One of the most celebrated American dance companies, Evidence Dance celebrated 27 years of the “Ritual and Journey of Dance” at their eighth annual spring gala. The Brooklyn-based company brought out stars and New York supporters alike including Spike Lee, supermodel Beverly Johnson, former Alvin Ailey Creative Director Judith Jamison, Bravo TV’s Chef Roblé Ali, LaChanze of “The Help” and Broadway’s “The Color Purple”, and Tamara Tunie, of “Law and Order: SVU”. The evening’s festivities were hosted by ‘Porgy and Bess’ lead Norm Lewis, and the iconic actress Phylicia Rashad served as the gala’s honorary chair. Artistic Director Ronald Brown—who’s also the choreographer of the revived Broadway musical ‘ The Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess’—opened the gala alongside Lewis giving guest a comedic peek at one of the more coveted moves of the celebrated musical. It was a shuffle executed by Brown and Lewis with laughs and perfection.

The black-tie event commenced with cocktails, followed by dinner. Evidence company members later treated guests to a performance of “Gatekeepers.” It was the first time Evidence performed the number. Lewis comments on Ronald Brown, “His inspiration and influence for the dance work “Gatekeepers” and for Evidence’s 2012 theme of “Gatekeepers: Celebrating Service” includes Native American myth and African traditions.”

Later in the evening, Evidence honored the Verizon Foundation with the 2012 Corporate Gatekeepers Award for the company’s support of the arts, and community development. The gala also featured a Charity Buzz Auction. Guest could bid for golf with Beverly Johnson, a custom-made home dinner by Chef Roblé Ali, and a luxury getaway in Costa Rica.

The evening closed with Evidence’s signature “Dancing with the Dancers.” Spike Lee was spotted cutting the rug during the obligatory “Cupid Shuffle.” The Verizon Foundation, Grey Goose Vodka, BET, Booz Allen Hamilton, Draft FCB, Nielsen, and Prudential were among the gala’s sponsors.

Geneva S. Thomas