For more than 30 years, choreographer Ronald K. Brown has been creating narrative works of dance and music that honor the experiences and cultures of the African diaspora. His piece Grace, created in 1999 for Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, remains one of the most popular works in the Ailey repertoire.

Following a two-week residency at The Yard this month, Mr. Brown and his dance company Evidence drew an all-ages audience of several hundred to the Performing Arts Center Saturday night for a breathtaking recital that included both a recent premiere and a 20th-anniversary presentation of Grace, which Mr. Brown scaled down in 2004 to fit the eight-member Evidence company.

Part of the troupe’s residency included teaching in local schools, where Mr. Brown grouped adults and small children in the same class.

“It’s amazing what those kids did in response to his training,” Yard artistic director David White said before the concert.

In addition to Grace@20 the dance company performed Mercy which had its world premiere in June. — Maria Thibodeau

Many of the youngsters, with their families, were in the audience Saturday night. Visibly excited, some practiced steps in the aisles or chatted with each other in their seats before the lights went down. At least one younger sibling cuddled on her mother’s lap.

Titled Grace@20, the concert began with a 2013 work called Torch, set to the deep beats of house music by Teddy Douglas, of Baltimore’s Basement Boys, and South African DJ Kinhle with vocalist Busiswa Gqulu.

Created in memory of a student and friend of Mr. Brown’s who died of cancer, Torch moved through an emotional arc that began with the troupe in tableau, before the dancers began exploding into motion — at times joyous, at others with a greater sense of urgency.

A passage of slow, shuffling movements contrasted with the beat-heavy music. In a question and answer period after the concert, Mr. Brown said the halting steps were a tribute to those affected by cancer: “All of us are touched” by the disease, he said.

Dancing barefoot, the four men and four women performed in front of a changing, abstract projection on the back screen of the stage, to the recorded words of Ms. Gqulu: “Yesterday is gone, but it will live forever.”

The performance followed a two-week residency at the Yard. — Maria Thibodeau

The second work in Saturday’s concert, Mercy, received its world premiere last month at Bard College in New York, with the original score performed live by composer Meshell Ndegeocello.

Ms. Ndegeocello’s pulsing, funk- and gospel-inflected music, with occasional lyrics such as “As you think, so you become,” and “I’m at the mercy of your shifting seas,” was recorded for Saturday’s performance.

Around a minimal set of four white fabric columns, each lighted from within, the dancers wove a kinetic spell of solo, duet and ensemble moments, thrusting their arms powerfully through the air as they moved across the stage.

The centerpiece of the evening, Grace@20, was stunning from its first moment when dancer Annique Roberts appeared alone, center stage, illuminated from behind by a brilliant rectangle of light, to the instrumental music of Duke Ellington’s Come Sunday.

After her lyrical solo, the rest of the troupe began to join Ms. Roberts, entering the stage from either side of the glowing rectangle as if through an otherworldly portal. Their bodies coiled through turns and their arms reached appealingly toward each other as they danced.

Grace then shifted its energy to more four-on-the-floor house music with Roy Davis Jr.’s club hit Gabriel moving the dancers joyously to the beat.

Next came muscular, brassy 1970s music from Fela Anikulapo Kuti, the Nigerian bandleader who pioneered the Afrobeat sound. Clad in white and red, the dancers formed a stage-deep line before breaking into solos, then building up the units until all eight were together again.

Fading out on the call-and-response of the African band, Grace returned to Come Sunday with its vocal section “God, Oh God above/God almighty, God of love/Please look down and see my people through.”

Mercy is a tribute to those affected by cancer. — Maria Thibodeau

The rectangular portal glowed again as dancers stepped and spun, then stopped to embrace tenderly. Mr. Brown uses stillness to great effect in his work, particularly in this piece, where his dancers convey tremendous intentness and connection simply by standing and watching.

Grace, with Come Sunday, ended as the dancers departed through the center-stage portal where they had entered, while the Vineyard audience burst into loud applause and a standing ovation.

About 100 people stayed for the question and answer session with Mr. Brown and the dancers, moderated by Mr. White.

Notably, while the company moved like a well-seasoned ensemble, listeners were surprised to learn that both Ms. Roberts and apprentice dancer Joyce Edwards are newcomers to Evidence — and Ms. Edwards is still an undergraduate in college, double majoring in dance and Afro/American Studies.

The Yard season continues at the Patricia Nanon Theater on its Chilmark campus with Island Grown Dance, August 22 and August 24 and Aysha Upchurch, August 31. All concerts are at 7 p.m. For more information, visit