Cruise line dancers seek shelter from Irma in the metro - - Jackson, MS

Cruise line dancers seek shelter from Irma in the metro

Source: WLBT Source: WLBT
Source: WLBT Source: WLBT
Source: WLBT Source: WLBT
Source: WLBT Source: WLBT
Source: WLBT Source: WLBT
FLOWOOD, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

While Irma has been downgraded to a tropical storm and moving east, many who fled are in the metro area. Some cruise line employees are among those who evacuated and are filling up local hotels.

Norwegian Cruise Line dancers arrived in Flowood Saturday escaping Hurricane Irma. 

"I  looked on the map, and I said OK there's the hurricane zone. What's west of it, and there was Jackson," said Norwegian Cruise Line Senior Director of Entertainment Robert Hertenstein.

The dance coordinator and 130 dancers, singers and personnel packed into vans Friday leaving their Tampa studio and housing development, traveling 18 hours as Irma headed for Florida.

Monday morning they rehearsed to ABBA's "Waterloo" at the Hilton Garden Inns in Flowood where they're staying.

"All the cast come in from around the world. They're from Australia, England, U.S., Canadian, Ukraine," said Hertenstein. "We all meet in Tampa. They learn the shows there and from there they go to their ships they're assigned to".

"It's very different to what I'm used to," said cruise line dancer Mitchell Tallon. "That's good to explore more of America".

The 24-year-old is from Brisbane, Australia, and has been in the states for only two and a half weeks. But he's found something familiar about Mississippi. 

"The heat's the same I tell you that right now. It's just the driving around on the opposite side of the roads and what not. So it's like a big difference," added Tallon. "We're just running through our stuff, making sure we've got the right counts and everything, filling people in because they've only been here a few weeks".

When Tallon returns to Tampa he won't have much time to settle in or embrace to the warm climate. He will catch a flight Saturday to Seattle where he's been assigned to perform on the Norwegian Pearl.

Hertenstein learned that fortunately their dance studio and living quarters came out practically unscathed by Irma.

"I have personnel back in Tampa. They went and did a site visit. We only had minor damage on the roof, so some leakage," said Hertenstein. "The two housing developments we have the cast and directors in are without power right now".

The dancers and staff are expected to return to Florida Thursday. 

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