Wednesday, January 17th, 2018 12:00 PM
CLEVELAND, Ohio - People don't just speak in different languages. They dance in them, too.
Take Grupo Corpo, for example, the company appearing this weekend on the DanceCleveland series at Playhouse Square.
Born and bred in Brazil, and prominently featured in the opening ceremony of the 2016 Rio Olympics, the 43-year-old troupe is famous for conveying the spirit and flavor of its homeland, all without speaking a word.
"It's a very special way more › of moving, even of walking, when you start to pay attention," said Rodrigo Pederneiras, Grupo Corpo's longtime chief choreographer and co-director, by phone from the company's offices in Belo Horizonte, Brazil.
"There's a special kind of sensuality about it. The movement starts with the hips and the rest of the body goes along with it. It's become our specialty."
Pederneiras didn't just make that up, of course. He and his dancers have become masters of repurposing what they see in the world around them, and combining it with classical ballet.
Unlike the U.S., Brazil is a dancing culture. There, dance is part of everyday life, an activity both formal and casual, a pastime for the young and old alike. No wonder a place like that has a style of dance that looks and feels unique.
"It's a kind of dancing that we use in street parties, even in religious parties," Pederneiras said. "People here go out to the street and dance a lot."
As a company, Grupo Corpo itself is unique, too. Not necessarily for its incorporation of Brazilian dancing but for its longevity and cohesiveness.
It's the rare group, after all, that not only lasts 43 years but also preserves over decades the sense of intimacy and closeness engendered by its founders.
"For me, it's a really special company," Pederneiras said. "We are a really very tight group of people. For me, that's one of the most important things we have. To us, that dynamic is more important than the movement itself."
As it happens, that history and unity are the subjects of "Danca Sinfonica," one of two works on Grupo Corpo's Cleveland program, presented in part by Cuyahoga Community College. (The other is "Suite Branca," a white-on-white dance by former Grupo Corpo member Cassi Abranches exploring the concepts of gravity and starting afresh.)
Created by Pederneiras three years ago for the company's 40th anniversary, "Danca Sinfonica" highlights the troupe's repertoire and centers around photos of the 1,000-plus dancers, staff members, and technicians who've been part of the ensemble over the years.
(Preview continued by clicking on the link)
Zachary Lewis, The Plain Dealer
RELATED COMPANY: Grupo Corpo
Monday, January 15th, 2018 12:00 PM
To celebrate the 40th anniversary of Brazilian dance sensation Grupo Corpo, choreographer and co-founder Rodrigo Pederneiras decided to capture the company's unique style, which layers ballet, modern dance and Afro-Brazilian movement, into one performance.
That anniversary show featuring heralded pieces "Suíte Branca" and "Dança Sinfônica" makes its stateside debut with a winter tour that includes Cleveland performances Jan. 20 and 21 at the Playhouse Square's Ohio Theatre.
"For 'Suíte Branca,' we invited more › young choreographer Cassi Abranches to create a new piece for our 40th anniversary because we believe we need to attract young people," said Pederneiras, calling from Brazil.
"Cassi used to be a dancer for us before creating her own choreography. She has a little bit of our style, but she started to create her own. That's very important for us. She created the idea Grupo Corpo would like to start over with a new history."
The performance finds Abranches playing with gravity. The 19 dancers will appear as though they're walking in the air, as well as being violently pulled to the ground.
As for "Dança Sinfônica," Pederneiras said it's a piece he created for the 40th anniversary of the company he started with his brother Paulo, the artistic director.
"I thought I could look back and create a piece that was a tribute to people that worked with us, helped us bring the company to today," Pederneiras said. "The idea is to talk about situations with many people, look back and but also create history. There are certainly moments that are very emotional and special. It's a kind of very sentimental work for me."
The New York Times called the company's performance "fizzy, high-voltage dance," while others refer to the dancers' sexiness. Regarding the latter, Pederneiras said it's not sexy as much as capturing the Brazilian dance style.
"We tried to create a Brazilian way to dance," Pederneiras said. "We researched popular Brazilian dances and street dancers. We started to mix it with the way Brazilian people move, which I think is very special because it's very sensual."
