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.
From 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.
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 Center, the 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 crowd. She 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.
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.
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.
ONCE AGAIN, BEFORE YOU GO
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.
AND AT MIDNIGHT, THE GREEN BRIDE FLOATED THROUGH THE VILLAGE SQUARE…
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.
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.