On Stage: Walking the Red Carpet

“We’re going all out,” Maria Caruso exclaims over her 10th anniversary production, Red Carpet Rollout. As the name suggests, she will see to it that the Byham Theater will have its own crimson pathway into the hall. And for extra pizzazz, a Caruso trademark, company members will arrive in limos.

Bodiography’s artistic director has five gowns to choose from for the two-performance run and plans to offer a full-service menu, from art installations to a world premiere among the 13 scrapbook selections. KDKA’s Kristine Sorensen (Friday) and Whirl Magazine’s Nicole Barley (Saturday) will handle the emcee duties. And the fun won’t stop with the performance. VIP audience members can continue at the Renaissance Hotel next door with food, drink and a couple of DJs who will spin their favorite hits.

Maria has been admittedly emotional during the heartfelt process. She admits that she loves “choreography and I love the spotlight, love the dresses, love all that,” she also loves “being part of watching somebody grow and thrive.”

So the Red Carpet Rollout is about giving back, “to show gratitude to those who have supported me over the last decade. It’s about applauding the patrons and the audience and just everyone who has been there on the journey.”

Maria is still pretty much a one-woman operation who coordinates not only Bodiography and its school, but La Roche College’s performing arts department and Club 1 Pittsburgh’s group fitness program.

She wouldn’t change anything, however. Even though it has been difficult with long hours, she would never take anything back, even those admittedly “bad ballets” from her early years.

Because of the inherent difficulties in starting a company, she has found the strength — she “comfortably” calls it “emotional constipation” — to put her “heart and soul on the table, to be vulnerable.”

Founding Bodiography had its sweet side as well. “I choreograph because I am so passionate about the subject matter,” Maria says. “I love being able to use the body to translate. I never come into the studio with anything but an idea and a lot of love.”

But right now she’s just thrilled to have survived those first ten, difficult years. “I’m a part of the cultural landscape…and I get to walk down the Red Carpet!” she exclaims.

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