When Larissa Carroll makes trips to the grocery store with her mother, she absentmindedly dances through the aisles, marking choreography to the music inside her head.
“My mom will say, ‘Stop dancing around,’” Carroll says. “I don’t even realize I’m doing it.”
Taking a breather from rehearsing for the Gulf Coast Ballet’s upcoming show, “A Divine Divertissement,” Carroll is seated in the studio’s lobby. Her flesh-colored tights are pulled over a halter-top leotard the color of cabernet. Her posture is impeccable.
Carroll comes to the studio six days per week and spends nearly 35 hours dancing. Because she had enough credits and hours to dual-enroll at Sarasota High School and the State College of Florida, she was able to choose her own schedule — two classes a day, Monday through Thursday.
“Dance is how I express myself,” Carroll says. “It’s who I am. I’ve done it almost all of my life, and I couldn’t picture myself without it.”
A member of the honor society and a recent SHS grad, Carroll was accepted to and awarded scholarships to the University of Utah and Jacksonville University’s dance programs. She has attended the Boston Ballet for the past three summers, and during her junior year of high school, was offered a position with the Princeton Ballet. Because she wasn’t a senior, she could not accept.
“I’ve decided to stay local and go to USF next year,” Carroll says. “I’m double-majoring in dance and elementary education and would love to dance professionally, then join a studio or start a studio and give what I love back to others.”
The memories and experience Carroll has garnered from dancing are rooted in her mind. She can remember the buzz and excitement at age 14, when she purchased her first pair of pointe shoes, along with the day she received her first blister. The following year, Carroll knew her heart was invested in the art form and that she wanted to spend the rest of her life immersing herself in it.
“I’ve had broken toenails numerous times,” Carroll says. “Dance is probably one of the most harmful things on your body. I mean, were you really meant to go stand on your toes? But if you love it, and you’re so dedicated, and you have people like Denise (Lose, director of the Gulf Coast Ballet) to help you through, then it makes sense.”
IF YOU GO
What: Gulf Coast Ballet’s “A Divine Divertissement”
When: 4:30 p.m. Sunday, June 19, at Sarasota High School
Cost: $20 in advance; $25 day of show
Information: Visit www.gulfcoastballetsarasota.com or call 366-4606
The Gulf Coast Ballet will perform five pieces in its upcoming performance, “A Divine Divertissement.”
“It’s a Shakespearean story like ‘Romeo and Juliet,’ which we did last year.”
“It’s standard choreography and a classical piece. I do a variation by myself and a pas de deux with Danny, and I come out and do a coda.”
“This is to Phillip Glass’ music. Denise (Lose) said there’s movement that reflects things that have happened in her life and are incorporated in the piece. It’s very meaningful to her.”
“It is a warrior piece that I love. This is a piece that’s appealing to everyone. There are some classical ballets that your average Joe wouldn’t want to sit through, but in ‘Sylvia,’ it will be fun for all of the audience.”
“Again, this is Denise’s choreography. I am dancing with Jahrel Thompson of Fuzion Dance Artists.”