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Let's Move: a Community Dance Concert

At The Baltimore Museum of Art April 19

By Ruth Reader | Posted 4/23/2008

The Baltimore Museum of Art's auditorium was packed last Saturday for Dance Baltimore's Let's Move: A Community Dance Concert. The show was the culmination of a four-part dance series throughout the month of April that showed off the local amateur and professional dance community, from young to old. The nine acts ranged in composition from modern dance to hip-hop and faith-based dance. Choreographers included Amanda Fair from Poetic Xpressions Dance Company, Dante Jennifer from Full Circle Dance Company, and Chris Michael, the choreographer for R&B singer Lil' Mo. But the performances weren't so much about the choreographers as they were the dancers.

Cheryl Goodman, director of Dance Baltimore, prides the organization on being able to pluck the average Joe out of the woodwork and show him he can dance, and most of the performing dancers were amateurs. Some of the dance numbers weren't as in sync as they could have been, and some dancers weren't performance ready just yet. But Goodman achieved her goal. The dancers had clearly worked hard for the performance and had garnered the courage to get up onstage and move. And the audience helped build that confidence. Screams, cheers, and "Oh yeah, girl" spilled from the audience with every twirl and hip pop the dancers gave. What was most remarkable about the performances were the few brilliant dancers who really made the choreography speak.

"Let Him Be the Judge of Me," choreographed by Tiffany Butler, was an excellent example of this. The piece more or less expressed the trials, stresses, and mistakes of everyday life and how at the end of the day only God can judge you. It was performed by a mixed level of dancers in flowing white costumes. While there was more than one good dancer, one small wiry but muscular African-American young woman really stood out. It was not only her onstage presence that captured the audience, but the way her arabesque appeared to reach on forever in perfect form and strength, or how her general ballet technique matched her ferocity.

While it was nice to see members of the dance community collaborating with those who ordinarily don't dance, the performance left us thinking. Will Baltimore's dance community be able to present enough of a challenge to local talent to keep them in dancing in this city? Hopefully the remainder of the spring dance season will provide some indication.

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