Gulf Coast Theatre on Tap presents “Neutral Ground,” an exuberant, original production under the direction of Emmy and Big Easy Award winning artistic director and principal choreographer Heidi Malnar. Described as where the sounds of New Orleans and rhythm tap collide, performances will run October 9-12, 2014 at New Orleans Center for Creative Arts (NOCCA) and tickets ($15-$30) are available at theatreontap.com.
Calling upon the city’s unique co-evolution of tap dancing and jazz, Neutral Ground will feature some of the city’s most outstanding tap professionals, a live, seven-piece jazz ensemble and wide-ranging vocalists, including Boutte family member Arsene Delay. Dance performances will be accompanied by selections from the breadth of New Orleans’ musical history from the big band sound of Louis Prima’s “Jump, Jive an’ Wail” and “Sing, Sing, Sing” to the Dixie Cups iconic “Iko Iko”, as well as from contemporary repertoires of Kermit Ruffins (“Mr. Big Stuff’), Rebirth Brass Band (“I Feel Like Funkin’ It Up”), Allen Toussaint’s R&B and Galactic’s funk.
Among highlighted artists is a very special tribute to Pete Fountain, which will be choreographed and performed by his granddaughter and local dancer, Danielle Harrell Scheib. The hour and a half production will climax with an a cappella tap rendition of a New Orleans parade-style drumline
“The company’s primary goals are to celebrate, promote and preserve America’s indigenous dance form in the birthplace of jazz and to blend the two syncopated art forms together in a unique way,” said Heidi Malnar, artistic director and company founder.
Neutral Ground will showcase accomplished dancers in three performing companies - its professional company, whose dancers have toured the United States and Europe throughout their careers; a pre-professional company (ages 14-17); and a Junior Company (ages 10-13), all under the direction of Ms. Malnar.
The performances will feature professional dancers Laura Sicignano, Associate Artistic Director; Tara Brewer, Sarah Broekhoven, Jesse Alan Fourcha, Jalessa Jett, Susan Grady, Elizabeth Shortall Pulsinelli, and Rachel Vierk. Tammy Strahan Mansfield is the musical director.
Gulf Coast Theatre on Tap is performing in its second season, bringing together the region’s finest tap dancing talents while training younger generations in this truly American art form.