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Caruso Dance Ensemble to premier original work “Katrina” at Biloxi Saenger Theater August 4 and 5

PICAYUNE— The Caruso Dance Ensemble of the Caruso Academy of Ballet and Performing Arts in Picayune will premier its original work “Katrina,” choreographed by Regina Caruso Hansen on Friday, August 4, and Saturday, August 5, at the Biloxi Sauenger Theater located at 170 Reynoir St. in Biloxi.

Over 50 percent of the net proceeds will go to the Saenger Theater to help with repairing the damages sustained from the storm. Both performances begin at 7:30 p.m.

The ensemble is lead by the company director, choreographer and dancer, Regina Caruso Hansen. She is a graduate of St. Mary’s Dominican High School in New Orleans, Louis. and the University of Southern Mississippi in Hattiesburg.

She studied dance with Sylvia and Sandra Labourdette in Metairie, Louis. Her choreography has received numerous regional and national awards. In 2005, her studio performed in Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom as a Magic Music Days Performance group. She is the 26-year-old wife of Josh Hansen and the mother of Joshua and Helena Hansen.

Hansen will be dancing alongside four of her pupils, Elisabeth Dearmin, Sarah Dearmin, Rebekah Dearmin, and Talley Martin, for the “Katrina” premier.

Elisabeth Dearmin is the principal company dancer. She is a student at Pearl River Community College in Poplarville, where she plans to double major in pre-med and dance choreography.

She has studied dance for three years at Caruso Academy of Ballet and Performing Arts under Regina Hansen. She is a member of the Senior Competition Team and the Caruso Youth Ballet Company. She has performed in Las Vegas and Walt Disney Worl in Orlando, as well as many local events. She is the 16-year-old daughter of Ron and Mary Dearmin.

Sarah Dearmin is a music major at Pearl River Community College. While at PRCC, she has participated in the concert choir, concert band, marching bad, and the dance team String of Pearls.

She ahs studied dance for three years at Caruso Acadmey of Ballet and Performing Arts under Regina Hansen. She is a member of the Senior Competition Team and the Caruso Youth Ballet Company. She has performed in Las Vegas and Walt Disney World in Orlando as well as many local events. She is the 18-year-old daughter of Ron and Mary Dearmin.

Rebekah Dearmin has been home-schooled and will become a dual-enrollment studen at Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College in the fall. She has studied dance for three years at Caruso Academy of Ballet and Performing Arts under Regina Hansen. She is a member of the Senior Competition Team and the Caruso Youth Ballet Company.

She ahs performed in Las Vegas and Walt Disney World in Orlando, as well as several local events. Rebekah has also performed in many theater productions for Picayune on Stage. she has competed both regionally and nationally for vocals. She is the 14-year-old daughter of Ron and Mary Dearmin.

Talley Martin is a student at Pearl River Community College, where she is a member of the String of Pearls dance team and performed with River Road. Seh has studied dance for nine years and is currently studying at Caruso Academy of Ballet and Performing Arts under Regina Hansen. She is the 18-year-old daughter of Ron adn Joyce Martin.

The production “Katrina” is an emotional collection of modern and contemporary works that illustrate what life was like before and after the storm and its destruction.

“I was inspired to write this for so many different reasons. The storm didn’t just affect us physically, but mentally and emotionally, too. And after a while, it just seemed like the whole world forgot about us, but it changed our lives forever,” Hansen said.

The ensemble has been rehearsing since June for the performance. They typically practice anywhere from three to five days a week and rehears from one to four hours per rehearsal day.

The first act is called “Parting Glances.”

“This act is about when each of us said goodbye to either the people we loved, the places we knew, or the lives we’d known and not knowing if we would ever experience any of that again. It’s that last look before you leave, knowing that it may truly be your last,” Hansen said.

In this act, principal dancer Elisabeth Dearmin has a solo called “Solitude.”

“It represents me sitting in front of the television, watching the news, and seeing the water. It’s about agony and the feeling of being alone and isolated,” Elisabeth said.

The second act is called “Motions.” The ensemble said it signifies the motions of the storm.

“It represents the movement of emotions, wind and the rain the storm brought into our lives,” Hansen said.

The third act is called “Unity.”

“This third act is about members of the community coming together for the same cause, because community was all we had,” Hansen said.

The fourth act is called “Shelter.”

“It’s about a mother and child and how mothers will do anything to protect their children in the midst of any storm,” said Rebekah Dearmin.

The finale of the production is called “Realization.”

“I play Elisabeth’s sister in this piece. It’s about her coming home and realizing that her sister is dead. She realizes the tragedy of her life and at first she’s weak. Then she realizes that she has to be strong and go on,” said Talley Martin.

“We plan on touring nationally. And it’s important to me that we continually support the arts. Every year the arts get pushed aside more and more. It will take members of the community stepping up and saying, ‘We’re not going to let this go,’ to keep the arts from always taking the back burner in society,” Hansen said.

Tickets for the performance may be purchased and reserved by contacting Regina Hansen at 601-749-0266 or at Little Angel Boutique on W. Canal St. in Picayune. Tickets will be sold at the door as long as seats are available.

Prices for tickets are $12 for adults and $8 for seniors, students and children. Children two-years-old and under have free admission to the show.