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Raianna Brown

Raianna Brown is a dancer and choreographer and a graduate of Georgia Tech. She founded Komansé Dance Theater in 2018 and is currently working on the Permanent film projects with the African Diaspora Art Museum of Atlanta and the High Museum of Art. (Photo by Ari Skin Photography)

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I had always wanted to work with the High, but I never expected to be working on this level. There’s a lot of pressure, the High has a big audience, but the project is expanding my art and I am excited about exploring it more this year.

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

I caught Covid twice but it was much scarier the first time, in October 2020. I have asthma, it was very difficult to breathe, I was alone and there were moments when I thought I could die. The most intense part was being unable to see my family. Over Christmas 2021, my family were all sick with Covid and we couldn’t get together. It’s made me shift my priorities and I want to spend more time with loved ones. My asthma is a bit worse now. I have brain fog; sometimes my thoughts just disappear.

I hope in the next one to two years there will be some kind of normal. But I also want to figure out how to move my artistry forward. The last two years have taught me no matter how confining the circumstances seem, there is always the space to create something new. No matter what, something beautiful can come out of it. I am not letting the unknown mists of the future scare me. There will be times I won’t know what comes next, but I trust it will come together as it needs to.

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