Meet The Artists Behind Our Upcoming Residency “Dancing with Aurora Borealis”

Brian Schneider

Brian was born and raised in New York City. He began his lighting career with his high school plays. Afterward, Brian worked in Off- Broadway theaters while attending Bard College, where he graduated with a BFA in Film.

Brian’s career is compiled of varied experience. He provided lighting for numerous theaters and museums, including the HERE Arts Center, Sotheby’s, Museum of the Fashion Institute of Technology, American Museum of Natural History, the National Civil Rights Museum, in Memphis, TN and the Rubin Museum of Art in NYC.

Upon moving to Lafayette, Louisiana in 2011, Brian accepted the position of Technical Director for the Acadiana Center for the Arts. In 2015 Brian started his own lighting design firm, Footcandle Lighting and Electric. As a licensed and bonded electrician, he can offer turn key solutions covering both design and installation. Now Brian is involved in several residential and landscape lighting projects. He loves working with the people of South Louisiana, and integrating Louisiana’s culture and point of view, with his personal style.

Kelly Clayton

Kelly Clayton moved home to Louisiana after 20 years living in New York City. Cypress trees, and swamps called to her in dreams; the kind of dreams one can smell and feel.

While in New York City, Kelly studied Sanford Meisner Technique with Ron Stetson, of The Neighborhood Playhouse. Served as Assistant Director for A Dead Man’s Apartment, by Edward Allen Baker, a one act play, Ensemble Studio Theater Marathon.

Kelly’s poetry has been published by, among others: Future Cycle Press, Delacorte Press, and China Grove Press. She is a VONA/ Voices, Hedgebrook Alumnae, and was awarded the 2014 Hedgebrook Women Authoring Change Award.

Kelly teaches poetry and creative writing workshops in Louisiana public and private schools, as well as to homeschoolers. She creates and facilitates writing classes for The Lafayette Juvenile Detention Center, and to groups of recently incarcerated adults.

Learn More About Their Upcoming Residency: Dancing with Aurora Borealis

Residency at the Center

Xibipììo — Gina Hanchy Acadiana Center for the Arts, 2014 Photo Credit: Ashlee Eakins

Residency at the Center began in 2012 and has hosted ten local artists in the development of original work in visual, performing and media-driven disciplines.

What is an Artist in Residence Program?

AcA’s residency program helps to build and strengthen the creative community where artists are in residence for three to six months at a time. The program is structured to offer support through rehearsal space, along with administrative and technical assistance. Artists in residence build and develop original work under the guidance, assistance and framework of AcA’s residency program.

Why is a Residency Program important in Acadiana?

AcA values art making as an essential component of a vibrant, engaged and healthy community. The residency program strives to offer our local artists a platform to develop original work and to engage our audiences in a public dialogue on the value of contemporary art making.

Who are these artists? What have they created?

Xibipììo — Gina Hanchey


A contemporary ballet exploring the experience of transitions, both as individuals and as a collective, within boundaries we can and cannot see, asserting that we are what we know.

Xibipììo — Gina Hanchy Acadiana Center for the Arts, 2014 Photo Credit: Ashlee Eakins

The Story of Christopher Jenkins—Keaton Smith


The Story of Christopher Jenkins, is a live audio/visual performance combining the immediacy of mixing video with recorded footage to create an original story about a young man struggling with mental illness.

The work examines the protagonist’s fragmented thought, memory, and delusions. In an attempt to cure Christopher Jenkins, a pair of psychiatrists use a machine to extract images from his mind. The elliptical and sprawling scenery is processed and guided toward clarity, if only temporarily.

To learn about our current artists in residence and to see more of the work that has been created through our residency program, visit

With Precision.

Acadiana Center for the Arts is home to a 9ft Yamaha CFX. A grand concert piano, valued at $180,000, it is a character that requires delicate attention on a consistent basis. Sam Whitmire, a local piano guru and technician, partnered with Ace Ugai, a top technician from Yamaha Artist Services in Tokyo, recently spent time with our piano to tune it. Accompanied by Raymond Goodman of Lafayette Music Company, Ugai shared tips and his experience working as a piano technician. Acadiana Center for the Arts was delighted to have Ace Ugai in our space to pay mindful attention to such a prized possession.We are consistently humbled by artist’s capabilities and were none the less inspired by the passion in understanding how these incredible instruments work.

The Tracks That Brought WEST TRAINZ Back to Its Louisiana Roots

nola train trackFrom Quebec to New Orleans and many places far and in-between, Erik West Millette of multimedia group, West Trainz, knows the importance of seeing where you come from. Millette, who has dedicated his life’s work to West Trainz, began the project while traveling by train exploring his family’s roots; roots that would lead him to no other place than New Orleans, Louisiana.