Over the decades, Grupo Corpo's dance, music and visual arts has morphed and evolved into different styles while maintaining its modern Brazilian influences such as samba, capoeira, xaxado, Afro-Brazilian, ballet, ballroom, contemporary and athletic dance.
Averaging 80 performances annually, the company has become a global sensation, having appeared in Iceland, South Korea, Lebanon, Canada, Italy, Singapore, Israel, France, Japan and Mexico. In 2016, Grupo Corpo performed at the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.
Pederneiras said Grupo Corpo is known for visceral appearances that move audiences. He's confident this 40th anniversary program will continue that trend.
"People get very emotional and touched by this piece," Pederneiras said.
Presenters: DANCECleveland and Cuyahoga Community College.
When: 7:30 p.m. Jan. 20 and 3 p.m. Jan. 21.
Where: Playhouse Square's Ohio Theatre, 1511 Euclid Ave., Cleveland.
Tickets: $25 to $60.
Monday, January 1st, 2018 12:00 PM
DANCECleveland and Tri-C Present Brazilian Sensation Grupo Corpo at the Ohio Theatre January 20-21 "High-Voltage" Company Performs Works Created to Celebrate Their 40th Anniversary
"This astonishingly versatile Brazilian troupe (is) trained to pirouette as expertly as they
can samba or shimmy, and the steps seem to pour out of their sleek, supple limbs with
unstoppable force." – The Guardian
DANCECleveland and Tri-C Present Brazilian Sensation
Grupo Corpo at the Ohio Theatre January 20-21
"High-Voltage" Company Performs Works Created to Celebrate Their 40th Anniversary
CLEVELAND (November __, 2017) – DANCECleveland and Cuyahoga Community College present the unstoppable force more › of Brazilian sensation Grupo Corpo at the Ohio Theatre in Playhouse Square on Saturday, January 20 at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday, January 21, 2018 at 3:00 p.m. Renowned for their "fizzy, high-voltage dance" (The New York Times), the company performs the heralded pieces Suíte Branca (2015) and Dança Sinfônica (2015), which were created to celebrate Grupo Corpo's 40th anniversary.
Tickets, starting at $25, can be purchased at www.playhousesquare.org or call 216-241-6000 or visit the Playhouse Square ticket office at 1501 Euclid Avenue in Cleveland.
"We're thrilled to bring Grupo Corpo to Northeast Ohio," said DANCECleveland Executive Director Pam Young. "Their style and energy have been delighting audiences worldwide since 1975."
"One of the fittest, sexiest dance groups on the planet." – The Stage (London)
For over 40 years Grupo Corpo ("Body Group") has been a family affair. Paulo Pederneiras, the artistic director, designs the lighting and sets; Rodrigo Pederneiras, his brother, is in charge of the choreography, which layers ballet, modern dance and Afro-Brazilian movement into a propulsive sweep. Together their works feature highly skilled performers in a dazzling concoction of dance, music and visual arts and an innovatively seamless blend of Brazilian dance traditions with western modern styles.
The company has gone through a number of artistic and stylistic permutations over the years. But one consistency in their work is the ability to incorporate traditional and modern Brazilian influences – samba, capoeira, xaxado, Afro-Brazilian, as well as ballet and ballroom dance – into contemporary, athletic dance.
Since its inception in 1975 Grupo Corpo has become a global sensation, performing 80 shows a year around the world including Iceland, South Korea, the United States, Lebanon, Canada, Italy, Singapore, the Netherlands, Israel, France, Japan and Mexico, among others. In 2016 they performed at the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro to national and international acclaim.
"How these Brazilian dancers move! They slink and they shimmy, spin and snap-kick, go into slow languorous prowls and undulations or . . . they ratchet up the energy in a flurry of flicking limbs
and slick, precise footwork." – The Herald (Edinburgh)
Hailed as "a contemporary dance of epic proportions" (CriticalDance), Suíte Branca features choreography by former Grupo Corpo dancer Cassi Abranches and an instrumental score by Samuel Rosa – the vocalist, guitarist, composer and leader of Skank, one of Brazil's best-known pop rock bands.
