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New York’s First Lady Michelle Paterson
Lends Support to the Arts in the Hamptons


New York's First Lady Michelle Paterson and

New York's First Lady Michelle Paterson and
actress Lynn Whitfield.
Photo by:  Rob Rich




Southampton, NY  On Our Toes in The Hamptons, the 6th annual visit of Ronald K. Brown’s world acclaimed Evidence, A Dance Company to the East End proved to be once again one of the most electrifying cultural events of the summer season. Held this year at the Watermill aerie of the Honorable Bernard Jackson and his wife Joyce Mullins-Jackson, vice chairman of the Evidence Board of Directors, the late afternoon fete drew over 300 luminaries from across the country including First Lady of New York, Michelle Paterson, award winning actress, Lynn Whitefield, Christian Dior President Stephane Barraque, Uptown Magazine’s Jocelyn Taylor and scores more of the Hamptons’ & New York’s most glittering movers
and shakers.


The very social Alicia Bythewood chaired the event which began with drinks poolside under bright sunny skies.  Guests munched on a dazzling array of seafood appetizers from The Seafood Shop including Spicy mini crab cakes to the quintessential Hamptons treat tiny lobster rolls washing it all down with chilled Veuve Clicquot Champagne or the specially created 10 Cane Rum Toe Tapper. 


Ms. Bythewood led a dynamic committee assisting her in making this the premiere African American cultural event of the season including fashion designer b Michael, Gail Monroe Perry, Harriet Michel, Brian and Mira Mullins, Ronald K. Brown, Donna Williams. Reginald Van Lee, Neil R. Lowe, Joyce Mullins-Jackson, Reggie Canal, Leslie Mays, Zaid Abdul-Aleem, Dwayne Ashley, Monica F. Azare, Joanne E. Hill, Andrea Hoffman, Sandra D. Jackson-Dumont, James Sullivan, Jocelyn Taylor, Ancy Verdier, Lisa B. Walker and Reginald Van Lee..  


Despite the current economic stress, Evidence received extraordinarily generous support for the event from sponsors HSBC Premier, 10 Cane Rum/Moet Hennessey, Prudential, Continental Airlines, Essence, Abyssinian Development Corporation and Uptown Magazine. Christian Dior provided gift bags. Media Sponsor was The event was coordinated by
The JFM Group.


Following cocktails African drummers led the way through the dense woods to the massive party tent transformed into an island paradise by interior designer Anthony Bell and Deanna Annis of The Furniture Garden. Former CBS Early Show co-host Rene Syler emceed the afternoon’s proceedings and proved she has a second career in comedy if she so desires. The delightful Syler introduced the company’s new executive director Bruce Michael who laid out some of the plans fro the troupe’s upcoming 25th anniversary season in 2010 including a State Department sponsored tour of Africa, performances at the Vancouver International Dance Festival, a marvelous book chronicling the troupe’s 25 year journey and a major gala in late winter.



There were numerous luxury items auctioned off including dazzling bejeweled Christian Dior watches which Jocelyn Taylor modeled, a one of a kind pen created to commemorate Mathew Henson, the first African-American to reach the South Pole and a once-in-a lifetime chance to go behind the scenes with the famed Rockettes at Radio City Music Hall. As well, many wonderful luxury items and once in a lifetime experiences were available for bidding through September 2 on such as lunch with legendary Essence Magazine editor Susan L. Taylor and a private clarinet lesson from world renowned musician Anthony McGill principal clarinetist with the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra. And if your taste runs to the more adventurous and you dream of being Tom Cruise, how about a   fighter pilot experience and dog fight for 2 (each guest flies separate aircrafts) Over one hour dog fight between you and your guest where you will be doing all of the flying except takeoff and landing. Both attendees will receive a video tape of their flight experience. Post flight skill and maneuver analysis are also included.


But the highlight of the event is always the performance by the company.  Brown himself danced the powerful “For You” to Donny Hathaway’s popular tune “A Song for You” sung live by Gordon Chambers. The afternoon closed with the spirited and emotional “Walk Out the Dark” performed by 4 members of the company.  At the end of the dance Brown and the rest of the company joined the dancers on stage for an impromptu dance finale that incorporate the whole audience.


About Evidence, A Dance Company

The mission of Evidence, Inc. is to promote understanding of the human experience in the African Diaspora through dance and storytelling. The Company’s performances provide sensory connections to history and tradition through music, movement, and spoken word, leading deeper into issues of spirituality, community responsibility and liberation.


In addition to public performances, Evidence sponsors outreach programs, workshops, master classes and educational activities for dance enthusiasts of all ages. Evidence, A Dance Company is a Brooklyn-based nonprofit organization founded by Choreographer and Artistic Director Ronald K. Brown. The company tours to some 30 communities around the world annually.  It has also traveled overseas to Cuba, Brazil, England, France, Greece, Hungary, Mexico and Senegal to perform, teach master classes and conduct lecture / demonstrations for young people. For more information about Evidence and its 25th Anniversary activities visit




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