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October 28, 2016

La Roche College Performing Arts Department Presents Maria Caruso’s Ballet The Messiah

PITTSBURGH, Oct. 28, 2016 – The La Roche University Performing Arts Department will present choreographer Maria Caruso’s ballet The Messiah, with music by The Pittsburgh Festival Orchestra and Maestri Singers, under the direction of Thomas Octave, at the Byham Theater on Saturday, Nov. 19, 2016 at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. The performance will feature the University’s dance students and members of Bodiography Contemporary Ballet.

Handel’s Messiah is a work that was created in the absence of movement and dance. Ms. Caruso, chair of the Performing Arts Department at La Roche University and artistic director of Bodiography, was driven by the challenge of accentuating and framing one of the world’s most celebrated Baroque oratorios and bringing lovers of ballet and the Messiah together to experience a respectful and awe inspiring non narrative ballet that is focused on lighting the world through love.

“La Roche has always been a place of deep spirituality with a reverence for all cultures and religions while remaining true to its Catholic identity. I plan to showcase the warmth and inclusivity that is ever-present on campus by highlighting a spiritual focus in the work,” Ms. Caruso, said. “Using light and illumination, the work demonstrates the grace and beauty that is found in loving communities of people, in the art that is around us and within us, and the magnificence that we create as human beings when we are gathered together in peace and harmony.”  

In addition to creating an independent work of art, Caruso was interested in making a connection between La Roche, its curriculum and the ballet. This notion further propelled her motivation to focus the ballet on lighting the world through love, Ad Lucem per Amorem, which is the motto of La Roche. This investigation of light opened the door for her to discover and learn more about The Saint John’s Bible, the first completely handwritten and illuminated Bible to have been commissioned by a Benedictine Abbey since the invention of the printing press. Since 2012, and La Roche’s acquisition of the Heritage Edition, its messages and illuminations have been incorporated into the curriculum and College community. With the assistance of Sister Michele Bisbey, CDP, Ph.D., division chair for Humanities at La Roche and provincial director of the Sisters of Divine Providence, the two selected an illumination titled The Birth of Christ as an inspiration for the ballet.

“The beauty of the illumination provided a wonderful connection between the educational excellence, spirituality, and the hope that the ballet will further promote our capacity to make the world a better place through our individual light and love for human kind,” Caruso, said.

Tickets can be purchased online through the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust or by phone at 412-456-6666. 


About La Roche University: A private liberal arts college in the North Hills of Pittsburgh, La Roche University offers more than 50 undergraduate majors, six graduate degree programs and one doctoral program, with particular strengths in education, business, criminal justice, psychology, and health and medical sciences as well as interior design and graphic design. This residential college provides a vibrant campus community for more than 1,500 men and women enjoying 30-plus student organizations and an exciting NCAA Div. III athletics program. Founded by the Sisters of Divine Providence in 1963, La Roche University embraces its Catholic heritage while welcoming people of all faiths and backgrounds. With a legacy of social justice and a commitment to international exchange, La Roche University educates students to be lifelong learners and achievers in an increasingly diverse and global society.