Celeb Packed Crowd Gives Ronald K. Brown’s
Troupe Standing Ovation


Reginald Van Lee With Pamela Joyner, Rhonda Ross
Tamara Tumie And Gregory Generet

Ronald K. Brown’s acclaimed Evidence, A Dance Company held its 7th Annual Evidence Gala…A Breath of Spring on Tuesday, April 12, 2011 in The Grand Ballroom at Manhattan Center. Once again it was one of the season’s most glamorous, star studded affairs. The evening began with cocktails on the mezzanine overlooking the brightly decorated ballroom. The tables all covered in deep orange with masses of spring blooms designed transformed the historic ballroom visually into a field of flowers. While there was enough Moet Chandon Champagne and libations to float an ocean liner, most guests opted for the special cocktail created for the occasion by the master mixologists at sponsor Belvedere Vodka, The Belvedere Grand Cosmopolitan – a delightful mix of Belvedere Vodka, Grand Marnier Cranberry Juice and fresh lime.

Honorary Chair Pamela Joyner a vision in a voluminous gown and Evidence Chairman Emeritus the always nattily clad Reginald Van Lee warmly greeted such old friends as , new Evidence Board member Larry Satterfield, actress Rhonda Ross (daughter of Diana) looking svelte in a slinky black gown, philanthropist Alicia Bythewood and her lovely daughter Brie also opted for sexy, clinging black as did Andrea Dubois; longtime board members Andrea Hoffman in coral, Joanne Hill and Gail Monroe Perry both in shimmering red and Joyce Mullins Jackson in a gold flaked tunic dress literally lit up the balcony; actress and model Princess Keisha Omilana showing off her shapely legs in a purple mini, ditto - and unplanned - was Princess Omo Okieme also in a purple halter mini!

Then the crowd literally parted at the arrival of the evening’s co-emcees Tamara Tunie the beautiful and radiant star of Law and Order SVU and her handsome husband jazz vocalist Gregory Generet The stunning couple drew admiring glances from many of the crowd. At the last moment, to the crowd’s added delight, America’s favorite TV mom, Phylicia Rashad of The Cosby Show fame arrived looking drop dead gorgeous and smiling to all. Never the diva, Ms. Rashad signed autographs, posed with guests, answered awe struck reporters questions sweetly and charmed all.

The extremely professional staff of renowned caterer Canard, Inc passed such delectable treats as mini mac & cheese squares, crab cakes, tuna tartar and one of the surprise hits of the evening -Buffalo chicken wing lollipops with a celery stick.

Following cocktails guests headed down to the ballroom where Tamara Tunie and Gregory hilariously welcomed all. The very funny couple are a modern day Stiller & Meara and kept the mood light and playful before announcing the evenings two award recipients – Janice Combs and United Airlines, Combs though was unable to attend, accepted the 2011 Inspiration Award in absentee.

Felicia Daniels who for many years through her position with Continental Airlines, has been an ardent and valued supporter of Evidence accepted the 2011 Corporate Award for United Airlines which recently merged as equals with Continental to create the world’s leading airline.

Following the awards - and in a break with tradition - for the first time there was a theater style performance by the Company of the recently premiered, critically acclaimed “On Earth Together”, choreographed by Ronald K. Brown, Artistic Director and inspired by the music of Stevie Wonder, especially his songs of social consciousness and responsibility. The movement vocabulary incorporates Afro-Cuban dances based on the Orisha deity Ogun, social dances form Zaire and the Ivory Coast and Zulu dances form South Africa all fused into the contemporary style that has become the Evidence signature.

Brown and his company – Associate Artistic Director Arcell Cabuag Otis Donovan Herring, Maresa D’Amore-Morrison, Waldean Nelson, Annique Roberts, Lilli Ann Tai and Clarice Young - , simply soared in this powerful story telling dance. Kudos to Technical Director & Lighting Designer Dalila Kee for the magnificent mood setting light and sound design. The audience showed their love with a standing ovation and thunderous applause.

Then the fun started with Tamara & Generet welcoming auctioneer Patrick Tully to the stage. Tully, a master of his craft and a great wit to boot, worked his way quickly (and successfully for Evidence) spectacular one -of -a -kind-experiences. There was fierce bidding on a trip to Hollywood and tickets to the infamous Playboy Mansion Halloween Party, a vacation stay for eight at the sumptuous Viceroy Anguilla Resort and an elegant dinner prepared by famed chef Todd English.

After the bidding wars ceased, Reginald Van Lee took to the microphone with an impassioned plea for “Bricks & Mortars” donations starting at $5,000 and working down as low as $25 he drew a bid for every dollar amount he called. Reggie who is a well known arts philanthropist could clearly have a second career as an auctioneer!

For those not able to attend please know that you can bid on dozens more luxury items and special one of a kind experiences such as 6-Course Tasting Dinner with Wine at the acclaimed 5 and Diamond restaurant in NYC Plus a Private Cooking Class with star Chef David Martinez or 2 Tickets to The Hottest Hamptons Party The Art For Life East Hampton Event on July 30, 2011 with a Meet and Greet with Russell Simmons and Danny Simmons

Gala Sponsors were Belvedere Vodka; BET Networks; Booz, Allen Hamilton, Fed Ex, The Dimon Family Foundation, Bruce Gordon & Tawana Tibbs, United Airlines and Verizon. Caterer for the Gala was New York’s highly regarded Canard Inc. The event was coordinated by The JFM Group.

Gala Supporters included Raven & Zaid Abdul-Aleem, Tanika Brown, Willis Burton, Deborah Chatman, T. Troy & Keisha Dixon, W. Anthony Edison, Tanesha Francis, Carla Harris & Victor Franklin, Joyce & Bruce A. Gates, Joanne E. Hill, Pamela Joyner & Alfred J. Giuffrida, Henry McGee, Gail Monroe Perry, Larry Satterfield & Michael Ward, Russell Simmons and Reginald Van Lee. Gala Benefit Committee includes Peg Alston, Dorria L. Ball, Yolanda & Alvin Brown, Susan L. Taylor & Khephra Burns, Alicia Bythewood, Nicole J. Coward, Glenn E. Davis, Sally & Mike Hipscher, Andrea Hoffman, Loida N. Lewis, Jonelle Procope, Asha Richards, Janice Savin Williams and Christopher J. Williams.

Evidence, A Dance Company is supported by a very involved and committed Board of Directors under the leadership of Zaid Abdul-Aleem Chairman, Joanne E. Hill, Vice-Chairman, Gail Monroe-Perry, Secretary and Reginald Van Lee, Chairman Emeritus. Board members include Dwayne Ashley, Monica F. Azare, Reginald Canal, Andrea Hoffman, Leslie Mays, James Sullivan, Jocelyn Taylor and Dr. Ancy Verdier.

The mission of Evidence is to promote understanding of the human experience in the African Diaspora through dance and storytelling and to provide sensory connections to history and tradition through music, movement, and spoken word, leading deeper into issues of spirituality, community responsibility and liberation.