AKIMBO is a 3-part dance series upholding the mission to increase awareness and opportunities for Baltimore’s professional dance scene; to build community between artists, venues, and audiences; and to set the groundwork for future collaborations.
AKIMBO Teaser occurs in conjunction with the late August Final Friday and Scape Scape, a music festival in Station North Arts & Entertainment District (SNAED). Dance companies perform improvisational scores in a round robin fashion, cycling through 5 locations in the arts district. Additionally, a FREE dance class is held at Wonderground, allowing for ALL community members to join in the dance experience.
AKIMBO: A Site-Specific Dance Artwalk is the main event on September 15th from 2:00-5:00PM. This event pairs 20 professional dance companies with 20 SNAED locations. Musicians, performers, and other creative types join the dance companies in crafting performances that speak to the visual artwork and/or theme of a rich variety of locations. Audiences walk through businesses, sidewalks, and grassy knolls while experiencing the beauty and vibrancy of dance. Collaboration, communication, and experimentation are the key requirements of all participants.
Unique to Baltimore, this annual event engages audiences in site-specific performances along a flowing, experiential journey. AKIMBO weaves audiences through a multitude of businesses on North Avenue and Charles, along a dance parade down East Lanvale, on a winding journey through Cork Factory, and over to Area 405 and Gallery City Arts. Strategically located volunteers in bright yellow shirts assist people in moving from place to place and in interacting with site-specific dance. Audiences further create their own journey by perusing the AKIMBO website, www.AkimboBaltimore.com, and referencing the colorful postcards.
Due to the tour’s walking nature, this event was as much about the journey between the spaces as the experience within. AKIMBO connects the northwestern and southeastern parts of SNAED, allowing the audience to feel comfortable and adventurous navigating SNAED. A sense of beauty and safety within the community develops as audiences become aware of the rich and diverse offerings of Baltimore’s arts scene.
AKIMBO Spree is the third event at Windup Space on September 18th from 8:00-9:30PM. Dance companies gather to present excerpts of their findings/presentations from the AKIMBO Artwalk. This celebratory event proves to be a very important component of AKIMBO, allowing companies to share their artistry and to mingle.
As a lead-up to AKIMBO, artists enjoy FREE workshops facilitated by Liz Lerman and Meet & Greets are held in SNAED locations. Following the Artwalk and Spree, after parties continue collaborative discussions, to heighten community building, and to demonstrate support and appreciation of all artists.
AKIMBO is a project of Deep Vision Dance Company, under the direction of co-founders and co-coordinators Nicole Martinell, dancer and choreographer, and Sidney Pink, local artists and curator.
Other key players for the success of this event are a volunteer committee, a project assistant, Deep Vision Dance Company interns, a volunteer coordinator, 20 artistic directors, venue coordinators, and 60 plus artists wholeheartedly participating. Many people volunteer their time to make this event possible with the plan to make this an annual happening. This event is about building and upholding community.
AKIMBO is graciously funded by the Robert W. Deutsch Foundation; National Endowment for the Arts; the William G. Baker, Jr. Memorial Fund, creator of the Baker Artists Awards, www.bakerartistawards.com; Station North Arts & Entertainment, Inc., www.stationnorth.org; The Citizens of Baltimore County; Towson University Department of Dance; and MICA.