Photo by Camilla Greenwell
Born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Toi B. Brown began dance in Kindergarten in their after school program and experienced the fun in recreational dance. A few years later, Toi moved from Philadelphia to the small Tennessee town of Oak Ridge. In Oak Ridge, she turned her sights from recreational dance to competitive dance with the Oak Ridge Academy of Dance (ORAD), where she performed at the FedEx Orange Bowl halftime show in Miami, FL. Upon entering high school she began training at Dancers Pointe, a studio under the direction of a ballet mistress and master, to reeducate her body in Ballet technique. During this time, Toi became a more committed dancer and entered beginner ballet classes with elementary aged students. It proved to be one of the toughest times of her life, but it furnished her with a solid technique base. Whilst receiving such a vital foundation of Ballet at Dancers Pointe, she began attending conventions and continued dancing competitively with local Knoxville, TN studios Knox Dance Worx and Revolution Dance. In the summers of her sophomore and junior year, she was accepted to the Atlanta Festival Ballet Summer Intensive and the Tennessee Governors School for the Arts program. The TN Governors School program was a 5 – week program that expanded her understanding of the arts world and shaped how dance would impact her future.
After the Governors School program, Toi decided to make dance her career and choose to attend the University of Georgia (UGA) where she received a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Dance. During her tenure at UGA she danced alongside professional companies, Diavolo Dance Theatre and the Joe Goode Performance Group, and worked with world-renowned choreographer, Chet Walker. As a member of the first UGA study abroad dance program, Toi traveled to the Universidad Nacional Costa Rica in San Jose with the Programa Danza Abierta UCR and Compañía Nacional de Danza. At UGA, she danced in countless Department of Dance productions, some of which were featured at the American College Dance Festival Association (later renamed the American College Dance Association) and developed a choreographic style that fuses Contemporary, Jazz, and Hip Hop.
After graduating from UGA, Toi trained in New York at the Ailey School in their Professional Division Summer Intensive, and then moved to Atlanta, GA. In Atlanta, she taught Ballet and Tap in private preschools for Studio Go and later became Quality Assurance Manager, while training at Gotta Dance Atlanta as a scholarship recipient. Shortly after, she joined the Atlanta Dance Connection as a Female Artist where she trained diligently in Horton and Classical Ballet. With the Atlanta Dance Connection, Toi traveled nationally and performed on numerous stages including the International Association of Blacks in Dance and The Black Academy of Arts and Letters.
Remaining committed to further her education, in November of 2019 Toi graduated from the London Contemporary Dance School (LCDS) to receive a Master of Arts with Merit. After auditioning in New York, NY for LCDS, she was selected to become an EDge Performance Company member under the direction of Jeanne Yasko. Now that Toi has obtained her Master Degree, she will be looking for ways to perform internationally, expand her teaching experience, and explore her own choreographic styles.