Leigha Porter, co-creator of The Creole Nutcracker, talks inspiration, passion and adding Louisiana flair to a holiday classic.
Q: How did The Creole Nutcracker start?
A: The Creole Nutcracker was an idea that we had to put a Louisiana spin on a holiday classic. We thought it would be a great way to celebrate our unique culture and create something special not only for the Lafayette community but also to represent the state of Louisiana. We also wanted to give more kids in our community an opportunity to be inspired by the arts. This is a great way for experienced and non-experienced dancers to learn and grow in the performing arts.
Q: What would you like the community to know about the event?
A: The Creole Nutcracker is something that we created for our entire community. We wanted to celebrate those parts of our culture that make us stand out from the rest of the world but also show that supporting the arts and local talent is important. Our performers have been working really hard and are very dedicated to the process. When the community comes out and supports us, they are supporting all of the local young talent and letting them know they believe in them. This Sunday will be our “Friday Night Football” and we hope everyone can come out and watch the show.
Q: What has been Lafayette’s response to The Creole Nutcracker?
A: It has been an outpour of support that we did not expect. We have been sitting on this idea for literally 5 years. We would talk about moving forward but were afraid to try something different, so we didn’t know what to expect. Last year, the community came out and packed the house. The performers were super excited to perform in front of a packed house. That prompted us to add a second show, and we hope the community can pack both shows this year.
Q: Can you tell us a bit about your cast?
A: Our cast is made up of 65 amazingly talented performers ranging from the age of 7 years old to 20. We have technically trained dancers and kids who have never performed on a stage before. We wanted to create a production that was a suitable learning and growing environment for any and all levels.
Patrick Jefferson who plays our Nutcracker prince is a Kinesiology major at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette and fits so well with the cast. We also have other musicians who will join our cast and grace us with some lovely music for the show.
Q: What inspires them?
A: I think being able to perform on stage and do what they love inspires them. As we get closer to the show their excitement grows. All of their hard work in rehearsal is preparing them for the stage.
Q: How important is diversity in the arts to the community?
A: Diversity in the arts community is extremely important and is really one of the driving forces behind The Creole Nutcracker. Art evokes passion, drive and dreams. It not only a representation of life but of what life can be. When people see themselves represented not only does it inspire them to live their dreams it also sends the message that art is for all shapes, sizes, and colors.
Q: Where can someone see The Creole Nutcracker?
A: The Creole Nutcracker will take place this Sunday, December 8th at Angelle Hall on ULL’S Campus. Showtimes are 1:00pm and 6:00pm. Tickets can be purchased at thecreolenutcracker.com
Q: If you and your cast could go back in time and meet one person, who would it be?
A: If we could go back and time and meet one person it would be Alvin Ailey. The mark he has left on the dance world is unmatched.