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Exploring Life & Business with Indya Childs of The Peace, Love, and Dance Project

Today we’d like to introduce you to Indya Childs.

Hi Indya, it’s an honor to have you on the platform. Thanks for taking the time to share your story with us – to start maybe you can share some of your backstory with our readers?
Thanks for having me. Well, I was born and raised in Atlanta, GA and earned my degree in dance from Kennesaw State University. I quickly want to add that I have always been so proud to be from Atlanta because this city truly does influence everything. This past year clearly showed that. Before the pandemic, I moved to New York to dance with Abby Z and The New Utility. The week that our new dance work was scheduled to premiere in March became the week that our country went into lockdown. With a flash, everything changed. I moved back to Atlanta and was not quite sure what to do next. Feeling hopeless with the state of the world added with the many racial injustices that were occurring in our country, I decided to create a place for collaboration and support during the turmoil of 2020. Thus, the Peace, Love, and Dance Project was born.

Can you talk to us a bit about the challenges and lessons you’ve learned along the way. Looking back would you say it’s been easy or smooth in retrospect?
2020 will be a year that the world will never forget. From the COVID-19 pandemic, the murders of Ahmaud Arbery, George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, businesses being shut down, arts and entertainment on hold, it was a lot to process. I also lost my grandmother amid everything. I am honestly still trying to process a lot of this even now in 2021. This past year shined a light on many issues that have been overlooked in this country. Topics such as diversity, inclusion, and equality were starting to be discussed more, however, I am more of an action person. It is one thing to talk about these important matters, but it is another to put plans into action. That is what this country is ready for: putting plans into action. This comes from holding others, especially our elected officials, accountable. I took the deaths of Ahmaud Arbery, George Floyd, and Breonna Taylor to heart, especially Ahmaud’s as this happened right here in Georgia. I was so disheartened because these traumatic events all occurred during a global pandemic. I was shocked that even a global pandemic could not put a pause on racism. I could discuss this for hours as this year I have become a bit consumed by politics and the history of America. To go back to the Peace, Love, and Dance Project, it originated simply as a social media call to action to dancers around the US to promote unity while expressing what that danced for in response to the current state of the world. I created two movement phrases that dancers could learn, record themselves, and post on social media. I redesigned my personal website and posted all the details of the project there. The idea was to encourage unity and to creatively use our differences to elevate while we try to process the state of our country. Dancers from all over the US responded to the call and I created a dance film with all the submissions. From this, I decided to keep the project going and turn the Peace, Love, and Dance Project into an organization.

Appreciate you sharing that. What else should we know about what you do?
The Peace, Love, and Dance Project lives by the mission of Artists Supporting Artists. It is a place for elevation, collaboration, and building community. It is a place for artists to bring their ideas, create, and feel supported and inspired even during a pandemic. As a Black female artist, it is also a place for action. As the organization continues to grow, I have plans on creating more opportunities and partnerships based in mental health as many artists are told to leave their problems at the door when they walk into a dance studio. I feel that this is unhealthy. We must, as artists, be able to discuss societal issues and feel supported when we do so safely and properly. We must recognize our differences and celebrate them. I looked forward to the future of the Peace, Love, and Dance Project and what it will bring to the world.

What matters most to you?
Collaboration is the most important aspect of the organization. I believe that we must all humble ourselves and learn from each other. I feel that we can make this world a better place by creatively celebrating and acknowledging our differences. As Audre Lorde beautifully explains, “In our world, divide and conquer must become define and empower.”

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