Follow the Light


Friday, March 18 @ 8pm
Booth Playhouse
130 N. Tryon St.

Follow the Light will open with all of Caruso’s regional works, performed by all of the local artists and students, and Bodiography will travel from Pittsburgh to showcase their successful rock ballet set to the sounds of Coldplay. The contemporary ballet company, made up of eight full time artists and three apprentices, will take the stage to not only represent the embodiment of the ballet within

contemporary choreographic structures but that of the pointe shoe. Caruso’s use of the pointe shoe as a tool to accentuate movement rather than being used to create the movement is something that has long set her apart from other contemporary ballet choreographers. “I believe that the pointe shoe is an extension of oneself and should be revered in such a way that it accessorizes the vocabulary rather than limits its potential,” Caruso conveys.  Follow the Light focuses on patterns of light and love in our life.  Bodiography is thrilled to bring the work to Charlotte. With a combined cast of 30 plus dancers for the entire show and an array of works by Ms. Caruso, it is truly a performance not to be missed.

Charlotte Dance Festival Gala

Friday, April 23, 2021
8pm EST


Limited in-person audience and Live Stream

Charlotte Cirque & Dance Center

9315-E Monroe Road

Charlotte, NC 28270


Alyona Amato
Wilmington, NC

Alyona Amato (choreographer and founder of The Village Dance Company) was born and raised in Russia, Siberia. Alyona has loved dance since her childhood. She has been trained in many different types of dance including contemporary, modern, contact improvisation and ballet. Being from another country, Alyona has had many opportunities to train with the teachers from around the world. The Moscow dance association granted her with an opportunity to participate in Dance Program in Vilnius (Lithuania), Paris (France), Moscow (Russia). She collaborated her dance work with the different artists including painters, visual artists, and musicians. In 2011 the American Dance Festival granted her to take part in the International program in Durham. After finishing the program Alyona moved to Wilmington, NC. Her performances have been selected and shown at different Festivals including: North Carolina Dance Festival (Asheville, Wilmington), Dance-a-Lorus (part of Cucalorus), Lumina Fest, Wilmington Dance Festival, Contemporary Dance Choreography Festival (Orlando, FL), Charlotte Dance Festival (2020). Her personality is strong, easy going and open minded. She likes to be challenged and to challenge others, to grow and help others to grow with her.



Atlanta, GA

DANCE AEGIS is a movement based creative platform. Led by Choreographer/Director Andrea Knowlton, the group creates and performs in both Los Angeles, California & Atlanta, Georgia. The company was founded in 2013 by Knowlton who makes dances for both the stage and the screen. The group’s most recent dance/film/music project, “TWELVE", involved 26 artists and was screened at film festivals in Los Angeles, Washington D.C, Nashville, New Orleans, Atlanta (2020) and Vancouver. Knowlton’s stage work “HER” was recently presented by Zoetic Dance at Southwest Arts Center in Atlanta. Her newest piece “This Land” originally created on the Kennesaw State University Dance Company, will be presented by The Odyssey Theater in Los Angeles in 2020. DANCE AEGIS embraces interdisciplinary conversation, and works in collaboration with composers, filmmakers, and designers from across mediums. The company is invested in process-based works that exemplify and celebrate artistic synergy.

Photo by Cheryl Mann

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Caroline Calouche & Co.

Charlotte, NC

Caroline Calouche & Co. is the Southeast’s only professional contemporary and circus company.  CC&Co. is a nonprofit organization dedicated to inspiring people of diverse backgrounds to explore beyond their boundaries through performance and education.  Their Charlotte season consists of Clara's Trip: A Cirque & Dance Nutcracker Story and Rouge along with another full length production that alternates each year.  CC&Co. tours their repertory and full-length shows mostly in the Southeast.  Their school, the Charlotte Cirque & Dance Center, offers classes for recreational to professional students in Charlotte, North Carolina.

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Fini Dance



Antonio Fini has been a principal dancer with Michael Mao Dance since 2010. Founder of Fini Production LLC in 2015 Antonio is Artistic Director of Fini Dance New York, the Italian International Dance Award in New York City and Gust Judge for dancing with the Stars Italy. He is a special guest with Erick Hawkins dance company and he has been guest artist for the National Ballet of Kosovo, Staten Island Ballet, Boca Ballet Theater, Mare Nostrum Elements and the Martha Graham Dance Company. As a choreographer he created works for the National Ballet of Kosovo for the New York City Opera at Rose Theater at Lincoln Center and for Alto Jonio Dance Festival Italy.

The Company performed at the Tirana Dance Festival,Albania; Bulgarian international Dance Festival, Sofia;Wake Forest Dance Festival, NC; Dzul International Dance Festival in Campeche, Mexico. Antonio Fini began his career dancing tarantella, horseback riding, and the Martial Arts in Villapiana, Calabria, Italy, where he was born and where in 2011 started Fini International Dance Festival. Antonio has taught at the Martha Graham School, Staten Island Ballet, Huntington Center for Performing Arts and throughout Europe, USA and Mexico.

