Marigny Opera House New Dance Festival took place September 26th- 29th. I went to the Friday and Saturday night shows in order to view both programs. Here’s a few thoughts on each piece.
Tsunami Dance : “Holding Chaos”
Choreographer: Kettye Voltz
Tsunami Dance demonstrated that there is strength in simplicity. The piece started with dancers Christine Barona, Mary Glackmeyer, and Frances Gremillion standing in a circle enthralled with something on the floor. What started with a simple poking with their toes turned into a whirlwind as the three women were soon a drift into circular motion across the floor. The dancers were both powerful and graceful with their lines and intention. I understood choreographer, Kettye Voltz, message of being swept away by life.
Chard Gonzalez Dance Theater: “Raygun Gothic”
Choreographer: Chard Gonzalez
This piece was an interesting one. Choreographer, Chard Gonzalez, took a dance theater approach to explore 1950’s science fiction. Dancers Madison Alford, Mary Carol Chenet, Christopher Forsyth, and Chard Gonzalez, embodied 4 kids who have a run in with quirky extraterrestrial, Reese Johanson. The choreography was both witty and theatrical.
Good Dance Since 1984: “Keeper of the Flame”
Choreographer: Donna Crump
Good Dance Since 1984 keeps living up to its name. Dancers Donna Crump, Gabrielle Edgerson, Natalie Nocentelli, Brianna Nowlin, Peryn St. Raymond, and Jasmin Simmons brought down the house. The piece examined the male-dominated Mardi Gras Indian culture through the point of view of the Big Queen. They may have been portraying Queens but these dancers were not danity. They were warriors, a force to be reckoned as they attacked their movements with fierceness. These women weren’t dancing they were battling.
Diogo de Lima: “South/South”
This piece was MASTERFUL! Dancers Darrius Gray, Diogo de Lima, Jesse Egan and vocalist John Boutte were amazing. I love male dancers who can dance and these boys can DANCE. Technically, creatively, musically, everything worked. South/South was a great mix of Brazil and New Orleans and I loved every moment of it.
Maya Taylor: “They Shoot Horses, Don’t They”
Maya Taylor is an artist. Her work was both original and technical (elements I love). Maya Taylor knows how to utilize and highlight her dancers. The added props did not distract but only enhanced the movement. The dancers in this piece included: Ellery Burton, Rachel Clark, Gabrielle Edgerson, Kirk Gagnon, Kehinde Ishangi, Katie Riggs, Jasmin Simmons, and Marion Spencer.
Monica Ordonez: “Out of the Blue”
Monica Ordonez’s “Out of the Blue” examined the survival of both the literal and figurative storms of human relationships. I appreciated the whimsical feel of the piece as well as the technical use of the dancers. I also loved the multimedia elements used. By incorporating a section of pre-recorded dance it brought a different artistic element to the work. All in all it was really good, fun dance. The dancers used were Alex Baron, Grant Johnson, Elizabeth Mantalas, Braedon Mason, and Monica Ordonez.
In closing, I absolutely LOVED the Marigny Opera House New Dance Festival. I kept thinking “where are these dancers coming from?” All of the choreographers have inspired me and I hope to work with them all. If there’s anything i’ve learned from this festival it’s that New Orleans is HAWT right now in Dance! Some great things are being created in this city.
-B.Adina AKA The Bayou Ballerina