice, we must exact change.