Check Out FKA Twigs' 'Baltimore Dance Workshop' Documentary
FKA twigs came to Baltimore to play a show in July, but she left with the makings of a heartwarming short film about the power of music and dance to bring people together. The results, Baltimore Dance Project, can be previewed in the documentary that dropped on Wednesday (Dec. 7), chronicling the singer's unexpectedly moving workshop at the city's Lithuanian Hall on July 18, 2016.
"When I was thinking about doing a dance project, the obvious places would be L.A. or New York but I thought why not go to a place that obviously has so much soul and so much amazing energy?" the singer said in a statement. "You'll be able to connect with them rather than being another artist that is passing through."
The project came together on one of the hottest days of the summer, when FKA twigs put a social media call out to let fans know she was holding a free workshop, with more than 400 dancers showing up. According to a press release, the singer and collaborators Ramon Baynes, Kash Powell and Dominic Lawrence choreographed the group for more than five hours, teaching them routines and encouraging the crew to make up their own steps as well. The results can be seen in the nine-minute documentary directed by her longtime collaborator Nick Walker.
Check out the trailer below (and click here to view the entire film.)
Read a portion of the essay on the project from Rob Alderson editor of We Transfer's blog's This Works:
It started with a Tweet. Or rather it started with four Tweets, sent by FKA twigs on July 18th. “Hey I’m running a free dance workshop in Baltimore tomorrow afternoon,” it began. The next day, with the temperature running in the 90s, around 400 dancers answered the call, and came in their droves to Baltimore’s Lithuanian Hall. As they waited in the queue, impromptu voguing battles broke out.
“Over the past couple of years, Baltimore has always seemed to be in the news for really sad and tragic things,” the 28-year-old British artist explains. “When I was thinking about doing a dance project, the obvious places would be LA or New York but I thought why not go to a place that obviously has so much soul and so much amazing energy? You’ll be able to connect with them rather than being another artist that is passing through.”
Baltimore is a city which comes with preconceptions. Many people know it only through The Wire, the sprawling HBO series which focused on its drug gangs and political corruption. In recent years, it has endured grim headlines after multiple police shootings of local black men. The weekend before the workshop, 65 people were arrested at a Black Lives Matter protest in the city.
“I just wanted to see what the truth was, and the truth was very different from what the media had made it out to be,” twigs says. The city she found had an energy, an openness and a spirit she fell in love with.
“When you are there and everyone’s laughing, or you walk down the street and someone helps you with something. How you feel a beat pulsing under your feet that makes you want to explore. When you call 400 people into a room and by themselves they start whiling out and going crazy, doing backflips, dancing together. That’s soul. That’s vitality.”