In Ronald K. Brown’s Four Corners, 11 dancers depict spiritual seekers amid four angels standing on the corners of the earth, holding the four winds. In creating his fifth commission for the Ailey company since 1999, the celebrated choreographer turned to the song “Lamentations” by his friend, recording artist Carl Hancock Rux. Drawing from West African and modern dance influences, Brown uses grounded, earthy movements to portray figures who are burdened by grief but ultimately find peace, solace, and freedom with the aid of “the angels in their corners” mentioned in Rux’s text.
While Four Corners is not a literal interpretation of Rux’s lyrics, Brown drew inspiration from the text to manifest storytelling through choreography. Brown expressed his love for poems, stating: “There’s something about the rhythm, and something about the richness of the spoken word that goes right into my heart. When I’m dreaming about movement or seeing movement, poetry comes out.” Though the friendship between Brown and Rux began decades ago, Four Corners provided the first opportunity for choreographer and composer to create a dance work together.