On Saturday, May 14, the Baltimore Dance Crews Project (BDCP), an after school program that uses hip-hop dance moves to connect and strengthen relationships with students, held its 4th annual I Can B’More concert, showcasing the hard work and dedication of BDCP’s scholars. This year, dance crews coming from as far as from New York, Washington, DC and Virginia performed in front of an enthusiastic crowd that nearly filled the event hall at Notre Dame of Maryland University.
BDCP was started in January 2009 by 2015 OSI Community Fellow, Brian Gerardo (star of this video announcing the new Fellows) and Cynthia Chavez as a way to increase access to afterschool programs—something that Maryland as a whole, lacks. According to the Afterschool Alliance, the state ranks in the bottom 10 states for access to afterschool programs.
With his fellowship, Gerardo developed the Young Teaching Artist Institute (YTAI), a pilot program of BDCP. High school dancers who have been performing with BDCP for two years or longer and are interested in leading workshops or starting hip-hop dance clubs in schools throughout the city can apply for the institute. Participants receive training and mentoring that prepares them to lead afterschool BDCP workshops in Baltimore City. It’s Gerardo’s hope that the institute will lead to more afterschool programs, increase attendance and graduation rates for the city’s youth and improve their employment rate.
Photo still and video from Baltimore Dance Crews Project