by Matt Paley
Oh my god, it’s finally here.
This was one of those projects. None of the lovely people — Lily Susskind, my mighty co-director; Matt Ferro, our genius behind the camera; STE’s own Jake Teresi, our enabler, producer, and host in New Orleans; Carsie Blanton, our musical muse and sponsor – had any idea if and when it would suddenly (in my unsteady hands) transform itself into something lovely, hard and brilliant, and I had only the slightest inkling (and only sometimes).
Certainly, it was a project with the makings of something good. Carsie had managed to round up a veritable who’s who of the world’s greatest swing dancers – Chance Bushman, Giselle Anguizola, Peter Loggins, Amy Johnson, Reuel Reis, Laura Manning and Lisa Casper — and we’d constructed a tiny crew equally versed in dance and film primed to push the boundaries of the dance on film we’d seen before. Thanks to the generosity and excitement of the performers who joined us, our time in New Orleans and the footage we’d collected was unbelievable. But in the editing process, trying to capture the spirit of all of these dancers and their opposing styles, to respect the dance and still cut it mercilessly, to delight in the magic of New Orleans without reverting to cliché, and above all to fit everything into barely three minutes of song seemed an impossible task.
And yet, at long last, here it is! Shot in the streets of the 8th Ward, inside a St. Charles streetcar, on the balcony of Mimi’s in the Marigny, and in the abandoned Six Flags in Michoud, Baby Can Dance is a celebration of life and joy and dance and a city that’s always pregnant with all three. Please enjoy.