Review: Southern Voices: Dance Out Loud 6

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This weekend I had the opportunity to indulge in my first real New Orleans dance event, Southern Voices: Dance Out Loud 6. The annual three-day choreography festival is the brainchild of D’Project, INC. founders: Artistic Director, Eddy Villalta and Executive Producer, John Stockwell. In it’s sixth season at the Contemporary Arts Center, Southern Voices showcased 16 local choreographers, 2 international choreographers, and provided 4 master dance classes FREE to the community. As the only festival of it’s kind in Louisiana, Southern Voices is a beacon for local artist to showcase their work and further enrich the city’s artistic heritage.

I was drawn to this event because I’ve been very curious about the New Orleans professional dance scene. It is no secret New Orleans is a hub for various art forms but dance seems to be lost in the crowd. (Specifically local concert dance.) Southern Voices not only proved to me that there is a strong dance community present in New Orleans, but also that the level of talent in the city is underrated.

After attending both programs I have to tip my hat to Mr. Villalta and Mr. Stockwell. The production of the festival was very well done. The choreographers presented pieces that brought style, grace, creativity, and diversity. I’ve never gone to a show and viewed belly dancing, modern dance, and traditional cultural dances in one sitting. It was a weirdly, fun, entertaining time. Some standouts work for me were:  Anne Burr’s quirky Preen Up, Jarrell Hamilton’s powerful Untitled: House is not a Home/When, Donna Crump’s flawless The Rooftop, Marcela Aguilar’s sensual Piel Adentro, and Barry Stoneking’s traditional Wherever Ya Go There Ya Are. Before Southern Voices: Dance Out Loud 6 I never had the opportunity to see a majority of these choreographers work. I was very impressed not only by the stories the choreographers told but their extensive use of technique. I’m really excited to see what else New Orleans dance will bring.

-B. Adina AKA The Bayou Ballerina

Here’s a full list of this year’s presenters. Click here to see pictures from the festival.

SHOWCASE ONE
• LISA ANN RICHARDSON | D’Project
• MARION SPENCER | Converge Dance Collective
• MARITZA MERCADO-NARCISSE | Narcisse|Movement Project
• ALLIE TIMBERLAKE | Back Pages Dance
• GRIFFIN COLLINS | SYNERGY Dance Productions
• EDDY VILLALTA | D’Project
• SHANNON WOLFE & JEANNE McKAY | Hip-ocrisy
• KIRK KENNETH GAGNON | kwork
• MARCELA AGUILAR | Calydra
• SVETLANA AL NEYADI | Fantasia Ballet

SHOWCASE TWO
• MEGAN ALSOP | D’Project
• JARRELL HAMILTON | Jarrell Hamilton Dance Repertoire
• DONNA CRUMP | Good Dance Since 1984
• ANNE BURR | Anne Burr Dance Company
• SVETLANA AL NEYADI | Fantasia Ballet
• EDDY VILLALTA | D’Project
• DAWN PALAZZO | Harmony Dance Ensemble
• MARCELA AGUILAR | Calydra
• BARRY STONEKING | 2B Tribe

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