Artist of the Issue: Kimanie (Kiki) Brown ’20

Participating+in+the+Dance+Company+has+been+a+goal+of+Brown%27s+since+his+Upper+Mid+year.

Kiki Brown ’20, via Instagram

Participating in the Dance Company has been a goal of Brown's since his Upper Mid year.

Kimanie (Kiki) Brown ’20 is a two-year Senior, Varsity football player, singer, actor, and dancer. This week, Arts & Leisure commemorates his performance in the annual Dance Company production last winter by interviewing him.

Why did you decide to join the Dance Company? What does dancing mean to you?

Participating in the Dance Company has been a goal of mine since Upper Mid year, when I first entered Hotchkiss. However, I had to put my dreams of twirling on the mainstage on the back burner. I made a commitment to my football team to train throughout the year, so I did dynamic [training in the winter] instead. When the opportunity came around this year for me to join Dance Company, I knew I had to finally take my chance and go for it! There was absolutely nothing holding me back.

What was your favorite part of the whole experience?

My favorite part of the whole experience was shocking everyone in the Dance Company with my flexibility and everything else that I could do. When you look at this jovial six-foot-two, offensive/defensive lineman from Brooklyn, NY, doing the splits isn’t one of the first things that crosses your mind. Although I wish more guys joined the Dance Company, it was nice being that safe haven for people – when someone needed a lift, I was there, and when someone needed someone to talk to, I [was also] there. Being that person that held the group together felt natural to me, and I enjoyed being the person [who] could give my peers a sense of optimism whenever they felt that we couldn’t memorize choreography for the winter performance.

Also, I loved how I was able to blend all of my interests through the art of dance. I was also able to practice my love for Spanish while dancing to “La Reina de la Salsa” by Celia Cruz. (That means “The Queen of Salsa” for all of you non-Spanish speakers). Being able to smoothly move your body and sing is all conveyed through the Spanish language, and I enjoyed every moment of it!

 

What is your artistic process? What other art activities are you involved in at school? 

Before dance rehearsals, I always stretch while listening to music such as “Vogue” by Madonna or anything by The Weekend. Listening to music while stretching gives me time to reflect on my life and manifest my goals into existence; it’s so therapeutic. 

If architecture counts as an art, then yes. I am also a part of Blue Notes, Gospel Choir, and the Step Team. Not to mention, I created my own Barbershop Quartet on campus, so needless to say, I get my fair share of the arts at Hotchkiss.

What were some challenges you encountered and how did you overcome them?

Since coming to Hotchkiss last year, one of my problems has been involving myself in too many activities and spreading myself too thin. Outside of the Dance Company, I worked out for hours, and I had to make sure that I was there for my peers and doing all of this can take a toll on the body. For example, during a day where I was in production week for Dance Company, I had to endure an eight-hour rehearsal day because I was involved in Step Team, which was also a part of the dance company Winter Performance. I [also] got cast for the lead roles in the Mr. Burns Spring HDA Production. Being so exhausted contributed to me hurting myself while doing a handstand in rehearsal. Yes, I had a minor set-back, but trust me I’ve been through worse, and I wasn’t going to let a minor injury stop me from performing at my best and being there for the Dance Company.

Also, when I started Dance Company, I wasn’t “out.” It was hard for me to do certain dance moves without having people squint at me a certain way, or at least I feared that they would. It was nice to finally give my Chapel talk, come out, live in my truth, and embrace my gay identity unapologetically. As a result, I was able to dance the way that I wanted to and actually be me.

 

What should the viewers take away from your performances?

JOIN DANCE COMPANY! I know that there’s this stigma behind guys being involved in dancing, but it’s a great way for one to work on their agility and flexibility, which is [also[ crucial in the game of football and life in general. I want the viewers to take away the fact that I don’t like to put myself in a box. I’m a loving person who likes to dip their toes (or rather point their toes) in every aspect of life.