Dressed in white from start to finish, moving across milky linoleum against a backdrop that gradually reveals the peaks and valleys of a giant glacier, the dancers use undulating arms and hips, pendular movements, suspensions, and floor work to seemingly defy gravity.
Abranches, a Grupo Corpo dancer from 2001 to 2013, is only the second person to choreograph for the company since Rodrigo Pederneiras took residence in 1981. She has collaborated with the São Paulo Dance Company, the Brazilian Youth Bolshoi Company, the SESC Dance Company and the Palace of Arts Youth Ballet, among others.
Dança Sinfônica, a celebration of Grupo Corpo's four decade history, was created to elicit and embrace memories. The theme, proposed by artistic director and scenographer Paulo Pederneiras, has Rodrigo Pederneiras reviving his vocabulary of movements, written over 34 years as the company's choreographer.
Photographs from the company's history, which create a mosaic reflecting the daily lives of the artistic and technical team members, adorn a panel covering the entire backdrop of the stage.
The score for Dança Sinfônica, by Marco Antônio Guimarães, a five-time collaborator with the company, presents a set of themes interpreted by the Philharmonic Orchestra of Minas Gerais evoking sections of previous pieces. The dance has a cascading lyricism that has marked the history of Grupo Corpo and results in a subtle and balanced collection of how memories shape our view of the present.
For more information about Grupo Corpo, visit http://www.grupocorpo.com.br/en.
For more information about DANCECleveland, visit http://www.dancecleveland.org/
For more information about Tri-C Presents, visit http://www.tri-c.edu/arts-and-entertainment/tri-c-presents/index.html
ELECTRONIC PHOTOS AVAILABLE FROM PAM BARR AT 216-932-5060 OR EMAIL: firstname.lastname@example.org.
About DANCECleveland: DANCECleveland, a Cleveland, Ohio based non-profit, is one of a handful of presenters in the nation that is dedicated solely to the presentation of modern and contemporary dance. The centerpiece of the organization's programming is its annual performance series. The performances are surrounded by an array of educational outreach events including artist-run master classes, residency programs, student matinees, pre-performance lectures and post-performance Q&A sessions, designed both to break artistic boundaries and provide community access to the dance aesthetic and dance luminaries that DANCECleveland brings to Northeast Ohio.
DANCECleveland's 2017-2018 Season is generously supported by:
DANCECleveland is also generously funded by Cuyahoga County residents through Cuyahoga Arts and Culture.
The Ohio Arts Council helped fund DANCECleveland with state tax dollars to encourage economic growth, educational excellence and cultural enrichment for all Ohioans.
The George Gund Foundation and The George W. Codrington Foundation
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Wednesday, November 29th, 2017 12:00 PM
DANCECleveland is looking to expand its Teaching Artist Roster for its highly successful
Read To Learn… Dance To Move program. Read To Learn... Dance To Move is a curriculum based PreK/Kindergarten program that promotes language, literacy, and movement by engaging students through tactile learning, creative thinking, and imagination. During the program, teaching artists introduce six forms of dance (Ballet, Tap, Jazz, African, Modern, and Hip Hop) to the more › students and incorporate a children's book about each style of dance.
• Classes run January 23-March 15, 2018 (make-up week March 19-23) and take place at various schools within the Cleveland Metropolitan School District.
• Each class is 45-minutes in length. Each classroom meets once a week for 8 weeks.
• A classroom day will include 2-3 classes per day. Sometimes traveling to different schools between each class (within close proximity in the CMSD school district.)
• There are two teaching artists per classroom.
• Classes either meet on Tues, Wed, or Thur between the hours of 9:30am-1:40pm. Each schedule varies. You must be available for one of the teaching shifts for all 8 weeks.
