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Ronald K. Brown. Photo: Stephen lllflo Edwards. Courtesy of Jacob’s Pillow.

Ronald K. Brown Receives $25,000 Jacob’s Pillow Dance Award

Jacob’s Pillow has selected choreographer and founder of the Evidence dance company Ronald K. Brown as the recipient of this year’s $25,000 dance award. Known for incorporating West African, Caribbean, and contemporary genres in his works, Brown has created more than one hundred performances for Evidence, as well as for the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, Cleo Parker Robinson Dance Ensemble, PHILADANCO, Ballet Hispánico, and a number of other companies.

“I’m honored beyond measure for this recognition from Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival,” Brown said in a statement. “I still remember all of the times Evidence has premiered works at the Pillow especially our first, Dirt Road in 1994 and most recently New Conversations: Iron Meets Water in 2018. I often tell students and mentees to ‘work for the sake of the work, and not for the sake of the goal,’ and to find gratitude in every opportunity to share your purpose.”

Brown was nineteen when he produced a solo called Evidence, which embodied the philosophical basis of his choreography and the Brooklyn-based company he established in 1985. Evidence toured in Brazil, Cuba, England, France, Greece, Hungary, Mexico, Nigeria, and Senegal, among other countries, introducing new audiences to traditional African forms and rhythms. The company also worked with dancers such as Camile A. Brown; Shani Nwando Ikerioha Collins; and its current rehearsal director, Annique Roberts.

Jacob’s Pillow executive and artistic director Pamela Tatge remarked, “At the start of the year, I thought deeply about who should receive this award and it was such an honor to call Ron in January and give him the news. Ron is an artist of great power who is being recognized for his vision and a signature vocabulary that is deeply grounded and visceral while also highly spiritual and transcendent. In all of his works, Ron is there: a radiant human being who is deeply dedicated to dance as a means of transformation and action. I couldn’t be more excited that he will be receiving this award.”

Brown’s contribution to dance will be celebrated at “Dance We Must: A Virtual Event Supporting Jacob’s Pillow,” which will present an excerpt from his work Come Ye, performed at Jacob’s Pillow in 2018, and will be streamed online for free on Saturday, June 20 at 7 PM EST.