It’s no secret, Dancing Grounds studio is slowing becoming one of my favs in New Orleans. Executive Director, Laura Stein, and her team are onto something really special. On September 7th I attended one of Dancing Grounds famous Pop-Up Shows. This one in honor of the studio’s new St. Claude home which will open in 2014. I’ve heard about Dancing Grounds shows but unfortunately never been able to attend so you could imagine my excitement. I can honestly say the event lived up to its reputation.
Upon arriving at the Speakeasy Studio I didn’t know what to expect. The scene was actually quite intimate, which was surprising. I felt like i stepped into the movie Rent. Outside there was a makeshift theater where small gatherings of people socialized and watched as 3 dancers improved on a stage. Insidepeople were browsing tables which showcased local artwork and fashions. In the studio, which was garnished with artwork curated by Monica Rose Kelly, there were a few attendees dancing to the spinning styles of DJ Pr_ck. As I sipped on my free beer and settled into a seat outside, Laura Stein appeared directing her guest to make their way into the studio. It was not until then that it dawned on me, the night was just beginning.
First up was the soulful musical stylings a of Monica McIntyre. I won’t dwell too much on Monica’s performance (seeing this is a dance blog) but I will say she was a treat. Monica is New Orleans. You can hear the heartbeat of the city in each note she sings.
The night’s festivities also included the fashions of AYA Designs, the hysterical improve of acting duo Machine A, a powerful spoken word performance by Ling Schulman, and various pieces by the Dancing Grounds staff. All of the performers and presenters were fabulous. I’m officially curious to see what local choreographer, Maya Taylor, will be bringing to the stage at next week’s Marigny Opera House New Dance Festival. Also, Marion Spencer is inching closer to my watch list. It was the second time I’ve seen a piece by Marion and I’m definitely interested to see how she matures as a choreographer. I can’t leave out the spicey BUKU Krewe, comprised of the Dancing Grounds hip hop staff, who were were both fierce and energetic.
What I enjoyed so much about the pop-show was the rhythm and presentation of the acts
and the free beer. The flow from inside seating to outside was flawless. Laura Stein was a fantastic hostess keeping the audience well entertained despite technical difficulties.
By the End of the night the intimate gathering transformed into an over 250 person dance party. It was blast. Be sure to be at the next Dancing Grounds Pop-Up Show. It’s a can’t miss event!
-B. Adina Aka the Bayou Ballerina
Full list of participants:
PERFORMERS: Monica McIntyre, BUKU Dance Krewe, Maya Taylor Dance, Marion Spencer, Mata Gillam, Brieze
ARTISTS:Monica Rose Kelly (curator), AYA Designs, Caitlin Ezell Waugh, Kate Hanrahan, Collin Ferguson and Kids with Krowns
FOOD AND DRINK SPONSORS: Old New Orleans Rum, La Cocinita Food Truck, Kombucha cocktails by Ginger Licious