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.
"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.
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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