What happens when people of different ages, races, and walks of life--many of them strangers to each other--come together to create art?
On Thursday, August 24, seventeen members of the community joined seventeen of Full Circle Dance Company's artists for the free community workshop To Dance and To Dream, created with the support of The Clifton House.
Medical students, a police officer, a software engineer, a neurologist, a rock musician, and many more engaged deeply with the poem A Dream of Foxes by Lucille Clifton, the renowned poet and activist who served as Maryland's Poet Laureate and raised her family in Baltimore.
Participants discussed the poem, danced together to live drumming, then worked in small groups to create movement inspired by Clifton's work. They performed their small-group choreography for each other to vigorous applause. For many, the workshop served as an introduction to Lucille Clifton, but for at least one participant, whose shoulders were graced with a tattoo of Clifton's words, it was a chance to celebrate a personal literary hero.
The evening concluded with a performance by Full Circle Dance Company of an excerpt from Artistic Director Donna L. Jacobs's work in progress, which is inspired by Clifton's poetry. The community participants shared their feedback with enthusiasm and generosity. Jacobs will draw on this feedback as she continues to build the work, which is entitled This Dream of Me.
"I was absolutely amazed by the courage, openness, and creativity of the members of the community who joined us for this workshop," said Full Circle Associate Artistic Director Liz Pelton. "The insights they shared deepened our dancers' understanding of Jacobs's work, which will be a centerpiece of And Still, We Dream, our November 18-19 show at Baltimore Theatre Project."
For participant Shanna Daniels, the workshop offered a chance to be expressive in a supportive environment. Daniels, a former dancer, said, "This workshop brought me a sense of joy and an outlet I’d been searching for for a while now. I enjoyed myself more than expected and appreciated everyone’s welcoming aura."
And Still, We Dream and the To Dance and To Dream workshop are supported in part by the Robert W. Deutsch Foundation, The Creative Baltimore Award Funded by the Mayor's Office and the City of Baltimore, a Creativity Grant from the Maryland State Arts Council, and The Clifton House.