Harry West, Millette’s great grandfather, was from New Orleans. In the 1920s Harry West traveled by train through Chicago, Canada, and New York, eventually settling in Québec City. Growing up, Millette would hear stories of life on the rails and so began his fascination for trains. Traveling and discovering his heritage, trains became Millette’s place of solitude, and the sounds became the music to which he lived his life. Millette began recording train sounds, sculpting instruments, and making music that pays homage to great mythic train lines.

While Millette couldn’t put a number on the many miles he has traveled on trains in his life, he can say that those miles lead him back to his roots in Louisiana. Millette had the opportunity to travel and make music with New Orleans native and soul musician, Willie West. Together, they created music that embodied the spiritual feeling of New Orleans, creating the perfect balance of blues, funk and soul, calling it “New Orleans Funk Train.”

West Trainz tells the story of tunes around the world and above all is a tribute to the major transcontinental express trains. It exemplifies culture, travel, and the quest for roots. It is influenced by great musicians like Ray Charles and Johnny Cash and is unique in a way that festival patrons will understand and appreciate.

Kick off Festival International de Louisiane with West Trainz April 19th and 20th, 7:30pm, at the Acadiana Center for the Arts.


David Egan

David was many things: a fabulous songwriter and lyricist, an incredible pianist and, with his rumbling, low, baritone voice, an inspiring singer. He was a dedicated father and husband and a passionate anti-smoking advocate. He was a powerful, life-long presence in the South Louisiana music community.

To those of us who knew him and worked with him – he was first and foremost a real and true friend. He was someone you could count and rely on; someone you knew would always pull through, deliver a great show, and make the performance memorable. He was a person who would find a way to tell you the truth, even if you weren’t quite ready for it, and he would do so in his hulking, genteel, charming and diplomatic way…making hard truths much more palatable.

David was a musical force. He helped create and revitalize entire chapters of South Louisiana music. He wrote for and worked with a long list of musical All-Stars. His songwriting was as honest and powerful as he was. Through his passing we have lost not only a great musical force, but also a spirit that held us all to a higher standard, and a colleague who raised the bar and made us better performers, presenters and collaborators.

I find some solace in the fact that, while we have lost a giant, the other side has gained some of the finest, brawniest and most soulful singing for all time to come.
Gerd Wuestemann
Executive Director



It’s been our mission to find work that is undeniably beautiful and that allows people to find passion, belief, and escape through artistic forms. Through the BODYTRAFFIC Residency at the Acadiana Center for the Arts, expectations were far exceeded. 

Serving as a breakthrough for dance in the Acadiana area, BODYTRAFFIC served the community through a beautiful performance and by interacting with residents through various outreach projects. From teaching three master classes to visiting Prairie Elementary School and the Miles Perret Cancer Centerthe company was immersed in culture and felt what it is to be a part of Acadiana. 

After building relationships through outreach projects, Tina Finkelman Berkett, Artistic Director of BODYTRAFFIC, expressed how powerful and personal it was to perform and recognize many of the faces in the crowdShe mentioned that the energy was different; more personal; and that the dancers could feel that on stage.

BODYTRAFFIC’s tour stop in Lafayette proved to be not only a performance, but also an immersion of culture and a precursor for change in the local dance community. The company was impacted by southern hospitality, community connection, and passion for art in all forms. The Acadiana Center for the Arts could not be more grateful for BODYTRAFFIC’s professionalism and level of engagement as stewards in our city, and we look forward to hosting the company again in the future.

For a Few Moments, There was No Talk of Illness or Chemotherapy


Choreographic works of Barak Marshall, Victor Quijada, and Richard Siegal have instilled inspiration, passion, and undeniable emotion in the professional dancers of BODYTRAFFIC. This week, throughout BODYTRAFFIC’s residency in Lafayette, the unique energy and spirit of this organization was felt through multiple outreach projects. 

BODYTRAFFIC hosted three master classes for aspiring dancers and visited a PACE 2nd grade classroom of students at Prairie Elementary, but their passion for movement and self-awareness was felt in the purest form when the organization hosted a movement therapy class for patients of the Miles Perret Cancer Center.


BODYTRAFFIC, in conjunction with Clare Cook, founder of Lafayette’s Clare Cook Dance Theater, provided patients of all ages with more than a dance class. Through physical expression, human touch, and release of emotional movement, the experience provided the patients a time to see through the fog of illness and be present in a lively and zealous occasion. For a few moments, there was no talk of illness or chemotherapy, no feelings of fight or exhaustion, no whisper of the word cancer; only positive, healing, emotionally present human beings enjoying one of the most simple things in life that can be taken for granted: movement. 


