Photo courtesy Chelsea Burks, CDNB Photography

By Cleo Creech

Komansé Dance Theater (KDT) takes it name from the Haitian/Creole word for beginning, as in the beginning of a conversation or dialogue. Creative Director Raianna Brown takes that mission seriously as she brings Skid to the stage at the Ferst Center for the Arts, at Georgia Tech on Jan. 25 and 26.

Inspired in part by the work of writer and social justice pioneer James Baldwin as well as current social justice issues like gentrification and homelessness, Skid explores the effects of societies torn apart and individuals who are tossed aside and have their humanity ignored. The KDT dancers bring us along on this journey, using elements of classical and modern dance, tap, West African influences and even trap music, jazz and hip-hop.

Creative Director, Raianna Brown works to create a safe space for young dancers to explore their own experiences as well as inviting and challenging the audience to connect on a very personal level on issues that are too often framed as only affecting the “other” In society.

Skid is also the product of a new Art@Tech program that promotes collaborative projects that cross multiple university disciplines. In Skid KDT is partnering with 3D print fashion designer, Shami Oshun, to create a truly unique and engaging performance space.

Creative Director Brown is known to a lot of the Atlanta Dance community. She started dancing when she was only four and further honed her craft through Spelman’s Summer Dance Institute as well as Price Performing Arts Center. She’s since gone on to train with numerous national dance institutions including Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater and Alonzo King’s LINES Ballet in San Francisco.

She’s also taken on commissions for a number of previous local productions, many of these dealing with social justice issues. Dance patrons may have seen her work in past presentations of in Human (GA Tech), King Kunta (Emory) and 4 Hours. Her dance piece I Can’t Breath, which deals with incidents of police violence against black men, was performed in Atlanta then later restaged in Sorrento, Italy.

So from Dancer then Choreographer, the role of Creative Director seems a logical next step for Brown. She strikes you as one of those people who are always on the go, and always working towards and focused on her next big challenge. She’s also genuinely engaged and concerned about the world around her and her part in it, what she as an artist can bring to the table. With Dance as her medium, Brown seeks to bring authenticity and vulnerability to works that seek to highlight human connection and truth.

For tickets and information, visit this link.

Collin Kelley

Collin Kelley has been the editor of Atlanta Intown for two decades and has been a journalist and freelance writer for 35 years. He’s also an award-winning poet and novelist.