Marigny Opera Ballet dancers choreograph new works _lowres

Photo by Elsa Hahne -- The Emerging Choreographers. From left,Trey Mauldwin, Anna Iosipiv, Kellis Oldenburg, Gretchen Erickson.

Four dancers from the New Orleans-based resident dance company, Marigny Opera Ballet, will expand their horizons this weekend when they stage works they choreographed themselves.

In a program titled “Emerging Choreographers,” Trey Mauldwin, Anna Iosipiv, Kellis Oldenburg and Gretchen Erickson will premiere four original dances they created, incorporating both classical and contemporary elements set to live music. The works will be staged at 8 p.m. Friday through Sunday.

The showcase performances, ranging from six to 13 minutes in length, will take place at the Marigny Opera House, housed in the former Holy Trinity Catholic Church at 725 St. Ferdinand St. in the Faubourg Marigny neighborhood.

Each dance piece will be accompanied by live music from members of a local chamber trio.

The choreographers, all dancers with the Marigny Opera House resident troupe, will dance in other choreographers’ works but not in their own. One of the dancers, Phillip Rush, performs in all four numbers.

Marigny Opera House co-founder and executive director Dave Hurlbert explained that the “Emerging Choreographers” program originated with discussions among his board members about reviving an open call program the facility hosted several years earlier.

“We’d been talking about reviving the Marigny Opera House New Dance Festival, which we had run in 2012 and 2013,” Hurlbert said. “But then we thought we really ought to open this up to our own dancers because, during the season, a few of them had expressed a desire to choreograph.

“So, what we decided to do first was ask the company members, ‘Are any of you interested in applying for this?’ And most of them were,” Hurlbert continued. “At that point we decided to devote a program during our season to our own dancer/choreographers creating works for each other and then resurrect the Marigny Opera House New Dance Festival in June. That one will be open to everyone in New Orleans.”

The interested dancers were asked to explain what their concept was and what music they would use from a selection of 30 pieces chosen by the board. The four who were selected chose different musical pieces ranging from classical to contemporary, Hurlbert noted.

During rehearsals, the choreographers worked with the musicians, costume and lighting designers and mentors to polish the logistics.

“Their hard work is what the people will see this weekend,” Hurlbert said.