In the 15 years since Maria Caruso founded Bodiography Contemporary Ballet, she has created numerous works for the company, including rock-scored and medical-themed ballets. For Bodiography’s latest program, Unseen, Jan. 15 and 16 at the Byham Theater, Caruso culled works largely new to area dance-goers.
“I was curious what some of my works created on other companies and for other projects would look like on the company dancers I have now,” says Caruso.
The all-female company and several guest artists will perform seven diverse works including two premieres, beginning with Caruso’s “The Lending Heart.” The 25-minute ballet, set to music by the Blue Man Group, was inspired by the stories of eight cancer patients, ages 7 to 26, from Pittsburgh’s Lending Hearts organization, who will also perform in the work.
Unlike her similar Whispers of Light (2013), Caruso says, “Lending Heart” “doesn’t touch on grief, anger or sadness. Rather, it’s an uplifting, hopeful ballet focused on these children’s stories and how they relate to the Lending Hearts organization.”
“Bonsoir,” set to music by French musician Ludovic Navarre (a.k.a. St. Germain), was created in 2013 for a Bodiography Center for Movement children’s concert. The work touches on the classical ballet roots of the neo-classical movement.
Next, former Bodiography company members Kelly Basil and Kirstie Corso perform “Intimate Liaisons,” which premiered at the Kelly-Strayhorn Theater’s newMoves Contemporary Dance Festival in 2009. Then the full company performs the newly revamped “Led by Light,” last performed at 2013’s SWAN (Support Women Artists Now) Day.
Commissioned by Warped Dance Company, “Curious Spirals” (2015) will be performed by the Milwaukee-based troupe in its Pittsburgh debut. Set to music by German composer Nils Frahm, the ballet takes its inspiration from a child’s drawings of spirals.
Rounding out the program are two recent works by Caruso. One is the premiere of her new pas de deux, “Uncharted Grace,” set to an original piano score by Carnegie Mellon student composer Theo Teris, played live by him and danced by Misa Pascarella and guest dancer Jayson Douglas, of Boston’s Jose Mateo Ballet Theatre. “Within the Confines,” commissioned by the Charlotte Dance Festival in 2015, explores themes of confinement.