Mover & Shaker
Katie Erin Ginn, Mississippi’s choreographer of the moment, has just wrapped two back to back shows: The Gershwin’s Of Thee I Sing, at William Carey University, and Hattiesburlesque’s titillating revue Roadside Attractions.
The fiercely creative choreographer’s whimsical fashion choices won me over instantly. Who else, but a burlesque queen shows up adorned in sequins and oversized art deco earrings on an otherwise ordinary Monday afternoon?
A co-founder of Hattiesburlesque, Katie has not only learned the delicate art of tease, but also focused, no-nonsense determination. In the midst of working with the burlesque troupe, she choreographs multiple shows for William Carey’s Winter School of Music and USM’s Theater Department. (Deep breath, now.) She also currently teaches dance and movement at Laurel Ballet Academy, Smart Space, Columbia Dance Center and Hattiesburg Ballroom and Beyond. If I didn’t know any better, I’d swear she had a clone.
The USM alum adds, “I believe we create our own opportunities. It’s a lot of hard work.” Yasss queen!
Don’t let her coquettish features fool you. This bold brunette, exudes an easy elegance, intelligence, and a confidence that I believe comes from her training as a dancer, but more importantly, the heartfelt belief in her art to transform and positively affect the audience and dancers she works with.
The 26-year-old favors modern dance over ballet and cites master choreography Paul Taylor’s ‘pedestrian’ movements as a major influence in her work. Generous with positive affirmations and encouraging words, she tells me adamantly, that her ultimate goal is for the actors and dancers in her charge to feel confident when they dance.
“Everything I do, I do with the hope that people will feel better about themselves.”
A modern day feminist, Katie says she has always been interested in exploring gender roles thru dance and choreography.
“I was the tomboy who did pageants and danced. I would ask myself (as a child) ‘how tomboyish am I allowed to be?’
Case in point: Her gender-bending, show-stopping tribute to David Bowie, performed at Hattiesburlesque’s Spring show: An ethereal, modern dance set to Bowie’s Space Oddity, made complete with an androgynous, avant-garde flesh-colored costume worthy of Lady Gaga AND an Area 51-inspired set.
“I want my dances to speak to everybody.”
The company, founded on the principles of female empowerment and sisterhood, often challenges stereotypes of classical beauty and gender thru Katie’s choreography.
“You have to believe you are beautiful to show people beauty.”
A performer since age three, Katie confides in me, “It wasn’t until I started working with Hattiesburlesque, that I believed I was beautiful.”
Our lovely Lolita, is married to Michael Paul Ginn, a vocalist for the Hattiesburlesque house band. Here’s a snapshot of his killer Elvis performance during last month’s show. We can’t wait to see what Michael and Katie do next!