Ma Maison

Excerpts from Ma Maison


I could almost hear the clatter of bones as nine skeletons, dressed in Carnival motley, shimmied to the wailing clarinet, dangled loose-limbed arms to the thrum of the banjo, and jerked their heads, as if nagged by the long, steady roll of the snare. When a downbeat came, they let loose with fluttering steps and whiplash turns from the world of ballet, moving with the singular purpose of schooling fish chased by a shark.

For me, and the thousand cheering dance fans who packed Tulane University's Dixon Hall on Friday, Nov. 21, it seemed that Mardi Gras had come early -- not the Bourbon Street party for hooting tourists and girls-gone-wild, but the dark revel that only makes sense when you've gone through a hurricane season, buried a few friends and danced in a second line parade with tears in your eyes.

Is it clear that I'm also talking about an artistic triumph? I hope so, for that's exactly what was delivered in "Ma Maison," the stunning, 30-minute dance collaboration between choreographer Trey McIntyre, local costume designer Jeanne Button, the improvising musicians of the Preservation Hall Jazz Band, and nine dancers whose artistry let them forge a powerful blend of street styles and ballet athleticism.

"Ma Maison" unfolded seamlessly on Friday as dancers from the Trey McIntyre Project mixed Halloween mime and ballet lifts with knee-knocking Charleston steps and the sudden shifts of direction one associates with great running backs at the line of scrimmage.
-The Times-Picayune


The Preservation Hall Jazz Band


Running Time: 28 minutes
Premiered: Nov. 1, 2008 by Trey McIntyre Project


Costume Design: Jeanne Button
Lighting Design: Travis C. Richardson
Mask Design: Michael Curry


Ma Maison was commissioned by the New Orleans Ballet Association with additional underwriting provided by the Ann and Joseph Heil Charitable Trust of Milwaukee, WI and Peter and Debbie Wachtell of Boise, ID.