Thursday, February 4, 2010

Emotions Dance

Larissa Humiston, the artistic director and choreographer of Emotions Dance, invited me out to see the rehearsals for "Muddle" which will be performed Saturday, February 6th at 7 Pm and on Sunday, February 7th at 7PM. "Muddle" combines live music by Damien Simon with a series of dances that illustrate the struggle between the seven sins and seven virtues. Inscribed on one of the dancers shirts read "Evoke emotion through motion."
When I arrived the first day, there was a couple finishing up a ballroom dance lesson in the studio; a lesson on the box step. As dancers arrived, they started to warm up. Larissa welcomed me immediately with a hand shake and said she was excited to see what I do. At first, dancers worked on individual sections working out minor kinks. Later, Larissa had them run through the entire show. This is when the emotional impact of the show truly hit me. I had written down the sins and virtues as a guide, but it was fun to just watch and guess the sins and virtues based on the performances. They were: Temperance & Gluttony, Kindness & Envy, Charity & Greed, Chastity & Lust, Pride & Humility, Sloth & Diligence, Wrath & Patience.
I really loved watching Wrath & Patience. This dancing combination had the greatest contrast of emotions and Dion Leonhard Smith did an amazing job expressing Wrath. She transformed into a vicious beast, her back bending backwards at impossible angles and her hands clenched in fists of rage. The Chastity & Lust performance was also fun for a similar reason. The contrast was extreme and entertaining. For this performance, Dion would be on point as a ballerina, her hands graceful and demure, in stark contrast to her later performance. Cindy Heen did a wonderfully lustful dance that should please any boyfriends who were talked out of watching the Super Bowl.
When the run through was finished, Larissa asked the dancers to gather into the "Circle of friendship." All the dancers sat around in a semicircle and Larissa offered notes and suggestions. To Amanda Cariotto she said "Remember you are humility, you need to be soft in the face. It is all in the line of the body as well, humble soft, eyes down." As a general note, Larissa reminded the dancers to be mindful of what they express through their face as well as the dance. She was very worried that people might show up at the Dr. Phillips Performing Arts Center on Virginia, which is the home for the Orlando Ballet. The Dr. Philips Center for the Performing Arts they are performing at is located across from City Hall at 455 South Orange Avenue. She was also concerned that the performance on Saturday would be packed and Sunday's performance empty because of the Super Bowl. So any women out there reading, if you want to know just how much your man loves you, ask him to come out on Sunday to see this amazing performance. He will be pleasantly surprised.

P.S. I tried to convince my wife to see this dance performance but she insists on watching the big game.

Prints are available for each sketch for $250 and many originals can be purchased for $400. White museum grade shadow box frames are $100 more. You can e-mail Thor at

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