Orchesis Ballet Under the Stars

The Orchesis Dance Company (ODC) traveled to Shreveport Saturday to represent Grambling State University. The Company performed at the Riverview Theatre for Ballet Under the Stars 2010. Ballet Under the Stars, presented by the Shreveport Metropolitan Ballet, is an annual event in which dancers from local and regional groups perform ballet, modern, jazz, liturgical and lyrical pieces, representing the diversity of the dance community.

“This was a networking opportunity for the Orchesis Dance Company and it showed a different side of the company for those who do not know all of what we do,” said Danielle Martin, a junior member of ODC.

“We contributed diversity to the program. I say this because we were one of two African-American dance companies and did modern dance versus the ballet and praise dancing the other companies did,” said Martin.

Grambling’s Orchesis Dance Company performed, along with the Louisiana Dance Theatre, a piece choreographed by Dianne Maroney-Grigsby called “Aftershock.”

“Aftershock” was created after the effects of the disaster earthquake in Haiti.

It is a modern piece made to pull the heartstrings of all viewers so that they may feel for a brief moment how the disaster affected the Haitian community. Diane Maroney-Grigsby, ODC’s artistic director, said “Aftershock” shows the strength and determination of the Haitian people to rebuild their lives.

This was not the first time performing at Ballet Under the Stars for ODC’s principal dancer Princeton McCurtain.

“This year I had to perform with a new company. From this I gained experience as an assistant director. ‘Aftershock’ really impacts the audience. It is our way of paying homage to the people of Haiti, or any natural disaster. It opens up the eyes of the audience. It is one thing to watch it on television, but it is another to actually see and experience it in a creative way,” says McCurtain.

Another dance company, The Shreveport Metropolitan Ballet’s Senior Company, performed a piece that honored the people who were affected by the disaster in New York on September 11th. They were joined by the Woodlawn Leadership Academy’s JROTC color guard, and a soloist who performed the Star Spangled Banner.

Other participating companies included: the Shreveport Dance Academy, Christian Dance Center, and the Power and Grace School of Performing Arts.

Dancers who performed included: Thomika Andrews, Chemika Burnett, Auctavia Grant, Lisa Harkness, Larrlenski Jackson, Key’Andrea James, Breana Lathers, Danielle Martin and soloist Princeton McCurtain.

If you are interested in the Orchesis Dance Company and would like to become a member, please contact the artistic director Diane Maroney-Grigsby at 318-274-2201.