Dance Company Offers 'Common Ground' for Performers

The White-Marsh based Common Ground Dance Company hosts its annual performance June 1 at Goucher College in Towson.

Finding free time can be a challenge for Renee Newberry.

As the mother of three young children, the Middle River resident is used to hustling off to doctors appointments, play dates and other childcare-related issues.

But that has not stopped Newberry, a freelance writer and former teacher, from keeping up with one of her passions: dancing. Newberry has studied a variety of dances, and has been involved with the artform as a performer or teacher since she was 6.

Currently, Newberry is a member of the White Marsh-based Common Ground Dance Co. The group meets twice a week, and is in residence at Dancemoves Studio.  It consists of professional instructors and dancers from the Baltimore-Washington area, although most of the performers have full-time jobs outside the company.

Common Ground will host its Friday, June 1 at 8 p.m. in the Kraushaar Auditorium at Goucher College in Towson. The company will perform a mix of modern and jazz pieces from its repertoire and will share the stage with Rasta Thomas' Bad Boys of Dance, according to its website.

"Dance offers such a release," said Newberry, who has also taught ballet, tap, and jazz to young children for several years. "It's so much fun to perform on stage and teach others about dance."

Common Ground was founded in 1999 by longtime dance instructor Susan Joines. She said she started the group to provide opportunities for dancers in the region.

"There was just a void for professional dancers in the Baltimore area," Joines said. "I wanted to provide a place for dancers to display their skills with out having to leave the area."

Artistic director Jill Vasbinder said those interested in joining Common Ground need to audition, and the group is always looking for new members as dancers come and go for a variety of reasons.

"We have dancers going to law school and those studying to be a nurse," Vasbinder said. "But everyone with us brings a unique skill set and have had years of training. This isn't a place for dancers that have danced recreationally."


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