The Project

The “Peabody Ballroom Experience” is a public humanities collaboration between the George Peabody Library and Baltimore’s ballroom community.

ballroom performance
Chronicle Images/Legendary Marco Blahnik


  • Film screenings and roundtable discussions
  • The Ball
workshop with curator
Members of the advisory group brainstorm categories


  • Workshops and presentations by Hopkins library staff
  • Vogue workshops with the Peabody Dance Department
newspaper photo of historical ballroom performers
Source: The Baltimore Afro-American; Mar 21, 1931


  • 15 oral histories with Baltimore’s ballroom community
  • A documentary film and printed project catalogue
ballroom performer
Chronicle Images/Legendary Marco Blahnik

The 2019 Ball

Hosted by Peabody Library

On April 13, 2019, the ballroom community gathered in the historic George Peabody Library for a one of a kind ballroom experience. Opened in 1878, Baltimore’s “Cathedral of Books” features five tiers of cast-iron balconies, rising dramatically to a massive skylight 61 feet above the floor. Ballroom competitors brought to life a selection of the Library’s collection of over 300,000 books, dating from the Renaissance through the 19th century.

Read about the process in a three-part blog post: part one, the ball; part two, Peabody Dance; part three, the oral histories.

peabody library

Watch: the Peabody Ballroom Experience