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TG20: "Each one with their own journey" through Lacrimosa

Teasing Gravity 2020 Spotlight: Nicole Caruana's Lacrimosa

Originally commissioned for CCDT's 2019 production of Light Years, Nicole Caruana's Lacrimosa became an instant favourite among student and public audiences alike last spring. A work that challenges the dancers' physical capacities and emotional depth to exciting new limits, Lacrimosa's aesthetic appeal is further bolstered by its delightful wit and charm -- key characteristics of Nicole's fast-rising choreographic voice.

Some of the original cast members shared their unique perspectives from the inside of Lacrimosa, and what this work has gifted them through being part of its creation and performance.


Lacrimosa is hands down one of my favourite pieces I have performed with CCDT. Looking back to the creation process, there was never a dull moment in the studio with Nicole. Her lively and optimistic personality translates directly into her choreography, and I can’t help but smile while dancing her work. I liked that she was always very specific about what she wanted, yet still allowed each dancer to infuse the piece with their own personality. Lacrimosa challenged me to fully embrace the theatrical and over-the-top nature of the choreography while still dancing from a genuine, honest place.

-Sydney Runions

When Nicole started her process I was just beginning to feel more comfortable with auditioning... before then, I used to get nervous a lot and I would often forget the choreography. When Nicole came in she made me feel comfortable to be myself, so that allowed me to express from a place of more comfort, and that comfort became a part of my solo. She allowed us to really see the work she does that is inspired by Gaga [movement language] and that allowed me to just open up and express myself how I wanted to.

-Daniel Santokie

Nicole told me to listen to Gospel music before dancing this piece, and I think she wanted me to feel spiritually connected to myself and to reconnect with the feeling of hope, especially when dancing my solo in the first section. The idea of feeling your emotions deep down in order to understand and then express them was a new concept to me. Understanding the purity of the emotion was challenging but necessary for the piece.

-Kaiya Lee

Lacrimosa takes us on a journey through the physical and emotional ranges of the body. The contrast of strenuous movement that looks effortless challenges us to communicate in more ways than just words. I feel like we are in a fantasy world while performing the dance, almost as if we are in a renaissance painting. The environment we created while making the dance made us all feel so safe and loved, and I think that really translates on the stage as we share that joy with the audience.

-Lola Rose Jenkins

Working with Nicole was very artistically challenging for me, as I think her movement very much contrasts mine. I remember Nicole asking me to dance like a Matador, and I assure you that was the most difficult rehearsal to date... although I find it funny rather than stressful because I know exploring other movements benefits me as a dancer and artist. Here we are now with the finished product, and WOW -- it’s truly one of my favourite pieces. I think all I have to say now is thank you, Nicole.

-Jeffrey Lapira


WATCH: Lacrimosa Trailer Video

A testimony of resilience; we lament and we rise. Lacrimosa exposes the wounds of past aggression and loss to replace them with the new faithful flesh of vitality. Expressions of character and variations of morality are revealed and eventually disposed for a sense of unity in celebration. Our pasts inform our suffering but our futures are governed by the same light of salvation. Each one with their own journey towards grace.

-Nicole Caruana, Choreographer

To learn more about Nicole and her work, visit:

Meet the artists and discover more about Teasing Gravity 2020 here.


Performance Photos by David Hou (2019)

Lacrimosa original cast dancers: Lola Rose Jenkins, Jeffrey Lapira, Kaiya Lee, Makenna Martinez, Sydney Runions, and Daniel Santokie

Costumes by Krista Dowson

Lighting Design by Arun Srinivasan

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