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The Ones For Texas: Michelle Gibson

DALLAS (CBS11) - This August marks 13 years since Hurricane Katrina devastated the Louisiana coast.

A talented choreographer is sharing her journey from New Orleans to North Texas this month, through the Dallas Black Dance Theatre.

At a rehearsal in December, Michelle Gibson guides a group of dancers with expertise driven from personal experience. Every movement, every expression is her own.

Michelle Gibson
Michelle Gibson (CBS11)

"For me, it's a therapy session," Gibson says.

Gibson is a New Orleans native, and like thousands of others, she found her life uprooted in August of 2005.

Her city under water; her heart, breaking for the people in agony.

"When I tell you we were watching the TV – it was as if we were watching a film of a third world country in distress," she recalls.

With a newborn son and a 6-year-old daughter, Gibson and her family arrived in North Texas to start over. A dance class at the Dallas Black Dance Theatre helped her find her spirit again.

"This is how I push through to not forget about what happened, but to also be thankful for what happened to transition me to the next level of my life," Gibson says.

Michelle Gibson
Michelle Gibson (CBS11)

Displaced, Yet/Rebirth premieres with the Dallas Black Dance Theatre in February.

In the performance choreographed by Gibson, she uses dance, poetry and a live Second Line brass band to weave movement and traditions of the rich New Orleans culture into her work.

It also honors the lives lost, and the survivors – not unlike herself.

"There's a void. There is still a void of missing home. New Orleans is a place like no other," Gibson says.

Gibson says she could still be angry, for the storm and the response, but she is not.

"Dallas – I have to be honest – was not a place I had ever thought of living in my life," Gibson explains.

But the journey brought her here, and for that, she feels gratitude.

"I think if Katrina had not happened, I don't think I would have pushed forward as far as I've gotten in my life, in my art," Gibson says.

Displaced, Yet/Rebirth is on stage at the Wyly Theatre in the AT&T Performing Arts Center, February 16-18.

For ticket information click here.

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