The movement won't stop for 11 hours at the Mechanic

Dance Baltimore! offers dance for everyone

Stage: theater, music, dance

April 24, 2003|By Mary Carole McCauley | Mary Carole McCauley,SUN ARTS WRITER

Dance Baltimore! really will be a movable feast.

The free, daylong celebration of choreographed movement Saturday will feature master classes, a young people's matinee and an evening show drawing upon Baltimore-area professional dance troupes specializing in modern, ballet, jazz, hip-hop, ethnic, period and tap/percussive dance. There will be performances by daring young men and women on flying trapezes representing Air Bernasconi, and the renowned Eva Anderson Dancers, an African-American troupe that has toured Europe.

"This event demonstrates that dance is for everyone," says Cheryl T. Goodman, an organizer of the event. "It's for men, women and children, for young and old. It celebrates the beauty, excitement, benefits and simple joy of dance."

Planning for Dance Baltimore! began last June, when representatives of local troupes met with the aim of increasing their visibility in Charm City. The groups decided to launch a major event "that not only introduced Baltimore audiences to its own dance community but that demonstrated the power of dance," Goodman says. The Mechanic Theatre donated its facilities for the entire day. And what better time to hold the event than during National Dance Week, which this year is April 25 through May 4?

The event kicks off with a series of master classes from 9 a.m. to noon on the Mechanic Theatre stage: a class in modern dance taught by Sarah Seely, a member of a dance troupe called movement/addiction; a class in jazz and hip-hop taught by Lori Goodman of the Eubie Blake Cultural Center and a class in African dance taught by members of the Sankofa Dance Theatre.

Because teens mature so quickly physically, dance is perhaps the art form in which young performers are most likely to display professional-caliber skills. The 2 p.m. matinee will showcase the best high school and commercial studio student dance ensembles in the area, including Towson's Children's Division, Mount Hebron High School, Western High School, Baltimore Dance Tech and Morton Street Dance Center.

The event's highlight will be the evening performance by at least nine professional companies, including Air Dance Bernasconi, The Collective, Common Ground Dance Company, Eva Anderson Dancers, movement/addiction, Phoenix Dance Company, Return to Goree African Dance Company, the Stephanie Powell DanseEnsemble, and Towson University Dance Company.

Goodman says the groups are encouraged by the enthusiasm the celebration is generating. "We did this to measure the interest of the greater community in dance," she says. "From the response we've received so far, the audience is out there."

For more theater, classical music and dance events, see Page 43.

Dance Baltimore!

When: 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday

Where: Morris A. Mechanic Theatre, 25 Hopkins Plaza

Admission: Free, but tickets are required

Call: 410-637-4130 or visit www.missiontix.com

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