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In 2005, Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans. Nearly nine years later, the city still fights to recover. Within this landscape, mustachioed men wearing sweat bands, red satin jackets, blue coach shorts, and gold tennis shoes have emerged. These are the 610 Stompers, a group of everyday men with self-proclaimed "extraordinary moves" who have used dance, humor, and their local pop culture celebrity status to continually forge, embody, preserve, and serve the community of post-Katrina New Orleans in a way unparalleled by other organizations. The 610 Stompers are a dance group on one hand, but a representation of the New Orleans citizenry on the other. They emerged in the euphoria of the New Orleans Saints' first trip to the Superbowl, quickly being adopted as the city's favorite dance group. Since then, they have appeared in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, danced at local sporting and charity events, and served as poster boys for local safety campaigns and public service announcements. Additionally, they now host two annual charity events. Dance is at the forefront of their existence, including high-energy booty-shaking, the Running Man, "riding the horse," displays of machismo, and high-fives all around. Their use of popular, nostalgic, uninhibited moves makes dance not only accessible to the community, but a chance to find collective joy and the opportunity to play. The 610 Stompers are a unique symbol of a post-Katrina New Orleans culture that values the past, takes pride in the city, and lives in the moment. The Stompers' story is one of simple beginnings and unexpected stardom. Through the 610 Stompers, New Orleanians are able to unite over a common cause, see that even underdogs can become extraordinary, preserve local traditions, help others in need, and experience unabashed happiness through dance. Through dance, the Stompers preserve the traditions of the city's past, embrace the present, and strive for a better future in post-Katrina New Orleans.
610 Stompers, Community, Dance, Marching Groups, Mardi Gras, New Orleans
Date of Defense
April 4, 2014.
A Thesis submitted to the School of Dance in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Arts.
Includes bibliographical references.
Jennifer Atkins, Professor Directing Thesis; Tricia Young, Committee Member; Ilana Goldman, Committee Member.
Florida State University
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