In Our Own Words: Rayanna Brown, Dancer & Choreographer

Rayanna Brown is a dancer and choreographer who graduated from Georgia Tech. She founded Komansi Dance Theater in 2018 and is currently working on permanent Film projects with the Museum of African Diaspora Art in Atlanta and the High Museum of Art. (Photo by Ari Skinn)

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I’ve always wanted to work with the atticBut I never expected to work at this level. There’s a lot of pressure, The High has a huge audience, but the project is expanding my art and I’m excited to explore it more this year.

As a black artist, it’s very difficult for me To create art that does not contain some component of social justice. Just seeing black people taking up space is an act of social justice in itself. It is important to present art that includes joy. As black people we are not monolith. We can experience joy as well as despair. I want people to see themselves reflected in what we offer, including the parts of themselves that people don’t think are divine or worthy. It’s about being fully present as a black person.

I caught Covid twice but it was awful the first time, In October 2020. I have asthma, breathing was very difficult, I was alone and there were moments when I thought I might die. The most severe part was not being able to see my family. During Christmas 2021, my family was all sick with covid virus and we couldn’t get together. It made me change my priorities and want to spend more time with loved ones. My asthma is a little worse now. I have brain fog. Sometimes my thoughts disappear.

I hope to be there in the next year or two Kind of normal. But I also want to know how to move forward with my art. The past two years have taught me that no matter how restrictive circumstances may be, there is always room to create something new. No matter what, something beautiful can come out of it. I will not let the fog of an unknown future frighten me. There will be times when I won’t know what’s going to happen next, but I’m sure it will come together as it should.

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