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Audrey Baran - a dance artist in a Southern town

Updated: Mar 27, 2019

What type of artist are you?

I am a dance artist, which includes choreographing, performing, producing, teaching, researching and writing about dance. I guess I got into this "line of work" when my parents put me in dance class at five years old, and I just never stopped. I also teach yoga!

What is unique about your occupation?

I prefer this term "occupation" rather than "work", as my life is literally occupied by dance. I can't say it doesn't feel like "work" because it often does; making a living as a dance artist in a big, Southern, banking city is HARD. But I love it, and not many people can say they genuinely LOVE their job(s). I'm constantly and fully engaged, whether I'm teaching in a school / studio setting (Charlotte Ballet, Open Door Studios, or UNCC), choreographing and improvising by myself, or planning the next show with my company, Baran Dance. Dance is tough - physically and intellectually - but I love it all.

Dream career?

Being a dance artist, haha! Certainly, there are aspects of my career that I would shift in a perfect world (more funding for independent artists, better audience engagement, open networks of collaboration between fellow creators). But basically, I am living my dream, or at least am on a good path towards it.


Finding the balance between making dance and showing dance. The last few years have been somewhat transitional for me as an artist; I'm less concerned with commercial and virtuosic dance performance. I'm more into process and substance now, while I find that most audiences are still interested in big kicks and triple pirouettes. Navigating the space between making thoughtful art and selling tickets is tricky business, but a worthy challenge.


I am originally from New Jersey but grew up in North Carolina. I have lived in Charlotte since 2000, when I moved here to attend UNCC, but I grew up just outside of Charlotte.


One husband and two pups!


BA in Dance from UNCC (2003) and MFA in Dance from Hollins University (2017)

Any hobbies? Any hobbies a side business?

Cooking, walking my dogs, seeing local bands (particularly my husband's, Sinners & Saints). Nope, but that would be awesome!

What are you passionate about?

Dance and being a good person.

Tell us about the nonprofit OurBRIDGE:

I partner with OurBRIDGE for Kids, an after school program for immigrant and refugee students. I've been teaching dance classes for these amazing kids for three years, and it's often the highlight of my week.

What do you love about Charlotte?

I love that Charlotte is big enough to feel like a "real" city, and of course it's growing everyday. But it's still small enough, particularly in the arts, to get to know your community and peers - to make real connections.

Congrats on your recent award and on completing your MFA!

Thank you! I am a recent recipient of the Arts and Science Council's inaugural Creative Renewal Fellowship, which is pretty incredible. The award provides funding to four artists to further deepen their creative practice through an individual and immersive project. I also just completed my MFA last week!

Photo credit: Orfeas Skutelis

Favorite spot in Charlotte to eat, shop, relax, get outdoors, grab coffee/smoothie?

I'm kind of a homebody, as I rarely leave my neighborhood of Plaza Midwood. I love Bistro la Bon, Common Market, Soul Gastrolounge, and Nova's...a lot.

What is something people would be surprised to learn about you?

I can't ride a bike. I can stand on my head or balance on one leg for hours but put me on a bicycle and I just fall down. My body doesn't get it!

If money wasn't an issue, what would you do with your time each day?

Make dance, cook, walk my dogs, and see local bands, haha!

Any unique talents?

Being a dance artist in a big, Southern, banking town?

Any social media accounts you would like to share?



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