A courageous performer’s instinct to ignore conventional paths and wander the performance world as a freelance – “Hey kids, let’s show off! – is probably as old as the performance itself.
For dancer Brandy Mimms, it’s a reality. Listen With Your Eyes Dance Troupe, the modern dance company she founded and directs, will have their first show called “Au Courant” at 7 pm Saturday at the Southwest Little Rock Community Center.
Hear the dance troupe with your eyes
Saturday, 7 p.m., Southwest Community Center, 6401 Baseline Road, Little Rock
Tickets: $ 15 general admission, free for children 12 and under, available online through Event Brite via https://tinyurl.com/y4p9kt68.
“What I hope to accomplish with this dance troupe is to bring more dance performances and deaf awareness to Deaf and hearing communities in Arkansas and beyond,” Mimms said in an interview. by email. “There aren’t enough dance opportunities here in Arkansas for dancers like me without having to move. [away]. I want to provide a basis for dancers to build more experiences for their future dancing career. “
Born and raised in New Orleans, Mimms, 40, is a recent graduate of the University of Arkansas at Little Rock. She says she is the first deaf student to receive a BFA in dance from UALR.
“I always saw dancing on television growing up. But in 2016, a friend of mine tagged me on this video of a black man dancing but also deaf,” says Mimms. “I was so surprised to see that there was another deaf dancer in the world. His name is Antoine Hunter, and he is well known and the founder of the Urban Jazz Dance Company in San Francisco.”
Mimms was invited by Hunter to San Francisco. She took advantage of it and attended the Bay Area International Deaf Dance Festival. This trip was an eye-opening experience and a role model for the Mimms to follow.
“I had the opportunity to meet many different deaf dancers from all over the world,” says Mimms. “After that experience, I came back to Little Rock more inspired to become a better deaf dancer. Since then, I’ve been back to San Francisco every year to be a part of the Deaf Dance Festival.”
Mimms’ troupe has four members: Ronesha Butler, Alexandreia Tolbert, Shalondra Martin and Jaime Smith.
“Au Courant” will include a piece created by Mimms. She notes that she “enjoys creating pieces that tell stories or raise awareness of social change.” There will be solos created by three members of the dance troupe.
“Through this company, we will bring dance performances to deaf and hearing communities by breaking down language barriers between the two communities and demonstrating how American Sign Language can aid communication in the world,” Mimms said.
Although “Au Courant” is the first release of Mimms’ group, she does not intend it to be the last.
“It’s not just a one-off dance performance,” says Mimms. “I’m starting this business with very little to no funding. I think I can build something more once people hear about my troop.”
Weekend of 10/24/2019