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Maria Caruso's Bodiography

Pittsburgh, PA

Maria Caruso's Bodiography is known for its commitment to health and wellness in the arts through dance performance, education, fitness, and therapeutic approaches utilizing movement studies.  Bodiography® is a trademarked movement vocabulary, created by Maria Caruso, that is utilized in the creation of all of her artistic and educational tools. 


Originally conceived as a performance outlet for exquisite ballet dancers with healthy, athletic, but non-stereotypical ballet bodies, Bodiography strives to bring the beauty of ballet to new dance audiences in Pittsburgh and beyond. Presenting multi-genre movement languages and popular contemporary music, Bodiography places special focus on health issues, expressing our shared humanity through intriguing, entertaining, relevant, and inspiring dance with a strong foundation in classical ballet technique.


BCB has grown to include four separate performance entities, all of whom celebrate the company's overarching mission. Bodiography is comprised of full time professional artists delineated by the ranks of Principal Ambassadors, Principal Artists, and Company Artists. The company enages in a Pittsburgh season and global touring schedule. BCB2, a pre-professional company, is also comprised of Principal Ambassadors and Principal Artists. They work with the company while pursuing regional and national touring engagements. BCB3 is an ensemble made up of retired company artists who gather for project based works and perform with BCB annually in Pittsburgh. BCB Charlotte is an ensemble of southern based artists, lead by former company artist Lauren Suflita Skrabalak, who also gather for project based work and perform annually with BCB during the Southern Tour. Together, the collective of over 30 artists represent the beauty of dance for Every-BODY on both a regional and national level.


THE MARK dance company

Charlotte, NC

Arlynn Zachary has an MFA in choreography from UNCG, a BA in choreography from Goucher College, and an AA degree from CPCC. She has worked for Echo Contemporary Dance Company, Moving Poets Charlotte, The Wake Project, Baran Dance, and Taproot Ensemble, in the capacities of dancer, rehearsal director, stage manager, and lighting designer. She has served on the KinetiCollective and Charlotte Dance Festival boards, and was the Director of Dance for the Charlotte New Music Festival’s Dance Co-Lab. Her choreography has been presented at the American College Dance Association, Goucher College, Columbia College, Furman University, UNCG, North Carolina Dance Festival, Greensboro Fringe Festival, Charlotte Dance Festival, Loose Leaves Showcase, and Emergance Showcase, to name a few. She has received a Regional Artist Project Grant from the Arts and Science Council in 2015, the Charlotte Emerging Choreographer’s Award from CDF in 2016, and the Kristina Larson Thesis Grant in 2019. She has worked as an MFA Thesis Concert Coordinator for Hollins University, and has taught dance at CPCC, JCSU, and UNCG. She is currently an Adjunct Professor of dance at Winthrop University and is the Founder/Artistic Director of THE MARK dance company. 


Instagram: @themarkdancecompany 

Photo by Arlynn Zachary

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Tammy Stanford

Brookhaven, MS

Tammy Stanford is the dance program founder/instructor at the Mississippi School of the Arts. She holds an MFA in Dance from Montclair State University and a BFA in Dance from the University of Southern Mississippi. Her awards include 2019 AIM Award for outstanding achievement in arts education, 2016 Teacher of the Year, and 2004 Thad Cochran Distinguished Arts Educator. Stanford has served as dance chair for the Mississippi State Department of Education writing committee, teaching artist for Mississippi Arts Commission and consultant for Mississippi Alliance for Arts Education, Mississippi Dance Association, and Mississippi Dance Leaders Alliance.

Stanford curates a repository of work by University of Southern Mississippi Dance founder, Patricia Amacker McConnell. Her restaging of McConnell’s work "Catting" was selected for a 2019 Dance Gala Concert. An excerpt from Stanford’s documentary "Unraveling" was selected for the 2019 Celebration of Dance Filmmakers. Her thesis work "Footfalls" investigates poet imagery and visceral effects of T.S. Eliot’s work Burton Norton. An excerpt from Footfalls was selected for a 2018 Dance Gala Concert. Stanford’s research aims to investigate somatic approaches to dance making. Her personal practice, “unraveling,” identifies and examines individual hindrances to creative processes and explores alternate pathways for creative discovery.

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Water Street Dance

Milwaukee, WI

Morgan Williams` Water Street Dance Milwaukee has been a dominant force in the Milwaukee arts scene and the greater midwest dance community, and only continues to excel further under the company's new vision. While maintaining a homebase in the midwest, the company has expanded its reach nationally to major cities, touring within the past year to San Francisco, CA; New York City, NY; Chicago, IL; Columbus, OH; and St. Louis, MO. Committed to understanding and exploring all aspects of concert dance, the company places an emphasis on the creative process and producing dynamic and unique contemporary works that are both expressive and entertaining. 

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