When Arica Brown was growing up, she didn’t picture herself dancing on a stage, much less making a career out of dance instruction and choreography.
But dance became her focus while a student at the University of Missouri–St. Louis, and since graduating she has formed Consuming Kinetics Dance Company and developed a dance instruction program.
Many people in Brown’s position start dancing early in life, but as a young child the world of tights and toe shoes did not appeal to her. Her first dance experience came when she was a student at St. Charles (Mo.) High School, and her grandmother urged her to join an extracurricular activity.
“I went out for the dance line, and I thought I wouldn’t get picked because I didn’t have dance experience,” Brown said. “It was pretty generic dance training, but it did expose me to movement.”
Brown enrolled at UMSL as an English major, but when the university began its fledgling dance program, she signed up for “Fundamentals of Dance,” followed by a dance composition class. The work of composing dances resonated with Brown and she decided to switch her major to theatre and dance.
After graduating in December 2009, Brown worked in information technology during the day and taught dance at area studios at night, sometimes teaching for free in exchange for using rehearsal space so that she could devise the choreographies that she loved. Over time, her work developed in to the Consuming Kinetics Dance Company.
In October, Consuming Kinetics earned 501(c)(3) nonprofit status, and on Feb. 27 and 28, the contemporary company will give its first performance as an official nonprofit at Duet Gallery in Grand Center. Tickets are available from the Consuming Kinetics website, www.ckdc.org.
In addition to rehearsing her company, Brown has also developed a dance education program. Brown offers youth dance classes, but her main passion is teaching adults. Adult students can start classes in ballet, jazz, hip-hop and more at any time.
Dance experience isn’t necessary to be a student of Brown’s. Her classes are designed to be warm and welcoming. All of the teachers working for her have at least a bachelor’s degree in dance and have a strong understanding of anatomy and physiology.
“There are people that find dance to be a really great outlet,” Brown said. “It’s a way to be fit, but it’s also gaining a skill set. You’re not just running on a treadmill. This is something good for your heart and your body and you’re learning something new.”