Our mission is to create meaningful human connections through the arts for communities and individuals at every age and stage of life and to design programs that strengthen the social and emotional health of families, youth, and elders.
We envision a culture of creative movement and music within families, community spaces, senior centers, neighborhoods nationally and globally. By utilizing the connective and healing agents of the arts, we see Dance & Bmore’s community strengthening philosophy and techniques expanding through training and certifications that prepare like minded arts facilitators for a more holistic approach to community building through arts and culture.
“I don’t see the arts as out of my lane. I see the arts as a powerful source of healing. As a doctor my job is to think about healing..the arts is a way of unlocking joy and joy is one of the most powerful antidotes for stress. Stress we learn each year has more and more adverse effects on ones health.”
– Former US Surgeon General, Vivek Hallegere Murthy
Artistic Director CJay Philip – I’ve worked with children my entire career, as an arts educator I most enjoyed seeing them develop and find themselves through music, dance, theatre and visual arts. As a program director I spent a lot of time working with teaching artists, some were brilliant in the way they engage and inspire students. I would go into a class to “evaluate” and learn so much from other arts educators. At the end of each session parents would pack into a closing performance thrilled to watch their child’s presentation through a tiny camera lens. As I saw this, I couldn’t help feeling like the parents were getting jipped. They were missing out on all the amazing discoveries and memorable moments their child was having each week with us, the teaching artists. Something about that seemed counter productive for everyone, but I put that thought on the back burner.
Skip ahead to 2009, my husband and I moved from NYC to Baltimore and in November 2010 I started my dance company by launching our first program, the Dance & Bmore Family Jam later renamed FazaFam. I created the FazaFam program with the belief that meeting the needs of the whole family is key to fostering lasting change and positive memories that encourage better choices. Empowering parents with essential tools to encourage their children’s creativity, activity and healthy self esteem is crucial. I am extremely passionate about what we are building and believe that investing in transforming the culture within a household will fortify families, build stronger communities and change our world.
Since 2011 the Dance & Bmore Ensemble of musicians, dancers and spoken word artists have provided Forever Fit & Fun jam sessions at senior centers, adult day cares and low income housing for elders in Baltimore MD. In partnership with Station North Art & Entertainment District, Dance & Bmore was part of a National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) Our Town grant from 2014-2015. During this time, Dance & Bmore held bi-weekly jam sessions at the J Van Story Branch Apartments and designed a program that is now implemented in senior programs throughout the city. Fusing live Soul Music with a hint of Jazz and Rhythm and Blues creates a funky, fabulous holistic approach to health and wellness that stimulates the imagination and strengthen relationships while building a sense of community. Dance & Bmore’s memory-based movement and storytelling captures the history of our elders and encapsulate them so beautifully that we’ve created an Elder Ensemble who performs with the company. This is truly transformative for the seniors who not only see the creative energy of the artistic community around them but how they play an important role in it.
Both of these programs have shaped Dance & Bmore’s focus and philosophy. Though the arts we aim to create as many genuine human connections as possible. Cross cultural, generational and across any other invisible barriers that keep us at arms length. Today we live in a time of such clear disconnect between people and generations. With an increase in social media innovation, we as a society have become less social than ever before. This loss of human connection in not benign, the short and long term effects are detrimental to our mental health, our families and our society. From cradle to grave research shows human connection is vital. We are the artists, the connectors, the community builders bridging the gap to bring humans back together.