By Marcina Zaccaria . . .
Is trying on a new dress like trying on a new identity? In Metamorphosis, a dancer brilliantly moves fabric, wrapping herself like a goddess, like a silks-trained acrobat, and like a woman warrior.
Refreshed and inspired by the work of Martha Graham, Maria Angelica Caruso discovers potential in movement. Gliding across the floor with a gloriously long fabric wrap, she ignites the audience’s imagination, asking them to recall early Graham performance.
Maria Angelica Caruso is a practitioner of Bodiography, an approach that combines dance, fitness, and wellness. Hailing from Pittsburgh, PA, standing onstage with silver dress, black dress, and red and green dresses, I had to wonder if a steely exterior provides a more impressive, core frame that encapsulates the intense emotions persisting within the performer. With bare feet, she appears both vulnerable and impressively strong.
Metamorphosis has to do with change. Unafraid to show the pain that comes from within, Maria Angelica Caruso exposes an inward struggle that seems almost insurmountable. With an extraordinary desire to get past a scratching, awful feeling inside one’s body, coping with a type of devastation, she elevates herself by returning to her core. Clean fabric seems to camouflage her fear and reverse the downfalls of the past. A refreshment of the spirit is vital and essential to the practice. Curves bring a gentle femininity.
In the next dance, Ms. Caruso is rushed back to the wall, looking like a warrior engaged in a type of border crisis. The horror in her eyes displayed the clearest evidence of the presence of the actor in the dancer on the stage. An offstage aggressor feels present. Rushing side to side with a fervent tempo, her muscular frame finds length, with arms and legs outstretched, rounding like a windmill.
She peels away the sheer fabric from her body and tosses it into the audience, as though she is consciously offering an ugly truth from a longer journey. Then, she puts on a red dress for a dance that is whimsical and presentational. Keyboard sounds bring a distinct change from a type of new age chant music at the top of the show.
At the last moment, Maria Angelica Caruso walks through the center aisle, striding past the fabrics tossed to the ground. Not only has she conquered the memory of a dancer’s past, she has also brought the audience through every step. She almost throws the long fabric used during the first Martha Graham inspired dance, then she embraces It for herself.
Metamorphosis is running through August in conjunction with Rearview Mirror at the Actors Temple Theatre, located at 339 West 47th Street. Tickets HERE.