The Great American Road Trip – A Free Community Performance
“NORDC/NOBA is a cultural treasure for the children of New Orleans.” – New Orleans City Council President Jacquelyn Brechtel Clarkson
The NORDC/NOBA Center for Dance (CFD), a cultural community partnership between the New Orleans Recreation Development Commission (NORDC) and the New Orleans Ballet Association (NOBA) offering free dance programming to local youth, invites the community to a FREE Performance of The Great American Road Trip, Sunday, May 22, 4:00pm at Dixon Hall, Tulane University.
The production features more than 300 students from the NORDC/NOBA Center For Dance Pre-Professional Program; After-School Dance Programs at all NORDC sites, Trinity Christian Community, Wilson Charter School, St. Benilde School and St. Jerome Church, as well as the NORDC/NOBA Center For Dance programs for senior citizens.
The Great American Road Trip follows the adventures of six young women on their journey through more than 20 American cities and states. “Our faculty teaching artists have worked to develop a fun new production that pairs jazz, modern, ballet, tap and character dance techniques with different communities across the country,” said Education Coordinator Ashley Floyd. At each stop on the journey, the travelers learn new fun facts about their destinations before dancing to a soundtrack full of great American classics ranging from Georgia on My Mind and Oklahoma to New York, New York and Viva Las Vegas.
Cecile Gibson, who has worked with NOBA for more than 25 years as a board member and CFD instructor, has seen these performances evolve throughout the years. “We started this program in the kitchen of one of my dearest friends with a vision of what we could do for the children of this city. Originally, the CFD performances were just small, annual recitals with about 30 children wearing tights and leotards or jeans and T-shirts,” said Gibson. “Now, our programs are so vast that each year we have over 300 students dancing in two fully produced performances with costumes, professional stage management and lights for a sold out audience at Dixon Hall.”
“NORDC/NOBA is a cultural treasure for the children of New Orleans,” said New Orleans City Council President Jacquelyn Brechtel Clarkson. “The partnership between the Recreation Department and the Ballet Association offers our youth the opportunity to truly know, love, appreciate and participate in the ballet. It is the best Public-Private Partnership in this City.”
This spring, more than 350 students are studying dance tuition-free through the NORDC/NOBA Center For Dance. Founded in 1992 with seed money from the Freeport-McMoran Foundation, the CFD was born out of a need to make dance accessible to all school-age children. A program that began with just 30 students at only one NORDC center now has an annual gross enrollment of more than 350 children at seven locations citywide. With a core curriculum of ballet, classes are open to any child in Orleans Parish with a demonstrated interest in dance. Through a professional faculty, master classes by NOBA Main Stage artists and other visiting artists, a mentor program and field trips, the CFD works with each child to cultivate dreams and strengthen futures.
“It’s amazing that we can do so much for the children of the city,” said Gibson. “Over the past 20 years, the Center For Dance has mushroomed into an enormous organization of children performing in the schools, in our centers, and on Saturday, all day long at Tulane.”
The Center is the recipient of 2002 Coming Up Taller Award, nominated for the Big Easy Classical Arts Award for best dance performance, and has received national grants through the NEA and the National Guild of Community Schools for the Arts.
Costumes and choreography for The Great American Road Trip are created by Center For Dance faculty, and the sets are generously donated by Strike It Green Props, an environmentally aware prop, set and wardrobe rental warehouse, located in the heart of the New Orleans’ film district.
This project is supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA); the Louisiana Division of the Arts, Office of Cultural Development, Department of Culture, Recreation and Tourism, in cooperation with the Louisiana State Arts Council as administered by the Arts Council of New Orleans (ACNO); a Community Arts Grant made possible through the City of New Orleans as administered by ACNO; a grant from the Louisiana State Arts Council through the Louisiana Division of the Arts and the NEA.
The after-school dance classes at St. Jerome Church are made possible by Compliance Technology Group.
NOBA is the Central Gulf region’s premiere presenting and service organization dedicated solely to the art of dance. NOBA’s dynamic Main Stage season annually features a diverse array of world-class companies and artists. Each year NOBA provides concerts, classes, workshops and lectures to more than 25,000 area dance enthusiasts of all ages. In addition, NOBA’s nationally recognized award-winning education programs provide the youth of our community access to quality arts programs with 3,000 activities annually through performances, classes, and workshops, more than 90% of which are free. The NOBA programs are a recipient of the 2005 Louisiana Governor’s Arts Award, and 2005 Big Easy Classical Arts Award.
NORDC/NOBA Center For Dance
The NORDC/NOBA Center For Dance is a cultural community partnership between the New Orleans Recreation Development Commission (NORDC) and the New Orleans Ballet Association (NOBA). Founded in 1992, The Center was born out of a need to make dance accessible to all school-age children. A program that began with just 30 students now has an enrollment of more than 350 children per semester at seven locations citywide. With a core curriculum of ballet, classes are open to any child in Orleans Parish with a demonstrated interest in dance. Through a professional faculty, master classes by NOBA Main Stage artists and other visiting artists, a mentor program and field trips, the Center works with each child to cultivate dreams and strengthen futures. The Center is the recipient of many awards and honors for excellence, including the 2002 Coming Up Taller Award, nominated for the Big Easy Classical Arts Award for best dance performance, national grants through the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Guild of Community Schools for the Arts, among others.