Creatives join for interarts

Long practices since before the summer will finally make fruition as 10: The Katrina Project is performed. There will be three matinees, two on Thursday, October 15 at 9:30 a.m. and 7:30 p.m.; the other on the Friday after at 9:30 a.m. all in the D. Vickers Vonnie Borden Theatre.

The production is far more than just a dance performance, it is infusing multiple arts, including music, acting and even vocal acting.

Produced by the university’s Dance Program under the artistic direction of Dance Instructor Skip Costa, it is the first of its kind.

“Within this production, student performers, choreographers, musicians, poets and myself push the boundaries of Dance/Movement Studies,” said Costa. “By fusing elements of choreography, live original composed music, sounds, spoken word, singing, acting, set design, video installation, props, costuming and the natural element of water we can achieve our Dance/Movement Studies Program goal of creating a true InterArts performance piece in which I feel not only unifies our Department of Fine and Performing Arts but gives life to a more progressive and realistic approach to how Dance/Movement Studies is created in today’s world.”

Speaking throughout the production is senior kinesiology major Lauren Larson. Larson believes that Hurricane Katrina affected many people in not just New Orleans, but across the state.

“Ten years later people are still coming together from throughout Louisiana and other states as well,” said Larson. “This production really reflects that with the InterArts approach.”

Throughout the performance over 100 water jugs will be incorporated to symbolize “moments” like strength, barriers, emotional pain, stress, safety, cleansing of the soul, a heartbeat, the levee, struggle and hope, as well as its normal function as a container to hold actual water.

“I can picture what was happening there more clearly now,” said Larson. “I can see people holding onto jugs and trying to swim.

The music for the performance was composed by multiple student musicians as well. One musician, senior English Chance Phillips, was paired with a choreographer who, like himself, had a sad experience with Katrina, suffering from the storm and thus had many emotions to draw on when composing his piece.

“When I was approached I was very surprised,” said Phillips. “When I was writing the music I wanted it to reflect what had happened during the storm.”

For junior performance major Matt Hawkins, being a part of the show was a different experience than how he would usually play his cello.

“I’m used to having music put in front of us or composing music on my own,” said Hawkins. “Coming in here we were working with and composing music for people who don’t really understand music the way we do, and it’s been extremely interesting because they’re using completely different languages than us and we have to translate it. Nothing like this has ever been done before.”

All musicians, dancers, and Larson spend time through the production on a massive structure that is 8 feet in height and is 24 feet in length.  The dancers and musicians are not separated, but alongside one another.

“It’s empowering up there,” said senior general studies dancer Joseph Matherne. “You’re up there with other dancers, but if you look over a little bit more you see musicians and it’s really cool seeing them because sometimes when they’re playing, their eyes are closed and they are in their own worlds also.”

General admission is five dollars and students have free admission at the 9:30 a.m. productions only.