Baltimore, city of dreams . . . Are we dreaming to occupy North Avenue with garden sprinklers, ball games, fun and art?
This dream began with two Baltimore musicians from different ‘scenes’ coming together to write a song about this city of contradictions. They reflected on personal and city-wide histories, juxtaposing fragments of life and singing with love about the resulting mosaic. This started a process of reflection that inspired students at the Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA) to create a mural that brings the song lyrics to visual life. And now “A Dance Called Baltimore” incorporates the original “Baltimore” song and the mural as well as new elements inspired by the hidden corners of Baltimore and this hot summer that we are living through.
Most importantly, the young performers influence the dance: their personalities, memories and hopes for the city provided the road map for the creation process. Their movement demonstrates not only their emerging talent but also their exuberance, confidence, sweetness, vulnerabilities, and goofiness. In other words, a small example of what Caleb and Saleem describe as a “walking contradiction of the prosaic, placed in the landscape of a mosaic.” The video caught this exuberance as they moved through some emblematic and emotional landmarks of Baltimore. Likewise, the soundscore weaves together the performers’ voices speaking about Baltimore with field recordings of steamy Baltimore. Can you identify Lexington Market, Druid Hill Park, North Avenue, Penn Station, Harbor Place and the Farmer’s Market by their sounds? And, of course, the backbone of the sound score is the original song that began this entire journey. We gratefully thank Caleb and Saleem for permission to use fragments of their song and to Caleb for providing additional guitar and vocal recordings.
Hosting all of this is the historic North Avenue Market. Once an anchor of the community, it was largely vacant for decades and is now in transition to once again become an anchor for the revitalizing Station North Arts and Entertainment district. Are we dreaming to dance here? Yes, and it is a dream that is slowly coming to life.
Baltimore, city of dreams. . .
Peabody Press Release: peabody.jhu.edu/545?detail=log&id=798
University of Baltimore Press Release: ubalt.edu/news/index.cfm?id=1280