Maia Charanis

Interview Highlights
Q: Do you believe dance can be a platform for social justice topics? If so, how?
Absolutely, In college I experienced more of that social awareness side. Dance is a form of expression — people can create these visual images and movements that are so profound to the audience. It is a deeper understanding of the message that is trying to be put forth within a certain topic. Tanya Widman, who I worked with in college, choreographs about the Black experience. As a white woman, that is not necessarily something I understand because I am not living that experience. However they taught us to look deeper and to listen to these narratives and that was eye opening for me — that it is imperative that you listen to these stories and that these stories are heard. So I think having that visual resounding image for audiences it's kind of like, see it to believe it. We have this power to show something with our bodies that is so human and also transcend that human experience to something greater.
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Maia Charanis is an Atlanta-based professional dancer, currently dancing with Kit Modus. With Kit Modus she has performed works by Jillian Mitchell, Noelle Kayser and Mark Caserta. She also went on tour with Kit Modus to perform in the 2019 Women in Dance Festival in Philadelphia. Maia grew up dancing in Atlanta under the direction of Jonnie C. Kelley at the Dancer’s Studio Backstage, and performed with their pre-professional company Atlanta Dance Theatre. In 2014 Maia graduated from North Springs Charter High School’s Visual and Performing Arts Magnet Program, and in 2018 Maia graduated magna cum laude from the University of South Carolina with a bachelor’s degree in Dance Performance and Choreography. While at USC Maia performed works by George Balanchine, Paul Taylor, Thaddeus Davis, Tanya Wideman-Davis and Brian Arias. In 2017 Maia was awarded the Director’s Award, and in 2018 she performed at the Kennedy Center with the USC Dance Company for the National Festival of the American College Dance Festival. Maia also worked with Sarah Hillmer’s ImmerseATL program from 2018-2019.