Variety is the spice of dance showcase Multiplicity. | Dance | Pittsburgh | Pittsburgh City Paper

Variety is the spice of dance showcase Multiplicity.

Bodiography Contemporary Ballet Company's fourth annual Multiplicity concert is a showcase of multiple personalities. The 90-minute program, Nov. 3 and 4 at the Kelly-Strayhorn Theater, features five works by five different choreographers exploring a wide range of emotion, subject matter and personal style. Add to that eclectic mix a guest appearance by Pittsburgh belly-dance company Zafira.

What do vaudeville, circus and belly dance have in common? In Zafira's 15-minute work to open Multiplicity, audiences will find out. Not your average belly-dance troupe, Zafira blends traditional Middle Eastern dance with contemporary styles such as jazz and modern, along with a theatrical twist that has made the company a darling of the U.S. belly-dance community. Co-artistic director Olivia Kissel -- who is cousin to Bodiography artistic director Maria Caruso -- describes the unique blend of styles and early-1900s look as "earthy glamor."

"There is an emotional arc to the work we're presenting," says Kissel. "It begins with long languid movements and progresses into vibrant and percussive dancing."

Area musician James Patla follows Zafira with the first of his brief musical interludes that will separate each of the dances on the program.

Four Bodiography company members present new works, including retiring principal dancer Lauren Suflita -- whose energetic neo-classical ballet, set to the music of Vivaldi, is for seven dancers -- and Kelly Basil, whose angular modern-dance group work is danced to Queen's "Bohemian Rhapsody." The company's two newest dancer/choreographers, Meghan Dann and Kalin Morrow, will present two thematically based works reflecting ranges of emotional strife.

Rounding out the program is a work by guest choreographer Courtney Gleason that Caruso describes as soft, fluid contemporary ballet performed at a vigorous pace.

"It is my goal as a director to help my artists find their choreographic voice," says Caruso. In this year's Multiplicity, Caruso and company (and friends) will make sure those voices are heard.

Bodiography Contemporary Ballet presents Multiplicity 8 p.m. Sat., Nov. 3, and 2 p.m. Sun., Nov. 4. Kelly-Strayhorn Theater, 5941 Penn Ave., East Liberty. $15 ($12 students/seniors). 412-521-6094 or

click to enlarge Lauren Suflita - PHOTO COURTESY OF ACESHIGH PHOTOGRAPHY
Photo courtesy of AcesHigh Photography
Lauren Suflita

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