|Sleeping Beauty poster I found in a window downtown|
|Backstage shot I took of Laura Tisserand|
Abougaliv, and an acquaintance I have danced with in Philadelphia, former Pennsylvania Ballet dancer Yosbel Delgado. For a school production in the south, this was quite an A-list cast of dancers and I was proud to be a part of the show.
LBT flew me in a few days before the performance to rehearse Puss and Boots with one of their students and a suitor in the Rose Adagio with Laura. I have performed Sleeping Beauty at least three dozen times and had already performed these roles before, so the workload was relatively easy for me. This allowed me to take some time to enjoy the local Cajun culture. Beyond experiencing some of Lafayette's food and lifestyle; Will, Nurlan and I drove away from the city to go on a Cajun country swamp tour. On this adventure, we saw a plethora of alligators, turtles, birds, and swamp plants, all whilst lounging in a crawfish skiff with a guy named Butch steering us around the shallow, murky waters. This was really an incredible escape. But even while relaxing in the humid sunshine of an alligator infested swamp, we had to run back to our hotel to grab our dance bags and head off to the theatre. For this reason, I am so glad that I asked LBT to leave me behind in Louisiana for an extra three days after the show.
|Alligators out in the swamp sunning themselves|
|A few steps outside of my hotel on Bourbon Street|
I am typically more of a Type-A traveler. I will spend hours on the internet researching all of the must-do's and hunt for hidden secrets that each city holds. I do this in hopes of creating the perfect itinerary. But this time around, I showed up having no idea what I was going to do. Aside from the fact that I figured New Orleans was a medium-sized regional city, I assumed that there was probably a limited amount of options to research. It must also be taken into account that I have been ridiculously busy traveling, rehearsing, and performing. I, somehow, lucked out and booked a cheap hotel on Hotwire right on Bourbon Street. This was the first time I ever booked a hotel on my phone while walking down the street minutes before arriving, but this should have been a sign of what was to come over the next 48 hours.
|Musician playing his saxophone on the bar|
|Sipping a hand grenade on Bourbon Street|
|A mansion along St. Charles Ave|
|Touring the St. Louis cemetery|
I am a self-professed city-phile. I am very proud of this fact. I have visited nearly every large city in the country and many other medium-sized ones of note, as well. And while my list of American cities I must visit has dwindled since I began traveling for work, New Orleans was never on my list. I am so thankful to LBT for bringing me into a part of the country that I had little interest in prior to this experience. Freelancing has definitely shown me parts of our great nation that I would never have traveled to on my own dime. Through this, I haven't just expanded myself as an artist. I have expanded who I am as a person; forcing myself out of my comfort zone and allowing interaction with people and communities of different cultures and mindsets. For this, I am extremely grateful. Today, I call myself lucky for having the chance to share and educate audiences around the world about the art of dance and for opportunities to broaden my view of life, living, and humanity as a whole. All of this through dance.
|Jackson Square in the French Quarter|