New Orleans Ballet Association and The NOCCA Institute Co-Present Bodytraffic
“One of the most talked about companies nationwide.” The Los Angeles Times
New Orleans, LA (March 25, 2019) – The New Orleans Ballet Association (NOBA) and The NOCCA Institute present BODYTRAFFIC for three performances at NOCCA’s Freda Lupin Memorial Hall on Friday, April 5, at 8 p.m. and Saturday, April 6, at 2 and 8 p.m. Founded in 2007 by Lillian Rose Barbeito and Tina Finkelman Berkett, the Los Angeles-based BODYTRAFFIC has blazed onto the international dance scene as one of the hottest contemporary dance companies in the United States and surged to the forefront of the concert dance world. Hailed as one of Dance Magazine’s “25 to watch” and “the company of the future” by The Joyce Theater in New York, this 8-member ensemble has earned a stellar reputation for its high-energy, thought-provoking, humorous, jazzy and boldly theatrical performances. Featuring work by today’s most distinctive dance makers and hand-picked for the company’s New Orleans debut, the program spotlights an incredible range of styles with works by in-demand choreographers, including Hofesh Shechter, Matthew Neenan and Richard Siegal and featuring music by Peggy Lee, Clark Terry, Oscar Peterson and Count Basie.
BODYTRAFFIC Tickets are $50 and are available online at NOBAdance.com, by calling 504.522.0996 or in person at NOBA’s Box Office at 935 Gravier Street, Suite 800. Discounted tickets for students are also available.
About the Program
The program highlights works by renowned choreographers that are being presented in New Orleans for the very first time. The shows open with the inventive and whimsical A Million Voices by the highly sought-after ballet choreographer Matthew Neenan. Set to eight smoldering songs by the great Peggy Lee, this full company work is an intoxicating exploration of life, love and war. Costumed like performers from a black and white Fellini film, A Million Voices is “quirky, elegant, humorous and perceptive — incorporating both the times that Lee’s music reflected and the modern age.” (Seen and Heard International) Neenan, a former principal dancer and current choreographer in residence with Pennsylvania Ballet and co-founder of the Philadelphia-based contemporary ballet company BalletX, is one of America’s most prolific ballet choreographers, creating ballets for Pennsylvania Ballet, Pacific Northwest Ballet, New York City Ballet and more.
Dust by Israeli-born British-based choreographer Hofesh Shechter is a dark look at the power and commercialism that steer today’s society. The multimedia work for six dancers set to a subliminal-message-infused score by Shechter is built on a number of concepts that have to do with cult-like behavior. The Vancouver Observer raves, “Dust is truly a gem of a performance.”
Hailed by TimeOut London as “London’s most vital choreographer,” Shechter founded his company Hofesh Shechter Dance in 2008, was nominated for a Tony award for the Broadway revival of Fiddler on the Roof, and is an associate artist with Sadler’s Wells Theater.
The playful company finale o2Joy by Bessie Award-winning choreographer Richard Siegal is an exuberant tribute to American jazz with music by Clark Terry, Billie Holiday, Oscar Peterson and Count Basie, and other jazz legends. The work is ballet-based, peppered with syncopated hip-hop, and drenched in light-hearted humor. It is an expression of sheer joy through music and movement and “is a jazz lollipop that invites dancers to strut their stuff." (The Boston Globe) Popular in Europe, Siegal is known “as the most innovative, the most exciting dance-maker of his generation.” (Süddeutsche Zeitung Feuilleton)
Audience discussions with BODYTRAFFIC directors and dancers will be held immediately following the evening performances on both April 5 & 6. The company will conduct master classes for students of the NOBA Center For Dance and NOCCA.
About the Company:
BODYTRAFFIC is helping to establish Los Angeles as a major center for contemporary dance. Founded in 2007 by Lillian Rose Barbeito and Tina Finkelman Berkett, BODYTRAFFIC has surged to the forefront of the concert dance world, recruiting great talent from around the globe to create world-class contemporary dance by distinctive choreographic voices. Named “the company of the future” by The Joyce Theater Foundation, Dance Magazine’s “25 to Watch,” and “Best of Culture” by the Los Angeles Times, the company is internationally recognized for their high quality of work. The Los Angeles Times says BODYTRAFFIC is “one of the most talked-about companies —not just in LA, but nationwide.” Repertory includes works by Kyle Abraham, Sidra Bell, Stijn Celis, Sarah Elgart, Alex Ketley, Anton Lachky, Loni Landon, Barak Marshall, Andrea Miller, Laura Gorenstein Miller, Ohad Naharin, Matthew Neenan, Joshua L. Peugh, Arthur Pita, Victor Quijada, Gustavo Ramírez Sansano, Zoe Scofield, Hofesh Shechter, Richard Siegal, Guy Weizman and Roni Haver.
