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Verb Ballets program highlights nationally recognized African American choreographers

By January 10, 2018No Comments

CLEVELAND, OH – Verb Ballets, Northeast Ohio’s premiere contemporary ballet company, has brought critically acclaimed performances to Northeast Ohio audiences for over 30 years. In celebration of Black History Month, the company will remount original works commissioned by Verb Ballets from nationally recognized African American choreographers. The performance on February 3, 2018 at the Breen Center for the Performing Arts in Cleveland will feature the work of award winning Philadelphia choreographer, Tommie-Waheed Evans and Cleveland native and former Bill T Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company dancer, Antonio Brown. Both choreographers will lead a pre-show discussion at 7:15pm on their experiences in the dance field. To attend the pre-show discussion, please arrive at the Breen Center lobby by 7:10PM. This performance is generously supported by the Cleveland Foundation.

The audience favorite, Dark Matter, returns to the stage by choreographer Tommie-Waheed Evans. Critics described Verb dancers’, “sleek encounters that brim with contrasting patterns and connections”. This intensely driven physical work was complemented by the stage design with hanging fluorescent light bulbs that were rhythmically controlled providing a breathtaking visual effect by lighting designer’ Trad A Burns. Also returning to the stage is Surge.Capacity.Force. which he created on Verb Ballets this past summer. This modern work is moving a reflection on the human experience and the complex struggles of immigration. Evans was a former dancer with PHILADANCO! and Complexions Contemporary Ballet before starting his own company Waheed Works in 2006. He received 2017 Philadelphia Tribune’s “10 under 40” Honoree Award and was selected nationally as an emerging leader by Dance/USA. Evans strives to create work built upon the human experience to connect audiences through a fierce physical language while communicating statements about social justice. The Dance Journal described his work as, “vocabulary is deeply rooted in a classical ballet aesthetic blended with modern sensibilities and jazz influences.”

Also featured on the program will be two original commissions by Antonio Brown, a former Bill T Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company dancer. The Cleveland native and graduate of the Cleveland School of the Arts recently retired from dancing to focus on his company Antonio Brown Dance, whose works have been performed across the U.S. including NYC Summer Stage. The company will restage Continuum, a contemporary work that intertwines patterns and bodies for a visually vivacious performance. Critics hailed the Verb Ballets performance of his work as, “nothing can restrain the thrust that the Verb cast lavishes on Brown’s exuberant brainstorm”. Also, on the program will be Passing By, an abstract work where the dancers explore relationships and space. The modern movement pulls the dancers away from the synchronized group into shafts of light over white rectangles. The use of shadows and space adds to this intriguing work that caught the attention of the audiences and critics alike.

Verb Ballets’ performance on February 3, 2018 at 8:00pm is at The Breen Center for the Performing Arts located at 2008 W. 30th St. in Cleveland. Single tickets are $25-$35. Student ticket discount available. Tickets can be purchased at through Eventbrite at For more information, visit

Antonio Brown, Choreographer
Antonio Brown was born and raised in Cleveland, Ohio, where he began his dance training at the Cleveland School of the Arts. With tons of love and support from his fam­ily and friends Antonio jumped hurdles very fast in his training and received many awards and scholarships in and outside of the Cleveland area. After graduating from the Cleveland School of the Arts Antonio made his way to New York City to study at the Juilliard School where he received his BFA under the direction of Lawrence Rhodes. While there, he had the opportunity to perform works by Jose Limon, Ohad Naharin, Jiri Kylian, Eliot Feld, Aszure Barton, Jessica Lang, Susan Marshall, Larry Keigwin, among others. Mr. Brown has also worked with many companies and artist throughout New York City including Malcolm Low/Formal Structure, Stephen Pier, Ni­las Martins Dance Company, Damage Dance and Sidra Bell Dance New York. In 2007 Antonio became a member of the Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company. In addition to working with BTJ/AZ, Mr. Brown also finds time to perform with Camille A. Brown & Dancers, and Gregory Dolbashian’s “The Dash Ensemble”. Throughout all of his years Antonio has had an appetite for choreography starting in his living room as child and now on many stages around the world. Brown has choreographed works for Verb Ballets, August Wilson Center Dance Ensemble, The Juilliard Dance Ensemble, Cleveland School of the Arts, Stivers School for the Arts, Perry Mansfield Performing Arts School and Camp, and various other schools and intensives across the Country. Mr. Brown’s work has also been showcased during NYC’s Central Park Summer Stage, Center for Performance Research, Tanzania, Africa; The Isle of Wight, UK and was the featured guest for the Friends of Cleveland School of the Arts fundraising GALA in 2010. Antonio is so grateful to be creating art that means so much to him and looks forward to sharing his gifts and talents around the world.

Tommie-Waheed Evans, Choreographer
Tommie-Waheed Evans began his formal training with Michelle Blossom at the Dance Connection in Los Angeles California. He continued his studies under the mentorship of Andrea Calomee and Karen McDonald at Hamilton High School before receiving a fellowship at the Ailey School. As a student, Evans performed the work of Matthew Rushing, Benoit-Swan Pouffer, Karol Armitage, and Debbie Allen. He was an assistant to current artistic director of Ailey II, Troy Powell. Evans professional appearances include the popular sitcom “The Parkers”, the Emmy Awards, HopeBoykinDance, Radio City Christmas Spectacular, Lula Washington Dance Theater, the Philadelphia Dance Company (Philadanco) and Complexions Contemporary Ballet. In 2006 he founded his company, Waheed-Works. Evans has set choreography on The Garden State Dance Festival, Philadelphia Dance Boom Festival, Grace Dance Theater, Verb Ballets, Eleone Dance Theatre, and Boston Conservatory. Evans is the Artist-in-Residence at PHILADANCO! and is currently on faculty at the University of the Arts. His awards include a Dance/USA Philadelphia Rocky Award, Billy Penn: Who Next Arts, Howard Gillman Foundation Fellowship Winner, and a BalletX 2017 Ballet Choreographic Fellowship. Evans recently received his Master of Fine Arts in Choreography from Jacksonville University.


All programs and artists are subject to change. Photos or interviews available upon request by contacting  
Jennifer Garlando, Director of Marketing & PR at  

February 3, 2018 8:00PM
Celebrating Black History Month
Breen Center for the Performing Arts 2008 W. 30th St., Cleveland, OH 44113
Tickets: $25-$35 Student discount available

About Verb Ballets  
Verb Ballets, a contemporary ballet company, presents dynamic programming through bold artistry, unique styles and technical excellence that captivates a broad audience. Under the direction of Dr. Margaret Carlson, Producing Artistic Director and Richard Dickinson, MFA, Associate Director, the company will present a season that ignites passion in the energy, beauty and athleticism of dance. Critics have hailed Verb Ballets as, “Dashes preconceptions …with keen dramatic power.” -The Plain Dealer, “(Verb) is dance magnifique.” – The Examiner, “confident and polished, Verb’s dancers shone” – Dance International Magazine. Verb Ballets cultivates dance appreciation and nurtures wellness through movement in community dance classes, school residencies, senior outreach, library programs, master classes and college course partnerships. Verb Ballets has also been named one of Five Great Tiny Troupes in America by Dance Magazine and was one of the 25 dance companies in America to watch. As one of the oldest dance organizations in Cleveland we are proud to produce high caliber work and continue to connect with communities across a four-county reach. Additional information can be found at Additional information can be found at

Verb Ballets 3445 Warrensville Center Rd. Shaker Heights, OH 44122 • 216-397-3757 •
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