Friday, October 1, 2010

Poetry in Motion

I went to Starz Dance Studio on 436 in Casselberry, to see one of the final rehearsals before "Poetry in Motion" hits the stage at the Winter Park playhouse. When I walked in, Larissa Humiston, the choreographer and founder of Emotions Dance, welcomed me and made sure all the dancers knew who I was. Dancers were filling out paper work committing themselves to Nude Nite in February and Element Earth in April. Larissa surprised the dancers when she announced that they would not be doing a run through of the whole show. One dancer expressed concerns as her face flushed red. She was visibly upset . She pointed out that the show was only three days away. Larissa wanted to give the dancers a rest but she decided to put the issue up for a vote. She told the dancers to discuss and she stepped out into the hall. I was in the midst of a possible mutiny. Larissa re-entered the room before a final verdict was decided on. She joined the discussion and finally put it up for vote again. This time she told all the dancers to close their eyes and raise their hand to vote. Only two dancers wanted to run through the show.
Larissa lead the dancers in some warm up exercises and then spent the rest of the evening helping the dancers feel connected to one another like a family. She had all the dancers sit in a circle. She asked each dancer to then tell two truths about themselves and one lie. Everyone then had to guess the lie. Rather than hard work, they began to play and in the process learn about each other. Listening in as I sketched, I found out Larissa hates socks and likes tiny collectible things.
A second game involved the dancers picking one of four songs and then standing in a corner of the room designated for that song. No one went to the corner of the room where I happened to be sitting. Either the song sucked or the dancers didn't want to stand near the creepy artist.
One of the songs assigned was Time Warp from the Rocky Horror picture show. The two dancers in that corner had 5 minutes to choreograph a dance routine to the music. The dance they came up with was lively and entertaining. There were the required hip thrusts but the rest of the routine was spontaneous and fun, performed with constant laughter. The other two songs offered equally fun and spontaneous results. The important thing was that everyone was laughing and having a great time. Worries about the big performance in three days were gone.
The last exercise that Larissa pulled out, was to have all the dancers walk as a group to the Mexican place right up the street. With my sketch finished, I packed up and went home.
Larissa manages to bring plenty of truth and sincerity to the choreography, with dancers who are committed to the performance and each other. Emotions Dance will be performing "Poetry in Motion" tonight (October 1) and tomorrow (October 2), at the Winter Park Playhouse (711 North Orange Avenue, Winter Park). Tickets are only $20. Tickets can be purchased online at with a credit card OR
From an Emotions Dance dancer or representative for cash or check OR
Cash or check the night of the performance (as long as tickets don't sell out) Get your tickets NOW as they are going fast!

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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