BODYTRAFFIC has performed for sold-out audiences at prestigious theaters and festivals around the world, including The Joyce Theater, Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival, Israeli Opera/Tel Aviv Performing Arts Center, New York City Center’s Fall for Dance Festival, Chutzpah! Festival in Vancouver, Laguna Dance Festival, The Broad Stage, Santa Monica and American Dance Festival. In 2012, BODYTRAFFIC performed with the Los Angeles Philharmonic for its 2012 opening night gala conducted by Gustavo Dudamel. In 2016, BODYTRAFFIC made its Hollywood Bowl debut with the Los Angeles Philharmonic. For BODYTRAFFIC’s 10th anniversary season, the company toured domestically and internationally to over 20 cities, including Moscow and St. Petersburg for the CONTEXT. Diana Vishneva Festival and The Hague, Netherlands for The Holland Dance Festival.
In addition to performing, BODYTRAFFIC has an extensive outreach and education program that provides training opportunities for pre-professional dancers and customized dance experiences for populations of all ages and abilities around the globe.
In 2015, BODYTRAFFIC was selected by the Obama Administration to be cultural ambassadors of the United States via DanceMotion USA℠, a dynamic cultural diplomacy program that supports United States foreign policy goals by engaging international audiences through educational opportunities, cultural exchange and performance. Produced by BAM (Brooklyn Academy of Music), DanceMotion USA℠ is a program of the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs of the US Department of State. BODYTRAFFIC also served as cultural ambassadors of the United States in South Korea (2016) and twice in Algeria (2017, 2018).
About Artistic Director Lillian Barbeito:
Barbeito holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts from The Juilliard School, where she studied on a four-year, full-tuition scholarship awarded by Tomorrow’s Leaders of America for her essay on the world dancing together in harmony. Barbeito had an extensive performance career that took her to Europe, New York and then, finally, to Los Angeles, where she founded BODYTRAFFIC with Tina Berkett. Barbeito is one of 28 teachers in the world who is certified in Anouk van Dijk’s groundbreaking Countertechnique. With a passion for mentoring dancers of all ages and abilities, she has taught internationally for organizations such as CalArts, Idyllwild Arts Academy, L’Ecole de Danse de Quebec, Northwest Dance Project, San Francisco Conservatory of Dance, The School at Jacob’s Pillow, UCLA's Department of World Arts and Cultures and Loyola Marymount University, where she is currently on faculty. She has choreographed over 50 works for high schools, universities, competitions and professional dance companies throughout the United States and Canada.
About Artistic Director Tina Finkelman Berkett:
A native of New York City, Berkett trained and learned to love dance under the tutelage of Michele Cuccaro Cain. Upon graduation from Barnard College, Columbia University summa cum laude with degrees in math and economics, she joined Aszure Barton & Artists and performed with the company throughout the United States, including at Jacob’s Pillow and Spoleto festivals. As Aszure Barton’s assistant, Berkett taught alongside Barton both in the United States and abroad. She had the incredible honor of being a founding member of Mikhail Baryshnikov’s Hell’s Kitchen Dance, where she also served as the company’s dancer liaison. In 2007, she moved to Los Angeles and founded BODYTRAFFIC with Lillian Barbeito. Berkett often remarks that BODYTRAFFIC is the dream come true that she never knew she had.
Both BODYTRAFFIC performances are sponsored by the Hyatt Regency New Orleans.
Editor’s note: Hi-res images and a video can be found by clicking here.
About the New Orleans Ballet Association:
NOBA is the Central Gulf region’s premier 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 33,000 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 over 5,500 free dance classes and workshops annually at ten sites throughout the Greater New Orleans area.
NOBA is supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA); a grant from the Louisiana Division of the Arts, Office of Cultural Development, Department of Culture, Recreation and Tourism, in cooperation with the Louisiana State Arts Council, and the NEA, a Federal agency; a Community Arts Grant made possible by the City of New Orleans; and a grant from the Louisiana Division of the Arts, Office of Cultural Development, Department of Culture, Recreation and Tourism, in cooperation with the Louisiana State Arts Council. Follow @nobadance on Facebook and Instagram.
About The New Orleans Center for Creative Arts:
The New Orleans Center for Creative Arts (NOCCA) is a tuition-free arts conservatory for high school students and an agency of the State of Louisiana. The NOCCA Institute, a non-profit organization, provides support and advocacy for NOCCA. The Institute offers access to excellence in the arts for students, faculty, and the community-at-large. For information, please visit www.NOCCA.com and www.NOCCAInstitute.com.