Contemporary ballet

Bodiography Contemporary Ballet celebrates its 15th anniversary | Dance | Pittsburgh

Entering its 15th season, Bodiography Contemporary Ballet, like many dance companies, has gone through a number of changes in its lifetime – changes in dancers, repertoire and, to some extent, vision. One constant, however, has been the affable, Energizer Bunny presence of founder/artistic director Maria Caruso. The face, heart and soul of Bodiography, Caruso was for much of the company’s history its principal dancer, chief choreographer and vocal leader.

Caruso retired as a company dancer last season, but remains in those other roles, still pushing Bodiography forward. She recently added to the organization BCB3, a troupe of former Bodiography dancers, and BCB Charlotte, a branch of Bodiography in North Carolina.

To celebrate the company’s crystal anniversary, Bodiography presents its 15th Anniversary Red Carpet Performance, January 21 at the Byham Theater downtown.

The program of new works, repertoire and commissions, all choreographed by Caruso, begins with three new short works. One is performed by the Bodiography student troupe, the other is a work for BCB3 and the third is a duet for two dancers by Caruso at Collège La Roche, where she directs the dance department.

Beyond that, Caruso says she let her dancers choose the bulk of the works for this program from the more than 80 pieces she choreographed. The oldest chosen, “Solace” from 2005, is a 30-minute three-movement piece set to music by Arvo Pärt which will be performed live by the Pittsburgh Festival Orchestra. It was inspired by a traumatic car accident involving Caruso’s mother, and the love and support she and her family received afterwards.

Originally created for the student dance troupe at Winthrop University, “Life Tides” (2015) explores the idea that life began in water. Set to music by Brooklyn-based film composer Garth Stevenson, the 10-minute abstract piece uses a large expanse of fabric and flowing skirts to create the sense of an aquascape through which dancers move.

Another work created for another troupe, ‘Parabola’ (2015), was originally staged by Charlotte’s Open Door Studio performance ensemble. The eight-minute contemporary ballet set to music by Swedish electronic duo The Knife focuses on spatial structuring.

Caruso’s latest program, “Pathways”, completes the program. The 16-minute abstract work is set to music by French musician St Germain and explores different paths of movement.