To be a dancer or choreographer in Baltimore is to struggle. Local dance companies, large and small, do not enjoy the financial security that provides the cohesion and consistency to build a reliable base of support, and to attract new audiences. The Maryland Ballet, the latest victim of dance apathy in Baltimore, recently canceled three performances and has laid off 12 dancers. The company remains uncertain about other scheduled appearances.
Baltimore also suffers from a lack of artistic confidence, observers say, which leads the city to look beyond its limits for dance entertainment.
Nevertheless, local dancers remain feisty and innovative in their determination to keep dance alive in Baltimore. Here is a sampling of dance highlights, local and otherwise:
Choreographer Peter Madden and the Dance Process will collaborate with the Baltimore Choral Arts Society in a celebration of Mozart's birthday. Call 523-7070 for details.
University of Maryland
Mark Dendy's choreography has been described as gender blind. His Dendy Dance company examines relationships, evolutions, violence and heritage as part of the Progressions 1991 series at the university. Call 455-2476.
KanKouran West African
Kinetics Dance Theater
Feb. 9 and 10
The KanKouran West African Dance Company is an electric groups of 22 drummers and dancers, which returns to the area for a performance at the Kinetics Dance Theater in Ellicott City. Call 461-9907.
Brave New Works
Towson State University
Feb. 9 and 10
Brave New Works, Towson State University's contemporary performance series, features choreographers Tish Carter and Jeff McMahon in a joint-program called "The Power of the Moving Word: a Showcase of Text-Based Choreographer." Call 830-4013 for details.
Alvin Ailey Dance Theater, Morris A. Mechanic Theatre, Feb. 14-16. The Alvin Ailey Dance Theater makes Baltimore the first stop of its North American tour. During its three-night engagement, the company performs two Ailey revivals as well as four 1990 premieres choreographed by artistic director Judith Jamison, Donald McKayle, Lar Lubovitch and Kris World. Call 625-1400.
Washington Ballet, Goucher College, March 1 and 2. The Washington Ballet comes to Goucher College March 1 and 2 and again in early May. The first performance features the American premiere of Nils Christe's "Before Nightfall." Call 225-3131.
Downtown Dance Company, Charles Street, April 4 and May 2. The Downtown Dance Company will present the works in progress of five local choreographers in a storefront along the Charles Street corridor as part of the April 4 and May 2 First Thursdays programs. The location for these performances has not been determined. Call 547-2486 for more information.
"Out on Limb Series," St. John's United Methodist Church, May 3 and 4. Kathy Wildberger's "Out on Limb Series" showcases the completed works of the First Thursday choreographers in a concert called "Loose Limbs." Call 367-3843.
The Next Ice Age, Columbia Ice Rink, April 2-7. The Next Ice Age is a Baltimore ice skating ensemble with a guiding love for dance. The ensemble appears with guest soloist Dorothy Hamill. Tickets should go on sale in two weeks. Call 685-4977.
Forrest Collection, Goucher College, April 4 and 5. The Forrest Collection presents a benefit concert for AIDS Action Baltimore. The concert will feature a premiere work by Juliet Forrest, "A Dark Night of the Soul," based on the writings of St. John of the Cross. Call 653-0258.