Cherie, a native of Golden Meadow, has been choreographing for stage for fifteen years in addition to directing, acting, and stage managing. She can juggle many projects well—she is choreographer,
dancer, and executive director of Gris Gris Strut Dance Troupe, marching band, flag corps, and Jr Corps. She invented the forward-motion choreography style you see when GGS marches in parades. Cherie has an impressive list of credits that include being a dancer for Quintron and Miss Pussycat and also Ratty Scurvics' "Singularity." She was a performer in a traveling circus and created and directed the 9th Ward Marching Band Dance Troupe for four years. In the past seven years of Gris Gris Strut, she created two acclaimed theaters shows, “CTRL+ALT+SHIFT” and “City Park,” and a full-length performance with Jean Eric at the New Orleans Museum of Art. She also choreographed and performed in the movies "Flood Streets" and "Night Shift," and she recently choreographed a music video for the Lyric's Born "That's is" which won "Best Music video 2015" at the Best of the Beat Awards. Cherie says she is “blessed to work with such talented, hard-working people that know the love of parade, dance, and community.”
Maisha, a native of Baton Rouge, started training in ballet, jazz, and modern when she was young and went on to perform with the Orchesis Dance Company. She is a senior petroleum engineer who participates in a number of community activism and professional organizations. Maisha is thrilled to be embarking on her first year with Gris Gris Strut.
Dana, a Mississippi native, graduated with a BFA in dance education from Southern Miss. She's the artistic director of Alternative Collaborations, directs the Bates Dance Festival’s Youth Arts Program in Lewiston, ME, and is Executive Director of Hope Stone New Orleans. Dana has earned the Gris Gris Strut All Star dancer award for exemplary professionalism and talent 3 years in a row and is ready to march her fourth year with us.
Katelyn, born and raised in a small town in Connecticut, developed a passion for dance at a young age. An avid traveler, she continued to pursue her love of dance in Madrid, Spain, where she lived for three years. Katelyn currently works as a social worker in New Orleans. This is Katelyn's first year on the troupe, and she is thrilled to be a part of such a talented group of dancers.
Aurélie is from the small village of Izeaux in France. She started baton twirling at the age of 9, competing on national and international levels. Aurélie has studied various styles of dance, including classical, jazz, modern, flamenco, and salsa. She has been a winner of the Gris Gris Strut Fellowship award for all the positive energy she spreads. This will be her third year marching with us.
Marie is a Jackson, Mississippi native who trained in gymnastics since early childhood. She competed to level 9
and then went on to be a cheerleader at Mississippi State University. Professionally, she works as an occupational therapist, bus she is also an avid Bikram yogi and member of Krewe du Vieux. Marie is excited to join Gris Gris Strut for a second year this season.
Kelly is originally from Charlotte, North Carolina, where she grew up exercising her jazz, tap, lyrical, and hip hop dance skills competitively. Kelly continued dancing while attending UNC Chapel Hill, and she is currently pursuing a Master’s in Public Health at Tulane. As a first year troupe member, she is very excited to transition from parade spectator to parade performer.
Anne Ellyse is originally from Cape Cod but grew up in South Florida. A student of voice and dance since grade school, her performance background is in musical theater. When not learning choreographed movements, Anne Ellyse is building social movements as she works in the nonprofit sector here in New Orleans fighting for human rights. This will be her second year on the troupe.
Peryn, a New Orleans native, started her ballet, modern, tap, and jazz training at New Orleans Dance Academy and NOCCA. She has also performed with Alternative Collaborations and Good Dance since 1984. Peryn, who lives by the mantra of Pina Bausch—“Dance, dance, otherwise we are lost”—has previously won 3 years in a row the Gris Gris Strut All Star dancer award for exemplary professionalism and talent. This is her fourth year on the troupe.
Lexxi , originally from Lafayette, graduated from Tulane in 2010 with a degree in theatre, performance emphasis. She works in film and TV production. Lexxi has earned the Gris Gris Strut director's award for always going the extra mile with a positive attitude and strong work ethic. Despite being unable to march this year due to inury, Lexxi has stayed involved as a fourth year member of Gris Gris Strut.
Jamie, a Midwest native, is trained in modern and ballet. She is also a certified personal trainer, kettlebell coach, and kung fu student. Jamie is training director and all-star team captain for the Big Easy Rollergirls. She is thrilled to have a role that merges her professional interests with her belief in the life-changing power of movement and sport. We are also thrilled to have Jamie for her first year.
Emani, a New Orleans native,was a member of the Clarkettes dance team at Joseph S. Clark High School. After high school, Emani—who has studied ballet, hip hop, and jazz—performed with the Dillard University Elites. When not dancing, Emani loves listening to music, reading, writing poetry and short stories, and painting. We are thrilled to have this talented girl for her first year.
Rachael, a Boston native, is a dancer, costume designer, mask maker, and restaurateur of Atchafalaya Cafe. She is a founding and current board member of Hope Stone New Orleans, an arts education outreach program for at risk youth. Rachael has earned the Gris Gris Strut Dancer Favorite award in 2015 and Most Driven award in 2014 for the passion and effort she puts into rehearsing. We are all excited to have Rachael with us again for her third year.
Leah grew up in New Jersey, she started dancing at 3 and has been trained in ballet, jazz, tap, and modern. She also loves musical theater and costuming. Leah holds a BS in science & engineering from Tulane and is a licensed structural engineer with a focus in concrete design and flood control structures. Leah is the 1st rookie to earn Gris Gris Strut All-Star Dancer award. She is excited to work with "a lovely and talented group of ladies" in her second year with GGS.
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