looking back | looking ahead

Today is Mother’s Day (call yo mama!) and it also marks one year since our debut show “For the Love”. Held at our rehearsal home Open Door Studios, the show had a blackbox feel, cramming about 80 audience members & a dozen dancers in a space roughly 30×40 square feet… TWICE! For our first solo show (well, we had some appearances by friends Arlynn Zachary of The MARK Dance Company and Caitlyn Swett of Triptych Collective) it was a huge success and we walked away beaming, proud, and feeling loved. It was the start of something good..

But today also marks one month UNTIL our next show, Dance Under the City Sounds. This time we will be occupying The Chop Shop, a music and performance venue that holds crowds in the upper hundreds and hosts some of the biggest-name bands that come through the Charlotte area. While we are projecting attendance in the lower hundreds (but, still!) and may not be as well known as say, St. Paul & The Broken Bones (who packed that place out!) we are pretty damn excited. Even more exciting is the fact that we are partnering with musical duo Bless These Sounds Under the City and phographer extraordinaire Sara Woodmansee for this show (and hopefully more!). To try to explain how amazing these folks are would not do them justice. Just last night I was trying to describe to someone what BTSUTC sounds like, and I found myself getting tounge -tied. I can’t even call them a “band” because they are so much more; they are artists, creaters, true originals who are not afraid to let their influences be heard, but have a sound unmistakably all their own. You can listen for yourself here. And Sara, well she makes things that you thought were mundane, ugly, or already beautiful… absolutely stunning. Check out her project Beautiful Badlands, and YES, she shot this footage. Obviously, we are in good company.

If you are reading this, you probably already know what we do, so I don’t have to toot our horn for you. (If you haven’t experienced us in action, I’ll see you June 11th!) Actually, I’ll go ahead and say we’ll see you there regardless of who you are, because you will not want to miss it. I am not kidding when I say this show has been the most daunting, gratifying, fun, and inspiring project I have had the pleasure and insanity to take on in my career as a dancer and choreographer. All 14 artists involved are amazing individuals, who I could not be more proud to call my co-collaborators and friends. As the poster says, Dance Under the City Sounds is going to be “an evening of movement, music, and mayhem”, but also of making memories. BE THERE.

Playing with the Big Dogs

Over the past few weeks, we have had the honor of performing along side some of the best and most established companies and choreographers around. First at PROMPTS, a recurring series for artists to show new work around a central prompt/theme. This event, organized and hosted by my friend and mentor Justin Tornow, was held at the charming Carrack Museum in Durham, NC on Saturday, January 18th. We arrived fashionably late, but soon found out we are damn good at cramming three people in a small bathroom to change clothes, and performing 15-minutes after getting out of the car from a 2.5-hour ride. We premiered “In the Wintertime”, a collaborative piece featuring Allison, Ben, Faith, Kenzie, Melissa, and me (which we will perform in Dance Under the City Sounds with our friends Bless These Sounds Under The City June 12th at the Chop Shop). The space was about half the size that we are used to, and if you’ve ever seen Baran Dance in action, you know we MOVE. But, in true BD style, we adjusted on the fly and danced incredibly well (not just for being under pressure and in a tight spot). The theme of the exhibition was “experiments”, which perfectly summed up our performance. We also had the pleasure of witnessing some of the most innovative work from some of the most innovative artists in NC, including our friends Taproot Ensemble. I can’t wait to see more of what all the movers and creators at PROMPTS have to offer!

This weekend we performed “Intro/Outro” at the NC Dance Festival concert at UNC Charlotte. This piece, co-choreographed by Kate Micham and me, premiered in May 2013, and we also performed it at the Friendship Gardens Party last Fall. We were invited to present at the NCDF-CLT show a few months ago, and have been primarily focused on our upcoming June concert, so we hadn’t really given this piece and performance much thought (aside from re-rehearsing it, which wasn’t too hard since we LOVE the piece and are pretty comfortable with the movement). But when we arrived at our (45-minute!) technical rehearsal on Thursday, reality started to sink in. The stage in Robinson Hall at UNCC is GORGEOUS (and big!) and we had a real-life lighting designer, stage manager, and crew. Until this point we had peformed as a company with bare bones production resources, so this was the first time for many of us to be in such a “legit” gig. Our energy on performance night was electric, and “Intro/Outro” was finally presented in the way it deserves. To quote our friend Hardin Minor, we look somewhat like “angels in the architecture of time and space”, which is hard to embody when you are four feet from the first row of audience members. After our performance we got to watch the second half of the show, which included a fiercely beautiful piece by the uncomprable Kim Jones. The evening as a whole was inspiring, humbling, and truly cathartic (for many reasons). We even had a random “fan club photo opp”!

I’d like to offer our deepest gratitude to Justin Tornow, NCDF, and UNCC for giving us these opportunities to perform. There just aren’t enough outlets for dance in our area, so THANK YOU! We are honored to share the floor with such gifted, fearless, creative artists, and hope to see them on stage, or in the wings, again soon. I recently heard that Charlotte was named one of the least upward-mobile cities in the country. I beg to differ… just watch.

It’s an Honor to be Mentioned!

We are excited to announce that our dance film, Arms (directed by Tobias Shearer, music by Dirty Art Club, and choreography by Audrey Baran) was awarded an Honorable Mention at the Movies by Movers Festival, Vol. IV! Nearly 50 films applied to the festival from all over the world, and about a dozen were selected to be part of the shorts program, including our own Arms. Audrey and Toby attended the festival in Winston Salem on December 7th, and had the privilage to watch these amazing films. Audiences from two different showings voted and the winners were announced the following day. Baran Dance’s submission is one of only four films receiving an Honorable Mention! We couldn’t be happier to be among such an innovative group of artists, and look forward to creating more dance-on-film work, as well as next year’s festival!

Dance in the Park

Here we are just before performing at on the Charlotte Dance Festival Stage at Festival in the Park 2013. It was bright and sunny at the time, but the rain quickly moved in and drizzled on an enthusiastic and supportive audience. There was a variety of dance forms represented on the bill, from African to Jewish folk dance to classical ballet. It was a refreshing reminder that dance is not always about technique and perfection, but the passion and devotion of the artist(s). Dance is about expression through movement; some of us just express ourselves in a different way, which is exactly as it should be. On a side note… we all really want to take African dance now.

Welcome to Baran Dance!

Holla! If you are reading this you have already discovered our new and improved website, courtesy of Baran Creative (which, yes has some relation to Baran Dance). Feel free to browse our beautiful site, check out upcoming events, get to know the dancers, and give us your thoughts, feedback, and suggestions (on anything!) on our contact page. Our banging new website is reflective of the cutting-edge work that Baran Dance produces… accessible, exciting, and keeps you coming back. Thank you for supporting local and awesome dance. We move to move YOU!