With its seductive movement, scintillating music, vibrant costuming, sets, and lighting, Grupo Corpo reflects the amazing diversity and rich color of Brazil. The company is renowned for its stunning physicality, dynamic ability, and rich visual finesse. This tremendously popular dance company returns to the Celebrity Series with two thrilling new works by Rodrigo Pederneiras, Suite Branca and Danca Sinfonica.
Celebrity Series is pleased to offer an artist post-performance talk on Sunday, January 28, with Grupo Corpo choreographer Rodrigo Pederneiras. This 20-minute talk, moderated by Peter DiMuro of The Dance Complex, will be held in front of the stage immediately following the Sunday afternoon performance. DiMuro shares his perspective on the company ahead of its Boston return.
By Peter DiMuro
Grupo Corpo returns to Boston and Celebrity Series — and with the return comes the opportunity to delve deeper into what makes this electric company sing their own version of the body electric.
When the Brazilian company last visited, I wrote in this space that the whole feel of the company was definitely “of” its culture, but definitely the dance was not a folk dance. Much in the way in our own American view, Appalachian clogging is so totally an American folk dance, we recognize Grupo Corpo’s dancers moving as if infused with the rhythm of Latin dances, with the tactile-ness and the quick shift in focus — intense and then alternately cool — that comes in social dances of Brazil.
But Grupo Corpo is not a folk dance company. They have, for decades now, been known for highly produced stage productions that start with a choreographic vision that fulfills the tenets of contemporary stage choreography, utilizing pristine lines, voluptuous movement, well-crafted dances and performers who possess and exhibit the subtleties of humanness and technical bravura. These qualities, along with the folk nature of the Brazilian culture that seeps into both the dancers and the dances, make the company such a worthwhile trip to the theatre.
Production values of commissioned scores and sets add to each work’s uniqueness. In the first work we will see at the Schubert — Suite Branca, choreographed in 2015 by former company member Cassi Abranches — a monumental white paper glacier floats above and behind the cast. The choreography at times takes on human-scaled shifts, like plates of ice and earth, shifting internally within a body on stage, and between bodies as well in partnering passages. And, while not a narrative dance, there is a sense of story and consequent emotions.
The evening will close with Danca Sinfonica, created for the 40th Anniversary of the company. Striking in blood red costumes, the dance becomes a travelogue of sorts, highlighting bits of dances from over the decades’ worth of repertory. The set consists of a backdrop of over 1,000 photos in collage form, highlighting moments of the company’s history.
In viewing video snippets of the works to be shown in concert, I felt this familiarity with the company’s style and personality – like the second meeting of a vibrant relative who so wowed you at first meeting you hardly knew what hit you! And, if you saw their work in their prior engagement with Celebrity Series, you might experience what I did while watching them: while still wowed by the the muscular dancing and that Brazilian essence, I was actually seeing the dance, and experiencing the dance, more deeply. And, you may be able to appreciate more of its merits — in both folk-ways and in the ways of a concert dance experience.
I can’t wait to see you there at the end of January, and for our post-show talk on January 28th.
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