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Grace and Mercy

Commission and residency for Ronald K. Brown / EVIDENCE and Meshell Ndegeocello for world premiere dance with all live music

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The New York Times Reviews ‘Grace and Mercy’

“Only a stone could not have felt the spirit.”

Brian Seibert from The New York Times reviews ‘Grace and Mercy.’ Click here to read.

Photo by Julieta Cervantes

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The New York Times Previews ‘Gracy and Mercy’

“[The dances are] otherworldly, charged, urgent in their undulating sweep and unaffectedly fervent. His blend of modern dance and movement from African traditions weaves a rich, poetic language that has the ability to lift the spirit — even if it’s just for a night.”

Read Gia Kourlas’ preview of Grace and Mercy in The New York Times.

Image by An Rong Xu for The New York Times


Grace and Mercy is a two-part evening-length production by Ronald K. Brown / EVIDENCE dance company. The first part is Mercy, a new work with original music composed and performed live by Meshell Ndegeocello. The second part is Grace [live], a 20th anniversary restaging of Ronald K. Brown’s Grace, performed with all live music for the first time.

Mercy is the first collaboration between choreographer Ronald K. Brown and singer-songwriter/bassist Meshell Ndegeocello. These artists are leaders in their fields, celebrated for breaking down social barriers with their iconoclastic and sublime approach to music and dance making.

Brown’s work is rooted in the human experience, promoting understanding of the African Diaspora through dance and storytelling. It provides sensory connections to history and tradition through music, movement, and spoken word, leading deeper into issues of spirituality, community responsibility, and liberation. Ndegeocello’s music has sparked a new movement in soul music and has earned her 10 Grammy nominations. She recently received a Creative Capital Award for her project No More Water/The Fire Next Time: The Gospel According to James Baldwin. Her critically acclaimed album “Ventriloquism” earned a spot on the New York Times ‘Best Performances of 2018’ list.

The second part of Grace and Mercy is a new staging of Brown’s 1999 work Grace, originally choreographed for the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre with music by Duke Ellington, Roy Davis Jr., and Fela Anikulapo Kuti. Reviewing its premiere in The New York Times, critic Anna Kisselgoff praised its “fireball intensity” as “astounding, something to be sensed as well as seen.” For Grace [live], Jennifer Holliday, Peven Everret, and others will perform the complete score live for the first time.

Grace and Mercy is commissioned by the Fisher Center, where it will premiere July 5-7 as part of the 2019 SummerScape Festival.

Project Media

“New Conversations: Iron Meets Water” by Ronald K. Brown / EVIDENCE with Arturo O’Farrill and Resist
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Features: Ronald Brown

This excerpt of Ronald K. Brown’s “New Conversations: Iron Meets Water” demonstrates the intersection of contemporary practice with traditional African and Caribbean movement vocabularies that is characteristic of his work. In this project, the power of this choreography is equaled by the presence of live music by Arturo O’Farrill and Resist. The extraordinary dancers of EVIDENCE exemplify the synergy of live music and dance that will define “Grace and Mercy.”

“Sensitivity” by Meshell Ndegeocello
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This music video for the track “Sensitivity” on “Ventriloquism,” Ndegeocello’s lauded 2018 album, demonstrates the sense of movement present in her practice as a composer and performer. Her reimagining of Ralph Tresvant’s 1990 composition affords not only a new musical experience but also a comment on the narrow expectations of sounds and structures for black artists and black music.

“Waterfalls” by Meshell Ndegeocello
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This video from Ndegeocello’s 2018 album shows her interest in work with dancers. In naming the album one of the “Best Performances of 2018,” New York Times critic Wesley Morris noted that Ndegeocello “is a visionary and a sensualist who sings with notes of honey, molasses and tar. Here, she finds the foundational groove of each song then builds a new house around it, making the songs all hers, and with a blend of funk and twang that makes them suitable for both sexy time and the front porch.”

Start and End Dates



Annandale-on-Hudson, New York

2 updates
Last update on July 7, 2019

Project Created By

Annandale-on-Hudson, New York
The Richard B. Fisher Center for the Performing Arts at Bard College, designed by Frank Gehry, embodies the College’s commitment to the performing arts as a cultural and educational necessity. The Center’s adventurous programs and world-class facilities provide an outstanding environment in which to create, perform, learn, and experience. Opened in 2003, the Fisher Center is…


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