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The Voice of the Black Community
Early Autumn Dresses,Code:hi2017

Arts and Entertainment

Ballet pays homage to human form
Bodiography Feb. 24 at Booth Playhouse
 
Published Friday, February 17, 2017 9:12 am
by Ashley Mahoney

Bodiography Contemporary Ballet celebrates differing forms of the body.


The troupe’s time in Charlotte goes beyond their Feb. 24 8 p.m. performance at Booth Playhouse, which marks their expansion here, as well as their debut during the original company’s Southern Tour.  Based in Pittsburgh, the program provides educational exposure for students beyond dance techniques.

“My dancers really love the warm reception that we get,” Bodiography founding Artistic Director Maria Caruso said. “It became really important to me that we really focus on every facet, not just in Charlotte, but kind of in the region. How many children’s lives can we touch? While Jean Pierre [Bonnefoux, Charlotte Ballet’s artistic director] does a beautiful job at Charlotte Ballet, but a majority of their work is classical work. While they do contemporary works, I would say that they are more neoclassical with some of their styles. We kind of have a little bit more of a modern ballet.”

In addition to the Booth Playhouse performance, company has a week-long residency at Winthrop University, as well as performances at Northwest School for the Arts and Johnson Theatre at Winthrop. Caruso’s work at Booth Playhouse, entitled “Lullaby,” conveys the importance of motherhood and nurturing the world.  

“What we do is very different,” Caruso said. “From what I’ve heard from the greater part of the community is that people enjoy seeing contemporary ballet as we see it, and they see it as very different, as something that is not what’s being offered on a regular basis. I think that’s where the interest level comes in from the artists in the community, and also the dancers. I think they enjoy our Bodiography technique, and are invigorated with our variety of offerings.”

A Pennsylvania native, Caruso is the product of parents who divorced and remarried each other multiple times. That tension motivated her to graduate high school at 16, and enroll at Florida State University, where she earned her bachelor’s degree in dance at 19. By 23, she had a master’s in professional leadership and management from Carlow University. Caruso enrolled in college at 102 pounds, but 10 pounds later in the late 1990s, she had trouble establishing herself on the traditional scene.

“I moved into the world of eating disorders,” Caruso said of the world that was not established to benefit a “busty” and “curvy” dancer. She then found her way to Dance Theatre of Harlem, and later created Bodiography.

“Bodiography celebrates the diversity of the body,” Caruso said. “So seeing a 5-foot tall dancer next to a 5-8 dancer [isn’t off-putting]. You see athletic bodies on stage. You see differing bodies on stage, and you recognize that it becomes a choreographic choice to make those bodies make sense on stage.”

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