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New Orleans Ballet Association concludes master dance summer series

1st July 2013   ·   0 Comments

By Nayita Wilson
Contributing Writer

The New Orleans Ballet Association wrapped up a series of master level dance training last week.

Since early June, renowned professional dancers and choreographers from Alonzo King LINES Ballet, San Francisco Ballet, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre and Ballet Hispanico held educational dance programs for about 60 youth from across the Greater New Orleans Region.

The dance and theatre groups were brought in with support for Chevron, and classes were within the newly opened Chevron Studio inside of the New Orleans Recreation Development Com­mission’s (NORDC) Lyons Center.

NOBA executive director Jenny Hamilton said the opening of the center and the Chevron Master Artist Series culminates a 20-year partnership with NORDC and NOBA’s intent to have students train professionally.

“It’s important because it allows children continued access to quality training by our cadre faculty of local artists as well as access and exposure to some of the best dancers in the world,” Hamilton said.

Troy Powell, artistic director for Ailey II of the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre, introduced dancers to Ailey’s signature work, Revelations. He said the piece has the ability to cross social, racial and economic lines and teach history, which is why he chose to present it during his course.

“In Revelations and a lot of his earlier work, he wanted people to see what he was going through and at the end to celebrate the struggle he’s overcome. It’s just an indelible impression he has left,” Powell said of Ailey, adding that the need to pass that legacy on to future dancers is important.

In working with the upcoming dancers from New Orleans, Powell said he was blown away by the level of talent the young protégés brought to each session and said that it mirrored that of the professional dancers he works with on a daily basis.

“They approach each piece with professionalism and passion. This program is a wonderful training ground for students looking to pursue a career in dance,” Powell said.

Courtney Ross, 21, worked as an intern throughout the series. A NOBA graduate and student at The Ailey School / Fordham University where she’s pursuing a bachelor’s in fine arts, Ross said the experience taught her a different level of professionalism.

“I’ve really learned to discipline myself, to be pleasant at all times, and to be willing to help,” she said.

Dancers from Ballet Hispanico—a leading Latino dance organization in the U.S.— brought the summer series to a close.

Ballet Hispanico dancer Jamal Callender said this year’s initiative focused on helping students establish artistry and helping them to understand various types of dance, such as ballet, contemporary dance as well as repertoire from the dance organization.

NOBA provides tuition free classes and has served more than 12,000 families. For more information, visit www.nobadance.com or call (504) 522-0996.

This article originally published in the July 1, 2013 print edition of The Louisiana Weekly newspaper.

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