I am a New Orleans-raised, trained professional dancer, now turned street dancer and performer. Though I've had extensive training in ballet, salsa, flamenco, lindy hop, West African, and break dance, my direction has been to create my own genre of New Orleans-born street dance, which can be done under the umbrella terms of funk and second line street dance. Second line is a mostly freetsyle New Orleans dance done to live brass band music, and tied to many cultural traditions similar to those of the Caribbean.
The opportunity has arrisen for me to perform this New Orleans style dance at a collaborative concert in New York City as part of a cultural exchange campaign. The concert, Too Hot For New Orleans, will be funded and organized by James Demaria Productions, and is a collaboration between New York hip hop artists and New Orleans musicians. The aim is to create a new musical genre to be sponsored, brought and shared ultimately around the world, while shedding light on the importance of the two cultures. Mr. Demaria has filmed a documentary called Treme Life and done extensive professional photography within and for the city of New Orleans. As a cultural enthusiast, he sees my dance as a crucial element to the making and marketing of this musical genre. It will help to engage the listeners, define the feel of the new music, and shed light on the influential culture of New Orleans and its effects on surrounding cultures.
Your contributions will help to cover travel, housing, and compensation for the time and energy put into the performance. You will also receive gifts in return for your donations. On a larger scale, allowing me to participate in this cultural exchange will help to put New Orleans culture on the global map. While the collaboration of hip hop and New Orleans funk contributes to the progression of artistic expression and cultural unity in a big way, the preservation and development of dance only strengthens that goal.
To me, this concert won't be complete without dance. Giving the audience permission to move, showing them how they can move to the new music, revving their enthusiasm, and essentially conversing with & playing off the musicians to strengthen the entire art, must happen for this collaboration to gain sponsorship and grow larger.
Facebook: Elsie Semmes