Born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Toi B. Brown began dancing in an after school dance program.
You are touring the UK and internationally with 19 dates in 6 countries, what are you most looking forward to about this?
For as long as I can remember I’ve wanted to travel the world whilst dancing and now that dream comes true. I’m mostly looking forward to the experience. I’d never been outside of the United States prior to coming to the UK.
How do the different cultures in the company (Costa Rica, France, Hong Kong, Italy, Spain, Taiwan, USA and the UK) come together? In which ways do you inspire each other?
Though many of us come from different cultural backgrounds and countries, our bodies speak movement, which makes it easy for us to understand and relate to each other.
You are working with four contrasting choreographers, what are the different ways of working and how do you adapt to each?
Each choreographer wanted to pull specific things out of us, whether it was a statement, an increased physicality, or a sense of togetherness. Personally, I’ve never worked or created like this. There was so much self-discovery through improvisation and parameters within that improvisation. I am, what many would say, apart of the old school way of dancing where the choreographer just tells you what to do and you do it. Creating work through improvisation was and still is completely new to me.
What can audiences expect from the mixed bill?
Audiences can expect a great show filled with moments that will make you feel a wide range of emotions and thoughts. I don’t want to give anything away, because I think that going into a show with information or ideas can hinder the experience. The audience just needs to sit back and enjoy the ride.
What do you hope to learn and achieve throughout the tour?
Touring is one of the most demanding parts of any dance career from the late nights of shows to early morning workshops and classes. I know that I will learn ways to get myself prepared physically and mentally, but my goal is to learn how to be the most efficient and consistent.
What has the process taught you about yourself so far?
I have learned that I have enough movement in my repertoire to improvise for hours. How do I know? Because with each class, choreographer, and “audition” improvisation has been a large part of it. I have improvised so much during this experience that if I added up the minutes and hours it would surpass how much I improvised prior to joining EDGE.
You will finish your tour with a residency in Portugal, teaching and developing new works with 150 young people aged 3 - 25 years, from the region. In which ways do you hope do develop from this collaborative experience?
I hope that I will be able to develop my pedagogical skills with this experience. I love teaching and helping others with their movement. I have never completed something involving that many people and I am excited to see how it all turns out.
One of your performances in Portugal is dedicated to works created by yourselves, how does this add to your experience?
It will be nice to see how my fellow company members work to create movement and if they are anything like the choreographers we worked with. It will also be fun to see the style of choreography each of them likes to do.
How do you feel being a member of EDGE has helped to prepare you for professional life?
EDGE has helped me understand some of the fundamental differences of life as a professional dancer in the UK and Europe. I now know what companies expect from their artists and ways that I can show a company how I am an asset.
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