Floanne Ankah left the family farm in France after high school to make it as a performer in New York City . But France hasn’t exactly left her and audiences who’ve seen her cabaret act can’t help feeling the transatlantic tie from her “Floin to America” production.
“The main thing about cabaret is the connection to the audience,” she says.
Maybe with a red dress, the corresponding lipstick is just the appetizer. Glowing, channeling and living on stage, she says, “It’s about the experience of the material.”
As a start, she brings several French numbers from her childhood to the show. “My crowd is typically artistic, younger and international,” she says. “So Singing in French, I try to pick fun songs and make them accessible by translating parts into English.”
All told, “No Strings” was co-written and directed by Isengart, with some contributions from her previous show by Jean Brassard, and Frank Simms co-writing Ankah’s originals song, “You’re Too Great.” Otherwise, she’s not content to rest on the success of her Cabaret Show because it would throw offthe artistic balance she seeks. “It’s really important to explore because you want to be well rounded as a performer and experience in one technique could be relevant to something else, she says.
So holding a degree from the Merce Cunningham Studio, she initially came to New York to pursue dance. Evolving and not missing a step, she now dabbles in film, theatre and improv comedy and also makes short independent films.
As the founder of SIMPLE production, Ankah is committed to the development of new work that integrates the talent of innovative and “sparkling” artists from various cultures. “ONE WAY” was awarded Best Experimental Film at the 5th Big Apple Film Festival in New York City , and “Waterfront Access?” received the 2010 Golden Reel award for Best Dance Film at the 9th Tiburon International Film Festival in California .
Her latest film endeavor, “Boudoir Chit-Chat,” is an experimental interview featuring five female New York artists, but whatever the reception, the chance to integrate her talents in film and song will not go to waste.Floanne utilizes today’s video technology to propel her cabaret work. While giving her the chance to tweak future performances, she says, “The video lets me see my work objectively and make adjustments, but it also helps me bring the show to a wider audience online and hopefully spark some interest beyond the regular cabaret crowd.”
Her original, “It’s OK to Be Alone,” co-written with producer Ivica Simatovic, also takes video form. With the skills of videographerMark Olivan, and collaborating with NYC Grind’s creative director Jerry Taratino, the moving image brings depth to the audience’s interpretation. “I think it helps people identify – or not – with what they are listening to so it gets more personal,” she says.
Either way, far away from home and the huge family, the big city hasn’t spoiled her. “It’s important to me to feel down to earth, I don’t ever want to loose my roots” she says.
On the other hand, the sophistication she’s accrued in New York refers to her honesty as an individual and integrity as an artist. “I try to always speak my mind, to be authentic” she says, and remaining true as an artist means a day job is out.
You can’t come in to an audition stressed out from work or divide your time against your passion, because an artist needs the time to dream, she says. So this month maybe she pays the bills with her actingand next it’s the cabaret or voice work that pays the rent.
Otherwise, she’s also big on DIY but she believes the courage to persevere past all the obstacles comes from the little girl inside who refuses to give up, even if it means failing sometimes. “I don’t think it is fair to compromise. We should not compromise. At least that’s what keeps me going,” she concludes.