Exploring the Intersection of Traditional and Contemporary Practice

Kulu Mele African Dance and Drum Ensemble



Ronald K. Brown at a Kùlú Mèlé master class on January 5, 2013. Photo © Nathea Lee/PhotoBravura.

Celebrating its 50th anniversary season, Kùlú Mèlé, a local dance and drum ensemble dedicated to preserving dance and drumming traditions of Africa and the African Diaspora, engaged contemporary choreographer Ronald K. Brown, of Brooklyn's Evidence dance company, for an extended residency to develop new approaches to its work. Brown, whose compositions have been performed by accomplished companies such as Alvin Ailey and PHILADANCO, shares Kùlú Mèlé's interest in preserving African traditions. Brown's own practice integrates forms that stem from these traditions with modern and urban styles. He worked with Kùlú Mèlé Artistic Director Dorothy Wilkie and dancers to expand the current repertoire and push Kùlú Mèlé to bridge these styles.