And by New Orleans, I also mean Louisiana in general, it just does not have the good manners of starting with an N. Oh well. Once again, I am bending the A to Z rules to be able to blog about something I would have blogged about anyway!
As for storytelling in Louisiana: I probably don't have to tell anyone how amazing their stories are! There is my dear friend Angela Davis, who visited the Holnemvolt Festival in 2011 and people still talk about her performances. Then there is storytelling master Gay Ducey, whom I have met when I was an intern at the International Storytelling Center, and listened to her tales for 5 days straight, and loved every minute of it.
And, more recently, there is our very own Danielle Bellone!
Danielle had her Finest Hour performance this Saturday. For those of you who did not graduate from the ETSU Storytelling Master's program: Finest Hour is the performance you do at the end of your practicum schoolwork, before you graduate. You organize a storytelling event, invite teachers, classmates, friends and family, and dazzle them with your very best.
And she did!
I have told with Danielle before, quite often, and I have to tell you up front, she is an absolutely amazing storyteller. She is great with kids (and always has something up her sleeve that sticks with them, as a gift to the teachers... it is usually in the form of a song, simple, repeptitive, and gloriously annoying on the long run). She is also great with adults; she uses language beautifully, smiles like the sun, and chooses her stories very, very carefully, so they fit her like a glove.
She took the concept of the Finest Hour very seriously.
It was a great set of stories! She told a personal story about her childhood, and made us laugh; she told a Haitian folktale and made us sing; she told a Greek myth and she made us cry; she told a tall tale and made us groan; she told a great piece of her poetry and made us sigh. She ended with the story of the Light Princess, and she made us laugh, cry, groan and sigh, and fall in love with the story from beginning to end.
Many storytellers underestimate the importance of story choice; Danielle doesn't. You can tell that she loves the tales she tells, and that is what gives them that extra polish, and makes them shine.
Also, we had jambalaya after the peformance, and that was great too. Not that she needed to bribe us with food to sing her praises.
Keep an eye on Danielle Bellone, she is a storytelling master :)