It’s fun having fans, and members of the Cangelosi Dance Project run into them on their summer library tours.
But even more important, the company members know that they’re educating their young audiences about the art of dance.
“A lot of times, they think, ‘hip hop,’ when they hear, ‘dance,’” says Kris Cangelosi, the company’s founder and artistic director. “But when they see us dance, they see that there’s more to it. It’s artistic and technical and even athletic. When they see how the artistic mixes with the athletic, they think, ‘Wow.’”
The Cangelosi troupe will begin its annual tour of area libraries on Monday. This year’s performance, titled “Contemporary Craze,” is filled with contemporary dances. Some tell stories, others convey ideas.
At the end, everyone has a chance to join the company dancers on the floor to create a new dance under Cangelosi’s direction.
At the Cangelosi Dance Studio, company members Hannah Willson and Aaron Lafitte were rehearsing a dance called “Aubrey” recently. The dance depicts a tender love story brimming with sweet emotion.
They were later joined on the floor by fellow company dancers Millenique Brown, Meagan Delatte and Marianne Alford for a dance called “The Run,” with which young audience members surely will identify.
Dancers will line up, then get set for a race that moves with the beat. They’ll break away from the race midway through the song to improvise their own moves.
During the program, Cangelosi will be watching the audience to gauge which dance receives the strongest reaction.
“That’s the dance we’ll teach them at the end of the show,” she says. “If they’re excited about watching it, then they’ll be excited about learning parts of it.”
L’Brian Patrick also will joining the company on this tour as will Cangelosi Youth Performers Angelique Francois, Lindyn Kim, Hannah Kimbrough and Mary-Kate Frederick.
“We feed off the kids’ enthusiasm at the libraries,” Willson says.
“They remember our dancers from year to year,” Cangelosi says. “They pose for pictures with the kids, and the kids get their autographs. And a lot of the kids ask for the dancers by name.”
The dancers, meanwhile, also remember the kids.
“We’ve gotten to see a lot of them grow up,” Willson says. “They’ll come up and say, ‘Remember me from last year?’ We’ll see them from one summer to the next, and we do remember them.”
And the kids always come armed with a load of questions.
“A lot of the boys don’t really know about dancing, because they think it’s something girls do,” Lafitte says. “Then they see a guy dancing, and they become interested in it. And people are always amazed at how we make it look easy until they try to dance at the end and realize how hard it really is.
“This whole tour is about giving back to the community,” Lafitte adds. “I was introduced to dance when I was young, and it’s great to be able to introduce these kids to dance.”
Cangelosi Dance Project’s “Contemporary Craze” Community Summer Library Tour 2015
Admission is free to all performances.
10 a.m. Monday, Eden Branch Library, 5131 Greenwell Springs Road. (225) 231-3240
1 p.m. Monday, Zachary Branch Library, 1900 Church St., Zachary. (225) 658-1840
2:30 p.m. Monday, Greenwell Springs Regional Branch Library, 11300 Greenwell Springs Road. (225) 274-4440
10 a.m. Tuesday, River Center Branch Library, 120 St. Louis St. (225) 389-4967
11 a.m. Tuesday, Carver Branch Library, 720 Terrace St. (225) 389-7440
2:30 p.m. Tuesday, Central Branch Library, 11260 Joor Road. (225) 262-2640
10:30 a.m. Wednesday, Main Branch Library, 7711 Goodwood Blvd. (225) 231-3740
2 p.m. Wednesday, Pride Branch Library, 13600 Pride-Port Hudson Road. (225) 658-1540
10:30 a.m. Thursday, June 25, Bluebonnet Regional Branch Library, 9200 Bluebonnet Blvd. (225) 763-2240
1:30 p.m. Thursday, June 25, Fairwood Branch Library, 12910 Old Hammond Highway. (225) 924-9385
10:30 a.m. Friday, June 26, Baker Branch Library, 3501 Groom Road, Baker. (225) 778-5940