Monday, January 22nd, 2018 12:00 PM
From the moment patrons entered the lobby of the Ohio Theatre, they knew they were in for a "different" evening of dance. The Tri-C Jazz group was loudly playing as an invitation to GRUPO CORPO, the world respected Brazilian Body Group," which has created its own theatrical language and choreography.
The dance company is noted for bridging nature and culture, highlighting "all facets of Brazil, past and future, erudite more › and popular, foreign influence and local color and the urban and the suburban into art. Brazilian art."
Founded in 1975 by Paulo Pederneiras, he became the driving force behind the company's success. A glance at the program shows the strong Pederneiras influence. Paulo is Artistic Director, Rodrigo is the choreographer, Pedro is the technical director and Gabriel is the technical coordinator.
The Dance Cleveland/Cuyahoga Community College co-sponsored performance consisted of two pieces, the 32-minute "suíte branca" and the 42-minute "dançe sinfônica."
Each program segment was made up of mini-units highlighting the company's erudite repertoire and unique dance vocabulary, combining classical technique with a contemporary interpretation of Brazilian dance forms.
The over-arching concept of the company is clearly seen as each dancer's physical shape and presence is unique. In contrast to many dance companies, no body- type dominates, no race stands out, diversity reigns. Each individual form is an instrument to be played in its own way.
The synchronization of movements, body bends, high kicks, same and opposite gender partnering, waves, gymnastics, kips, rolling across the stage, enmeshing, stepping over other dancers, sensual hip movements, unusual lifts, and flailing hands are all incorporated into the moves which parallel the musical sounds. Humor and high drama are present.
"suíte branca" found the company found the company dressed in all white, on a white floor and cyclorama. "dançe sinfônica" was highlighted by the women in scarlet while the men were in black. They danced before a wall of over a thousand informal photographic snapshots made into a backdrop panel, establishing the over-arching mood for the piece.
The effect of the choreography, dancing, setting and music was emotionally moving. This is an exciting company with a clear mission to expand the world of Brazilian dancing to be more than the expected Samba, and to combine traditional story-telling and Brazilian history with contemporary moves.
Capsule judgment: "Viva," (hurray) "admirável," (marvelous) and a "ovaçäo de pé" (standing ovation) to Grupo Corpo! Dance Cleveland's Pam Young chased after the company for ten years until she got them to come to Cleveland. It was worth the effort.
Next up for Dance Cleveland and Tri-C is CHE MALAMBO, 14 powerful Argentine Gauchos stomping, drumming and dancing on March 17, 2018, 7:30 PM, Ohio Theatre.
RELATED COMPANY: Grupo Corpo
Friday, January 19th, 2018 12:00 PM
Did your parents support your career choice? In a highly unscientific survey, we've asked dancers and choreographers how much their parents supported them. Many of the men described parental indifference or outright hostility to a career in dance.
A very few experienced enthusiastic support from their parents, but none more so than the parents of Rodrigo Pederneiras, choreographer of Grupo Corpo, a Brazilian modern dance company performing this weekend at the more › Ohio Theatre in PlayhouseSquare.
According to a Chicago Tribune article, the Pederneiras siblings convinced their parents to move out of their house so that the kids could start a modern dance company. Fake news? We reached Pederneiras in Belo Horizonte, Brazil and asked him. He laughed.
Rodrigo Pederneiras: It's true! We are four brothers and two sisters, and we started to study dance. But there was no professional dance company in Belo Horizonte so we decided to start our own. We had no money and no name but we convinced our parents to move out of their only house and rent an apartment so we could start Grupo Corpo in the house where I was born. So, in our first work, Maria Maria, we were 12 dancers including three Pederneiras brothers and two Pederneiras sisters. The fourth brother, Paulo, was the artistic director, the mind, the captain of the troupe.
CC: We understand that you weren't the choreographer at first, that Maria Maria was choreographed by someone else.
RP: Correct. Maria Maria was choreographed by an Argentine choreographer, Oscar Araiz, who was my teacher. I used to dance in his company in Buenos Aires. The piece he created for us with Milton Nascimento and Fernando Brandt became a huge success. We visited 14 different countries over six years. We traveled a lot with Maria Maria. Then in 1980 Araiz created O Ultimo Trem (The Last Train) for Grupo Corpo and after this I started choreographing for Grupo Corpo and I'm still here. (Laughs.)
CC: So you've been the principal choreographer for Grupo Corpo for all these years.
RP: Yes, I created 26 pieces for Grupo Corpo. We also have the two pieces by Araiz. In 1988 we invited Susanne Linke, a German choreographer. And three years ago we invited a new choreographer.
CC: Are you referring to the former company member, Cassi Abranches, choreographer of Suíte Branca, which opens Grupo Corpo's Cleveland concert?
RP: Yes, in Suíte Branca, White Suite, we wanted a white paper. We want to write a new history. We want to renovate our company. Renovate? There is this word? Cassi worked with us as a dancer for 12 years, and when she started creating choreography, we began following her and we love her work and now we want her beside me. The idea was to start over because (laughs) I'm getting old. We think we need to renovate. Something new.
CC: You're not the only ones who like her work. CriticalDance.com, an online publication by and for dance professionals, described Suíte Branca as "a contemporary dance of epic proportions." They went on and on about how much they liked the piece. Let's try to give our readers an idea what to expect in Suíte Branca. Please talk about the instrumental score by Samuel Rosa.
RP: Yes, Samuel Rosa is a composer from Belo Horizonte. We have been looking for an opportunity to work with him for many years. With his group Skank he plays a kind of rock and roll and we thought it would be good music for Cassi to work with. For the other dance on the program, Dança Sinfônica, we invited a composer we're working with for the fifth time, Marco Antônio Guimarães. For me, he's one of the best composers in Brazil. He created a piece for orchestra and had it recorded by Philharmonic Orchestra of Minas Gerais, a very, very good orchestra which is also based here in Belo Horizonte.
Marco Antônio is a kind of genius. In addition to his work with orchestras, he was leader of a small group called Uakte. Unfortunately, Uakte doesn't exist anymore. I don't know what the problem was between them. But Uakte played instruments designed and built by Marco Antônio. Not traditional instruments. Instruments unique to Uakte. And he used these instruments in the links between the 12 orchestral passages of Dança Sinfônica.
CC: Yes, I've read about the instruments of Uakte. Some of them are made of PVC pipe. Some use water rather than air to produce sound.
RP: All designed by Marco Antônio. The idea of both the music and the choreography for Dança Sinfônica is to look back and create a kind of tribute to the people who have worked with us, to technicians, artists, friends and everybody who helped us to become a 43-year-old dance company, which is not normal in Brazil. We have a set, a big backdrop, with 1,080 photographs. It was a lot of work to find photographs of everyone.
CC: We notice that you and all your collaborators in this concert are from Belo Horizonte.
RP: Yes, we wanted it that way because both these pieces were created for our 40th anniversary and we wanted to do it with people that we know and trust, both artistically and personally.
CC: Please describe Belo Horizonte for our readers.
RP: When we started in 1975, Belo Horizonte was a small city, very quiet, and it was good for us because it was easier to focus on our work. Now, Belo Horizonte is no longer a small city. It has two and a half million people. It is Brazil's third most populous metropolitan area. Many people from Belo Horizonte used to go to Rio and São Paulo to work. It used to be easier. But today Belo Horizonte has many, many people creating in dance, in music, in theater. Now I feel that it's as if the soup is very, very hot. Boiling. