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Introducing the Baltimore Ballet Boys

Square - Bilal Smith by Elye Davis IV for ED4 photography.jpg
Baltimore Ballet Boy mentor Bilal Smith sits on the steps of his childhood home in West Baltimore. He’s currently dancing with the Carolina Ballet in Raleigh, N.C. Photo credit: Elye Davis IV for ED4 photography

The Baltimore Ballet Boys are not your typical dancers. Yes, they practice long hours and are dedicated to their art. But real-life circumstances make for even more challenges.

We speak with Baltimore School for the Arts dance teacher Samantha Christiansen, and Baltimore Ballet Boys founder Venesa Day:

“It takes so much courage to throw your ballet slippers into your bag and walk the streets of Baltimore and maintain the necessary toughness and masculinity that you need to make it through. But then also be able to channel that into such a beautiful, beautiful art.” Plus we hear from dancers Brandon Pigott and Sage Chng-Lim (Tsoong-Lim) and filmmaker Gabe Dinsmoor about a collaboration with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra!

Links: BSO 'Off the Cuff' performance featuring the Baltimore Ballet Boys film, Baltimore Ballet Boys, TWIGS program at Baltimore School for the Arts, Gabe Dinsmoor, filmmaker.

Sheilah Kast is the host of On The Record, Monday-Friday, 9:30-10:00 am.
Melissa Gerr is a producer for On the Record. She started in public media at Twin Cities Public Television in St. Paul, Minn., where she is from, and then worked as a field producer for Oregon Public Broadcasting in Portland. She made the jump to audio-lover in Baltimore as a digital media editor at Mid-Atlantic Media and Laureate Education, Inc. and as a field producer for "Out of the Blocks." Her beat is typically the off-beat with an emphasis on science, culture and things that make you say, 'Wait, what?'