Cora Masters Barry, Reginald Van Lee: Hamptons Scene

Evidence, A Dance Company
Otis Donovan Herring, Annique Roberts, Arcell Cabuag, and Clarice Young, dancers in Evidence. Photographer: Amanda Gordon/Bloomberg

The buffet and bars were abandoned. No snack or cocktail could distract from the performance going on in the middle of the party tent.

Members of Evidence, a Dance Company raised arms, twisted torsos, wove around one another in muscular movements softened by colorful, loosely draped costumes.

The ninth annual “On Our Toes” gala was held on the campus of the Hayground School in Bridgehampton.

Zaid Abdul-Aleem, a principal on the private capital advisory team at New York-based investment bank Greenhill & Co. had one arm around his son, Mason, and another around his wife, Raven.

Goldman Sachs Group Inc. analyst Arthur Gardner Smith stood with Daniel Patton, a former UBS AG investment banker who is moving to Chicago for a job at McMaster-Carr, an industrial supplier.

Cora Masters Barry, ex-wife of former Washington Mayor Marion Barry, sat on a white ottoman with her six-month-old grandchild Zora.

Afterward, Evidence board member Reginald Canal, a former HSBC banker who has started a company to market Haitian designers, led an auction that raised more than $19,000 for the dance company, including donations for line items in the company’s budget.

Evidence was founded 27 years ago by Ronald K. Brown to convey the experiences of the African diaspora through dance and music.

‘An Obsession’

“I’m in love with African-American dancers, it’s an obsession,” said Candisse Collins, a lawyer for Madison Square Garden Co. “I love the rhythmic aspect, there’s always a soul to it.”

“I’m talking to Ron about bringing the company to the Kennedy Center,” said jazz pianist and MacArthur Fellow Jason Moran, the Kennedy Center’s artistic adviser for jazz.

Reginald Van Lee, an executive vice president at Booz Allen Hamilton Inc., initiated the fundraiser on the East End. The former chairman of Evidence had the company dance at his wedding last year.

“I just want them to continue adding more pieces and to go to more venues,” Van Lee said.

The New Yorker described Brown’s choreography for “The Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess” on Broadway as “beautifully crafted earthy, emotional dances.” This project has given Brown, Evidence’s artistic director, additional momentum.

The company has hired several new dancers and will perform a new work as well as a revival of “Walking Out the Dark” when it returns to the Joyce Theater in February 2013, Brown said.

‘Different Synergy’

“About half of the company is new, and there’s a different synergy,” said associate artistic director and dancer Arcell Cabuag. “We’re having a great time with Ron working on the new piece. We’re coming together like a beautiful family.”

“Being involved with Evidence feels like a family reunion,” said Jenna Bond, Evidence’s young-patrons chairwoman.

To cultivate those patrons, Alaina Simone held a cocktail party at her Chelsea gallery. Evidence also arranged for a bus to provide transport to and from the event. It was idling in the parking lot as guests spilled out of the tent dancing.

(Amanda Gordon is a writer and photographer for Muse, the arts and leisure section of Bloomberg News. Any opinions expressed are her own.)

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