Choreography by: Ronald K. Brown
Costume Designer: Omotayo Olaiya
Lighting Design: Dalila Kee
Originally commissioned by Philadanco in 1999, Gatekeepers portrays dancers as “soldiers walking toward heaven, searching for the wounded and looking out to make a safe haven for others to follow.” The inspiration and influences for Gatekeepers include Native American myth and African traditions. The name “Gatekeeper” is given to a newborn child in some African cultures and preparations are made to welcome the child into the community. In these cultures, they often observe two worlds: the world of form (life) and the unseen world (afterlife). “Gatekeepers” guard a portal into the unseen world, where we connect with our ancestors in the afterlife if we are properly prepared. These cultures also believe that just as its community cares for the child, so must the child care for its elders when it is time to transition into the afterlife. The theme of preparing the way—a safe and peaceful way of life across generations, and our responsibility to help each other in this quest—is present in many of Brown’s works. Brown feels that mankind has a fundamental responsibility to serve each other as caregivers.