Shame on me... or shame on you?

Carolina Arango

Authors:  Carolina Arango

Faculty Mentor:  Joan Frosch

College:  College of the Arts


Over time artists have grappled with the experiences of the soul, particularly the human struggle to be virtuous. In this research project, I use choreographic tools to examine expressionistic links between the movement of Auguste Rodin’s sculpture Gates of Hell and the narrative of Dante Alighieri’s Dante’s Inferno. These works were intended to persuade men to be righteous instead of committing sin. Rodin’s attention to human anatomy centers the importance of the body’s organic creation of movement in this struggle. Attention to the physique and emotion of the human body in motion has enabled Rodin’s work to transcend “generations and nationalities with the utmost ease” (Jordan & Lampert, 1986, p. 1 & 2) The choreographic research aims to connect the links between emotion, expressions, and narrative of the souls to today. In contrast to sin simply being a conscious individual choice, an individual could be influenced to engage in “unethical behavior” by a group (Sims, 1992, p. 651). Using dancers’ interpretation of ‘moral injustices’ as a guide for motifs, the choreography entitled “ Shame on Me… or Shame on You?” will be a group work embodying the struggle of humanity to be good in real time.

Poster Pitch

Click the video below to view the student's poster pitch.
31 Responses
  1. Avi Patel

    I liked the dichotomy that you brought up how many of these ideas were originally brought up by religion but we can separate the work now so that we can learn about the human condition.

    1. Hello Avi! I thought it was interesting to relay these concepts and ideas set forth by the artists because of the fact their ideas stemmed from religion. While researching a lot of the things set forth in the religion were basic morals that separated right from wrong. I realized that because of this it had less to do with religion and more to do with (as you said) the human condition. The immoral actions displayed by the characters in the book were not descriptive with specific actions they performed, hence leading to the question: Were these individuals in the the only people to blame while making these decisions or were there more factors? While researching more there was clear evidence that individuals who felt pressured by strong group influences were very likely to go along with the immoral acts of the group. In contrast to the foretelling of the book and sculpture I contextualized a possible reasoning. Some individuals that committed sin were not necessarily deserving of that degree of punishment or straying away from sin, that person may not be as “bad” as we see them out to be, it is only our perception without context that influences that decision.

  2. Carolina,

    I found your work to be very compelling. I am familiar with Dante’s work but I was not familiar with Auguste Rodin’s sculpture “Gates of Hell.” Your dance piece transposing the seven deadly sins into bodily movement was beautiful and significant. The group impact of individual choices cannot be underestimated and I think this idea has personal, social, and even political consequences. Thank you for making such an inspiring work!

    I do have one question; regarding the concept of mankind’s destiny regarding sin, do you take a humanistic approach within your work? Or do you take a more fatalistic approach that sin will always persist, just like the timelessness of Dante and Rodin’s pieces?

    1. This is a very interesting question! I believe I take the humanistic approach in the sense that some individuals (not all) complete acts of moral injustices for survival. Survival to stay a part of the group, survival to keep away from the frays of the group, survival from the disarray of not completing the task asked upon at hand, immoral or not. For the fatalistic approach that sin will always persist is the truth in both Dante and Rodin’s pieces, however the sole ownership of sin that they portray in both of their artworks is questionable as the damned are not given any context to their acts and only one judgement (held by God here) is held.

      1. Dear Carolina,

        I can definitely see how this belief was reflected in your work and I appreciate that you take a stance that seems to really encapsulate the human condition, as you stated in the other comments. I appreciate that perspective and I will definitely be reflecting on that!

  3. Jordan Wade

    Really impressed by your work and this project. I think it’s really powerful how you’re able to express and grapple with internal struggles in an outward expression of bodily movement.

  4. Valerie Prytkova

    Wow! This is incredible!! I feel like especially at UF, research in the Arts is frequently overlooked, and I am SO happy to see your project… wonderful presentation!

    Thank you!

  5. William Zelin

    I am not familiar with dancing by any means, but I was fascinated by your project here. Choreographing your own routine must be extremely difficult, so I applaud you for synthesizing the traditional pieces and themes that you touched on into something completely new and unique. Also, great job editing the video! It was a great watch.

  6. Daniela Moreira

    Hi Carolina,
    This was very interesting to watch! I think its very interesting how you were able to express so much thought and emotion through movement. I was wondering, what did you think was the most difficult part in conveying these thoughts through dance?

    1. I think the most difficult part was to get the dancers to be able to relate to the damned individuals described in the works. Since these acts of sin were committed at such a large degree I asked the dancers to merely imagine what that would look like and feel in the body while looking at the people in the sculpture. I also used the Delsarte System of Expressions as a base to modify movement into certain feelings I needed to portray to get a sense of what they were feeling in Hell.

  7. Virginia Samuels

    Hi Carolina! I really enjoyed your presentation and hearing about your thought process. As a religion minor, I especially enjoyed hearing your discussions of the role of religion.

  8. Sashawn Lawrence

    I found this very cool and unique. I am not familiar with this type of work but your presentation was easy to follow and taught me something new!

  9. Sage Schaefer

    I think your title not only reels in your audience but captures the essence of your project very well, especially the dichotomy of it! I also appreciate the connections between various art forms, from sculpture to literature to dance.

    1. Thank you! At first I had a hard time trying to figure out a title because I feel there were so many components into creating the work/paper. I finally stumbled upon this one which i thought mad the most sense with the dichotomy of the paper and dance. The title is reminiscent of an elder or adult figure asserting dominance over your wrong-doing by saying “shame on you”. As soon as this statement is said there is an internal debate within the person being asserted, whether or not their act was really an act to be shameful of.

  10. Gabriela

    Beautiful work! I love Rodin’s work and I could definitely see the inspiration in the movement.

  11. Emily McHugh

    Carolina, your presentation video is beautiful! Your verbal discussion as well as the music and choreography were incredibly moving. I really enjoyed this!

  12. Hannah Fechtel

    Amazing work! I loved how your choreography made a dense moral and philosophical concept accessible. Keep up the good work.

  13. Drew Fletcher

    Very interesting! I loved how you mention being virtuous regardless of religion. How would you say your interpretation of the work highlights the relationship between morality, religion, and reality of our actions?

    1. My interpretation of the work is that it grants punishment to the harsh reality of our actions, regardless the context in which we made them. Moving towards the more generic term of morality, I believe that we can follow our own moral standards, however if our own safety battles between that option, we may not be the one to blame for our choice (as it was the only other option we had per say). I feel that the reality of our actions still cause consequences on other individuals, societies, and the world. Though the consequences are not excused for the context of the situation, I feel that with punishment it should be considered as we are the only valid judgement of ourselves, no one else has lived through our shoes.

  14. Virginia Content


    Amazing work! Have never seen research in this field before and I am glad that your project was the first for me. Really loved the video and it almost made me very emotional, as people constantly struggle to find ways to express how they are feeling/what’s on their mind. Hope to see more of your work in the future!

  15. Carter Glogowski

    Hi Carolina, very interesting work! I think its so cool that you were inspired by Rodin, who as you said, was himself inspired by dancers and human movement. I am wondering how you ultimately decided which movement would express which sins through as they relate to Dante’s Inferno? Nice work!

  16. Corinne Evans

    Thank you for sharing this with us! I can tell you poured a lot of time and energy into this project, and I hope you feel that it has paid off well. I think it’s really neat how you connected one medium of art (“The Gates of Hell” sculpture) to another medium (dance). Your dancers’ patterns of movement are engaging, and I can clearly witness the conflict between separation and closeness represented here.