By Michael Solender
Audrey Baran wants to challenge common misconceptions some have about dance.
“Many think dance is boring or is elitist,” said Baron, founder of her Charlotte-based eponymous troupe, Baran Dance. “These are two things I try to dispel through my work. There is a lot of intimidation about dance that doesn’t need to be there. However you perceive dance – it’s the right way.”
Baran describes herself as a dance artist finding the nexus of her artform where dance, choreography, dance instruction and education intersect.
“Like a lot of dancers, I came out of school and thought, ‘I’m going to get a job as a dancer in a company,’” said Baran, who is a faculty member at Charlotte Ballet Academy, Open Door Studios and adjunct lecturer at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. “I came to realize that teaching dance is also an awesome way to contribute to the field, create and keep up with my craft. The more I teach, the better dancer and choreographer I become. Dancing and teaching dance are almost one in the same for me.”
Part of Baran’s work is an outreach class with children at ourBridge, an organization of teachers, tutors and volunteers supporting the Charlotte-area refugee and immigrant community.
In addition to leading her troupe, founded in 2012, Baran holds guest appointments as a choreographer with Piedmont IB Middle School and East Mecklenburg High School, is the founder and co-director of BD2 Youth Company, founded Beyond Baran Dance where she is an instructor and manages time to pursue a M.F.A. from Hollins University. She received her B.A. in Dance from UNC Charlotte, where she graduated Magna Cum Laude.
Baran is a multiple award winner, consistently recognized for excellence in artistry by the Charlotte Dance Festival, Carolina Arts & Theatre Awards, American College Dance Festival, Tobacco Road Dance Productions, Triangle Dance Project and many others.
She is also the recipient of a 2017 Creative Renewal Fellowship from ASC. For her creative renewal, Baran will attend a 10-day workshop in Austin, TX, with world-renowned postmodern dance artist Deborah Hay.
“I work hard to make dance more accessible and relatable for the community,” Baron says. “Dance should be fun and inviting. I do a lot of collaborations with live music to encourage people to experience dance in ways that perhaps people don’t ordinarily think of.”
Dance, according to Baran, “is a primary medium for self-expression.”
“I’ve always felt a little awkward speaking,” she said, “And dance and recently writing, are ways I best articulate myself. The best dance making for me comes from my center, my core – myself.”