A Repertory From Today’s Most Distinctive Choreographers

BODYTRAFFIC is known for dynamic theatricality and refreshing abandon. The company has surged to the forefront of the concert dance world and was named one of Dance Magazine’s “25 to Watch” in 2013 and the “company of the future” by the Joyce Theater Foundation. Known for commissioning today’s most distinctive choreographers, BODYTRAFFIC’s Lafayette debut will include works by Barak Marshall, Victor Quijada and Richard Siegal.



Choreography: Victor Quijada

Victor’s work is known for eloquently re-imagining, de-constructing, applying choreographic principles to hip-hop ideology, and examining humanity through a unique fusion of aesthetics.


Choreography: Barak Marshall

And at midnight, the green bride floated through the village square… is based in part on a true story about a family of eight sisters and one brother who were neighbors of my mother’s family in Aden, Yemen. The house they lived in became known as “The Burning House” because of the fighting, screaming and cursing that was heard from it at all hours of the day and night. It is a morality tale filled with dark humor that tells the story of how jealousy doomed all nine of the family’s children to a life filled with rage, unhappiness and loneliness. The soundtrack is comprised primarily of Jewish love songs and hymns from the Yiddish, Ladino and Yemenite traditions. —Barak Marshall



Choreography: Richard Siegal

o2Joy is a playful, contemporary dance piece set to great American jazz music. The work is ballet based, peppered with syncopated hip-hop, and drenched in light-hearted humor. As its’ title suggests, o2Joy is an expression of sheer joy through music and movement.



Check out BODYTRAFFIC’s performance at AcA March 5th at 7:30pm.

Barak Marshall, Choreographer


Born and raised in Los Angeles, California, Barak is the son of acclaimed dancer, choreographer and musician Margalit Oved. He has recently been appointed artistic director of the Inbal Company and World Arts Centre.

Barak is one of Israel’s most celebrated choreographers. Three years after accidentally starting to dance at the age of 26, his company appeared at the prestigious 1998 Paris Bagnolet Competition where it swept the awards before going to tour Europe—including performances at the Lyon Bienale de la Danse and Theatre de la Bastille in Paris. In 1999, Ohad Naharin invited Barak to become the Batsheva Dance Company’s first-ever house choreographer. A severe leg injury forced him to stop dancing in 2001. Seven years later, the Suzanne Dellal Centre asked him to return to Israel, marking the beginning of an artistic partnership. His works Monger, Rooster and Wonderland, have been performed over 200 times including appearances at Montepellier Danse, London’s Dance Umbrella, Jacob’s Pillow, Holland Dance Festival, Lyon Maison de la Danse, and Royce Hall. Barak is also a singer and has performed as a soloist with Yo-Yo Ma and Silk Road. He is currently completing a Creative Capital music production with Margalit Oved and Balkan Beat Box as well as new works for Ballet Jazz de Montreal and companies in London, Germany and South Africa. Barak studied philosophy at Harvard.

Marshall’s work, And at midnight, the green bride floated through the village square…, is being performed by BODYTRAFFIC at AcA March 5th!

Victor Quijada, Choreographer


Victor’s work eloquently re-imagines, de-constructs, and applies choreographic principles to hip-hop ideology, examining humanity through a unique fusion of aesthetics. His vision stretches into the arena of theatrical interpretation, improvisational approaches, and the visual imagery of film. A magnetic and expansive dancer, by age 26, Victor had moved from the hip-hop clubs of his native Los Angeles to a performance career with internationally-acclaimed postmodern and ballet dance companies such as THARP!, Ballet Tech, and Les Grands Ballets Canadiens de Montréal. Since creating RUBBERBANDance Group in 2002, Victor has choreographed over 24 short and full-length pieces both within the company structure and as commissions, and has toured with his company across North America, and in Europe, Japan, and Mexico. He has over a dozen film credits to his name either as choreographer, director, or dramaturge. Victor received the Bonnie Bird North-American Award and the Peter Darrell Choreography Award in 2003, the OQAJ/RIDEAU Prize in 2009, and a Princess Grace Awards Choreographic Fellowship in 2010. From 2007 to 2011, he was an artist-in-residence at the Cinquième Salle of Place des Arts in Montreal.

Quijada’s work, Once Again, Before You Go, is being performed by BODYTRAFFIC at AcA March 5th!