• SHIFT A:Tuesdays Jan 23-March 13/ 10-11:15 am (2 classes)
• SHIFT B: Wednesdays Jan 24-March 14/ 9:30-11:45 am (2 classes)
• SHIFT C:Wednesdays Jan 24-March 14/ 9:30 am – 1:30 pm (3 classes)
• SHIFT D: Wednesdays Jan 24-March 14/ 10:40 am – 1 pm (3 classes)
• SHIFT E: Wednesdays Jan 24- March 14/ 11 am – 1:40 pm (3 classes)
• SHIFT F: Thursdays Jan 25- March 15/ 9:45 am – 1:15 pm (3 classes)
• Teaching artists must be available for one two hour training session prior to the start of the program, to be held at DANCECleveland's office in Shaker Square. (PAID)
• Teaching artists must complete a FBI/BCI background check. (Paid for by DANCECleveland.)
• Teaching artists must provide their own transportation and be early to all scheduled class times.
• Teaching artists are responsible for assessing students to the best of their ability through observation and anecdotal notes.
• Teaching artists must be responsible for all materials given to them by DC and return all materials following the completion of the program.
• Teaching artists must have experience teaching youth of all demographics and enjoy what they do!
Teaching artists will be compensated for training hours, BCI/FBI background checks, and paid $40/class taught. Checks will be mailed every two weeks after turning in an invoice for classes served.
PLEASE SEND A RESUME WITH TEACHING/PROFESSIONAL EXPERIENCE ALONG WITH A COVER LETTER TO KATIE GNAGY CROSBY AT DANCECLEVELAND. PLEASE INCLUDE IN YOUR COVER LETTER HOW YOU HEARD ABOUT THE JOB POSTING AND WHICH SHIFTS YOU WOULD BE ABLE TO TEACH (A-F).
MATERIALS CAN BE SENT BY
FAX OR E-MAIL:
216.991.9001 or Katie@dancecleveland.org
Attention: Call For Teaching Artists
Katie Gnagy Crosby
13110 Shaker Square, Suite 106
Cleveland, Ohio 44120
FOR MORE INFORMATION
Contact Katie Gnagy Crosby at 216-991-9000 or Katie@dancecleveland.org
Monday, November 20th, 2017 12:00 PM
Was the Ohio Theatre sold out? Yes. Did the men look like burly CrossFit athletes? Yes. Were we dazzled by the outpouring of energy and physicality from the first few moments of the first dance? Yes. Otherwise it would not have been the Paul Taylor American Modern Dance Company. Yes, we love Paul Taylor - but now we dip a toe into the deep question of, why do we love more ›
The concert began with Arden Court (1981), a dance for six men and three women set to excerpts from symphonies by an English Baroque composer William Boyce. The first musical selection plays while the curtain is down but for the second musical selection, a kind of fanfare in ¾ time, the curtain comes up and we see an explosive, proscenium-filling, diagonal-crossing display of big jumps by the six men.
These are not the apparently effortless jumps of male ballet dancers with impeccably pointed feet, slender elongated limbs in immaculate lines and nearly inaudible landings. For the Taylor dancers, especially the men, musicality and physicality run neck and neck for first importance. Power trumps line. Thudding landings are practically de rigueur.
As the fanfare ends, a woman runs out and is lifted onto a man's shoulder. (She and the other two women who appear in Arden Court are notably smaller than the men. That and the men's costumes by Gene Moore - bare chests and light-colored tights - emphasize the men's size.) The other five men exit and the couple stays on stage for an unusual pas de deux in which she dances around, over and - humorously - under him. He appears not to notice her until the final moment of their dance when she jumps into his arms and they look at each other face to face.
In the following pas de deux the man again appears oblivious to the woman's presence. But in the next pas de deux, she is oblivious to him as he dances around, over and under her until at the very end he touches her shoulders from behind and she turns to face him with a start.
In those first three duets, Arden Court provides strong examples of what critic Alastair Macaulay calls "drastic contrasts;" Taylor creates duets in drastic contrast to our expectation that dancers in a duet will be attentive to each other. And consider the next duet, which ends with an ultra-fast coda in which the two men repeat what looks like their entire duet - which critic Anna Kisselgoff aptly described as "two gentlemen outdoing each other in the arts of deportment" - in fast forward. We weren't expecting that either.
