In 2013, I wrote a letter to the CP. I was recently looking back for writing samples. I think this is one thing that doesn't make me wince. Mostly, because it's honest. Here is what it said. Baynard Woods went on to engage in more dance coverage in 2014. Now, if only there were more resources for dancers in Baltimore and us/they/we wouldn't have to move away in order to survive in industrial capitalist world and still make new dances.
But when we are all cyborgs and can new knees and ankles with our iphone upgrade, finding studio space will be a lot easier.
"Seriously. for the third year in a row you've neglected to both acknowledge obvious growth in dance in our city and neglected any kind of investigative research into the absences, obstacles, and challenges that have limited dance in our city for the past decade. Here are some ideas: Mobtown Balllroom in Pigtown: the Renaissance and history of social jazz dance forms in Baltimore City. Remember the Royale? Well, at least twice a week hundreds of people from across the Eastern Seaboard are swarming on a renovated church in Pigtown. Go the Paradox and see what there is to be seen. Talk to club DJs. DIY music and dance in Baltimore right now, they are linked. You are already covering the bands and artists beginning to sink their teeth into dance collaborations.
Don't know how to write about dance? Do some research. From Jill Johnston, the feminist Lester Bangs of dance, to Sally Banes, one of the first to pen to paper on the history of b-boying, there are excellent models available for how to write about dance in a way that excites a non-dance audience. Any of these topics would be better served by a journalist's grasp of the sociological complexities involving race/gender/class/structural violence, so often covered by the City Paper, than by an extensive appreciation for Balanchine's oeuvre. Though Balanchine's oeuvre is pretty fucking bad ass too. Move past the cliches and stereotypes of dance as pink frills and sequins, and dig into the art form that has historically been at the front line of embodying and addressing change, transition, and the most relevant social issues of any community.
Look, dance is a subjugated art form. And that's a complicated history a few writers at a weekly publication may not be able to change. As dancers, we know that. However, I hope that in the future, City Paper can join the ranks of the strong and sweaty to be part of the solution, not the problem.
(City Paper, Letter to the Editor, September 2014)