As host Victoria Rowell approached the podium she did a quick twirl in her voluminous white dress. “It’s going to be all night, folks,” she quipped. She was inspired, no doubt, by the previous performance by Evidence, a dance company that celebrated its 25th Anniversary in style at the Plaza last night. The crème de la crème of the African American art world and New York society gathered for a silent auction, followed by a dinner and performances. Gayle King, Anika Noni Rose and Tamara Tunie were among the many celebrity guests. The event may have attracted quite a few big names, but no one could hold a candle to the dancers themselves.
In a performance that seamlessly incorporated Tony award winning singer Jennifer Holiday and jazz musician Peven Everett the dancers performed a routine that was part ballet, part hip hop, part traditional African dance. No move was uni-faceted; every motion was a convergence of influences. The performance began with a lone dancer in a simple white costume that put the room full of ball gowns and tuxedos to shame. She was soon joined by more dancers wearing white, then came the dancers in red. The performance ended with a show stopping, bring the house down, standing ovation kind of solo by Jennifer Holiday.