South Georgia Broadway Performer gives scholarships to up and coming local dancers

Broadway Dancer Maria Caruso comes back to her roots and awards up and coming dancers with scholarships.
Published: Jan. 22, 2022 at 11:32 PM EST
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) - A few local South Georgia and North Florida dance programs received a treat this weekend when world renowned dancer, teacher and choreographer Maria Caruso came into town.

Maria Caruso is an educator, choreographer, and dancer most known for her Metamorphosis show on Broadway and this weekend she made her way back to South Georgia to give back to her roots.

“After I had two shows off Broadway and started going back on tour I said you know I’d really love to hop down and visit it’s been way too long,” said La Roche University Director of Creative Initiatives Maria Caruso.

Caruso said she’s passionate about giving back and wanted to do so by teaching master classes and even surprising some students with an amazing opportunity.

“After the dance class I went to my next period and everybody was like the dance teacher wants to see you and I was like am I in trouble?,” shared Thomasville High School Student Kelcee Robinson. “And I was nervous so when I got in there she told me that she wanted to offer me a scholarship and all I could do was cry because I was so surprised and I just didn’t know what to do.”

Robinson’s scholarship to La Roche University is worth $64,000 per year but what was worth more was the confidence that moment gave her.

“It just made me feel great because I started late in dance. I started like two or three years ago so for her to actually notice me and say that she wanted to offer me a scholarship make me feel really good about myself,” exclaimed Robinson.

Caruso explaining that with a little work you can make a career in the arts.

“It’s important to showcase our belief in our support of the humanities and to show young people that dance in the arts have a place in this world and you can build a career out of it,” described Caruso.

On top of the classes, Caruso performed her world renowned Metamorphosis dance. An experience that came full circle for her former teacher and mentor.

“I was just in tears because I was able to actually relate to a lot of her struggles that she went through because we are really close friends and I know a lot of the stuff that she’s gone through,” explained OBC Dance and Arts & The Firm Dance Company Artistic Director Dana Willis. “So it’s really nice to have her come back to spend time with the audience and spend time with the kids.”

An opportunity Willis says she hopes her students don’t take for granted.

“All the studio owners, we always talk about how you never know who is going to walk through the door,” shared Willis. “And for Maria to walk in and give these kids the master classes and offer them the scholarships on top of it you know a lot of the kids had no idea was coming.”

And for others searching to find themselves and want a career in the arts, Caruso says knowing your self-worth is key.

“It’s okay to love yourself and it’s okay to say that and I thought long and hard to say that I love me and I’m proud of that,” exclaimed Caruso.

Robinson was one of multiple dancers able to receive almost $200,000 worth of scholarships from Caruso as they try to further their dance futures.

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