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Wednesday, 18 June 2014 14:57

New York ballerina shares the ups and downs of a new start

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Claire Sargenti is a New York City ballerina and playwright as well as the author of Interludes, a vibrant new play that explores the meaning of life and death.


With skilful writing and rich, humane characters, Sargenti takes her audience deep into the human soul and shines a light on the source of our passions, our violence, our pain and our joy.
The story of Claire’s journey to write Interludes could also be a play.
To create Interludes, Claire left her familiar New York City for post-Hurricane Katrina New Orleans, a city she had visited only once and where her only acquaintance and future roommate might not be waiting with open arms. The story of how Interludes came to be written is as life-affirming as the play’s message.
DL: What inspired you to write about life and death?
CS: The first time I went to New Orleans was for a quick weekend trip. I took a walking tour to St. Anna’s Church where hundreds of names had been printed on the walls. It was explained that New Orleans had the highest murder rate in the nation, and these names were all of the people who had been murdered within the city. That wall was an incredibly powerful visual for me and sparked what would become the inspiration for Interludes. Death is a very real thing for the people of New Orleans, and it is not ignored like it is in most other American cities. Because death is so real, life also becomes more real. The themes expressed in Interludes are universally human, and could take place anywhere in the world, but the openness that New Orleans has for life and death made it an ideal backdrop for the story.
DL: You relocated from New York to New Orleans — a considerable uprooting. What fears and doubts did you have before moving and why did you do it anyway?
CS: I had a job as a waitress that I didn’t mind leaving, an apartment that I couldn’t afford, and my relationship with my boyfriend was coming to an end. I decided to give myself a new start. I was definitely nervous about moving. I only knew one person who lived in New Orleans — a girl who I had met once for only 30 minutes. She was friends with my boyfriend, and since our break-up was painfully and dramatically finalized only several hours before my flight, I didn’t know if she would still want to associate herself with me. We had planned to move in together, but the day before I left we found out that the house had fallen through. There was no where left to live. I didn’t have a job waiting for me. I didn’t have a car, or any real knowledge of how to move around the city. Those setbacks also excited me. I saw them as challenges. I also knew that God was watching over me. Looking back, I think moving to New Orleans was the best decision that I’ve ever made. I met so many beautiful people who have now become friends and family, went on unexpected adventures, made everlasting memories, and fell in love with a wonderful man.
DL: What is your relationship with life and death?
CS: The things in life that you find are worth living for are usually also what are worth dying for.
To learn more about Claire Sargenti and her new play, visit http://www.nolainterludes.com.
(Dominique Liboiron is a speaker, author, teacher, journalist and photographer. To raise awareness about heart disease and to honour the life of one of its victims, Liboiron canoed from Saskatchewan to New Orleans. He is the first person to undertake that journey. He enjoys outdoor sports such as camping, hunting, fly fishing and canoeing. For more information about his speaking engagements, phone 306-661-8975 or visit www.canoetoneworleans.com.)

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Dominique Liboiron

Dominique Liboiron is a speaker, author, teacher, journalist and photographer. To raise awareness about heart disease and to honour the life of one of its victims, Liboiron canoed from Saskatchewan to New Orleans. He is the first person to undertake that journey. He enjoys outdoor sports such as camping, hunting, fly fishing and canoeing.