Bodiography Contemporary Ballet
has devised dances about heart transplants and other medical issues, but it's probably never tackled such a tough one, says Terese Vorsheck, director of the Highmark Caring Place
: kids' grief for lost parents.
"People don't understand the impact of death on children," says Vorscheck. "People need support to go through the process, and the Caring Place is here if they need that extra support," offering children, as well as adolescents and their families, peer grief-support services in two local offices. Bodiography artistic director and choreographer Maria Caruso, she adds, "was just very inspired by what she saw in our work with children."
Caruso and the dancers worked directly with children at the Caring Place to tell nine of their stories in a new dance called Whispers of Light: A Story of Hope
. "The dancers have been so warm with the kids, helping them understand that whatever way they express their feelings is okay," Vorsheck says. "It seems to have been a process that allowed the kids in a very unique way to express their grief."
The dancers have incorporated into their dancing some of the physical movements that they observed in or discussed with the children, such as the pacing one child said he did to cope with his anxiety and grief.
The ballet begins with the children on stage together, then shows the increasing isolation of those going through grief. The performance ends with the dancers' take on one of the therapeutic activities from the Caring Place, depicting the journey that lets each child "end up in a place that is much more hopeful," Vorsheck says.
Hunter Steinitz, 18, is a Caring Place participant who helped formulate the show. “As we work together in this ballet, I can see myself in the dancers,” she says. “We’re all piecing this show together, like we here at the Caring Place are piecing our own lives back together. Just like a ballet can’t be done by one person, you can’t heal all by yourself either.”
Tickets for the show and the VIP reception may be purchased here
Writer: Marty Levine
Source: Terese Vorsheck, Highmark Caring Place