Or perhaps "upending of expectations" would be a better description of what happens later in Arden Court. The six men are again onstage, standing in big X poses rather than jumping when suddenly one of the men is in a big X-shaped handstand. Upending! Then the men exit with slow-motion, assisted cartwheels. More upending! This is one of those many moments in Taylor choreography that you don't have to be a dance geek to appreciate. Those cartwheels were a hit in the Ohio Theatre but they also would have brought the house down for stunt night at sleepaway camp.
Arden Court contains other, more familiar Taylor devices. For instance, for several of its dances two or more of the other dancers are onstage just watching, a framing device we enjoy. The dancers watch each other. We watch the dancers. People like to watch other people. There is a lot about this dance that is just plain likeable.
Other dance companies have performed Arden Court, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, Joffrey Ballet and Taylor 2 . Arden Court is a difficult dance. Every opportunity for dance virtuosity threatens to expose a dancer's shortcomings. Watch the video and read the reviews to better appreciate some of the challenges the Taylor dancers overcame at the Ohio Theatre.
Formerly known as Paul Taylor Dance Company, Paul Taylor American Modern Dance Company recently changed its name and its mission. No longer performing only the choreography of Paul Taylor, the company now performs the work of other choreographers as well as presenting other dance companies as guest artists. The next dance on the concert, Continuum(2017), by Lila York, a Paul Taylor alumna, is the company's first ever commissioned piece.
Does York have a strong track record as a choreographer? Yes. Was York prepared when she came to set Continuum on the Taylor dancers? Yes, according to the dancers in the post-concert Q&A, York had the entire dance choreographed in advance. Is Paul Taylor a hard act to follow? Yes. Was York intimidated? Yes, according to Bettie De Jong, longtime rehearsal director, "I think she was intimidated but she got what she wanted."
In Continuum, set to Recomposed: The Four Seasons by Max Richter, York has deployed an ensemble of five women and five men in light-colored costumes by Santo Loquasto against one small woman in orange who, over the course of the dance, leads them to the light. Continuum is a very beautiful dance, clearly conceived. If it suffers by comparison, sandwiched between two Taylor masterworks, remember that even some of Taylor's own work meets a similar fate. Paul Taylor is a hard act to follow, sometimes even for Taylor himself.
Piazzola Caldera (1997), set to the tango music of Astor Piazzolla and Jerzy Peterburshsky with set and costumes by Santo Loquasto, was shown as a work in progress in the documentary film, Paul Taylor: Dancemaker. But we believe that this was our first time to see it live. When the curtain went up on the dancers - six women and six men arrayed against each other with hanging light fixtures and a red velvet backdrop - the audience emitted a soft "Ahh!" At first the two groups stayed largely separate, but then formed couples.
As the first musical selection ended, all the couples except one exited. We expected a duet but immediately five men and one woman entered, and the couple left. She approaches each of the men but they all turn away from her until she is left alone onstage, dancing solo to spare music in ¾ time, another iteration of Taylor's lonely girl/lonely guy motif.
Later in Piazzolla Caldera we see two of the men in a drunk dance, staggering against each other as if unable to stand unsupported. There's a blackout - pun intended - and when the lights come back up, the hanging light fixtures are slowly spinning around our two drunks. Again, you don't need to know much about dance to appreciate that moment, though one suspects good drunk dancing isn't really all that easy to pull off.
Piazzolla Caldera ended with an ensemble dance and the audience burst into sustained applause, a standing ovation.
So yes we love Paul Taylor but if you've read this far you have material to begin to explain why. He doesn't always give us what we expect. He knows and loves dance but his work often touches on the human and the universal. He has a deft sense of humor yet doesn't overdo it. He attracts and keeps amazing dancers who grow as he challenges them.
Coming next from DanceCleveland, Grupo Corpo from Brazil Sat 1/20/18@ 7:30pm and Sun 1/21/18 @3pm. Go to PlayhouseSquare.org or phone 216-241-6000 for tickets.
Victor Lucas, CoolCleveland
RELATED COMPANY: Paul Taylor Dance Company