Words by: Alexandra Contreras
Photos by: Robert Torres
This weekend the Brazilian dance company Grupo Corpo returned to Boston’s Boch Center Shubert Theatre for its second engagement with Celebrity Series of Boston. The program began with Cassi Abranches’ Suite Branca (White Suite), in which white prevailed in both costumes and landscapes to embody a blank page where a new story was being written. After the intermission, the shift in tone was set immediately with the black landscape and wine-red velvet curtains of Rodrigo Pederneiras’ Danca Sinfonica (Symphonic Dance). In celebration of the company’s 40th anniversary, the piece’s backdrop displayed more than a thousand photographs of the people who contributed to the company’s history, while the dancing continued to represent the group’s strength and electricity.
After Sunday’s performance, Peter DiMuro from The Dance Complex moderated a conversation with choreographer Rodrigo Pederneiras, who was joined by executive producer Michelle Deslande and two company dancers. The artists spoke about the company’s culture and choreographic process, shedding light on how they have become a family and how they keep a 40-year-old organization innovative and fresh.
From the company’s founding by six siblings, to now being directed by three of those brothers and one sister, it is no wonder that company members feel like they are part of a family. Pederneiras explains that because they share so much time together—sometimes months on the road—it is important for him to know every dancer individually and for everyone to learn from each other’s strong personalities and unique abilities.
The dancers described Pederneiras’ choreographic process as a partnership. While he may have a particular movement he’d like to see, he’s not afraid to change his mind if a dancer does the move differently and he’s impressed with the outcome. In talking about having a new choreographer for Suite Branca, Pederneiras explained that he invited Abranches because he knew it was “time to renovate.” The dancers describe their experience of working with the two choreographers as so different that they have to “change SIM cards between both.”
Celebrity Series photographer Robert Torres was on hand this weekend to capture moments from Suite Branca and Danca Sinfonica. View a few of our favorites below!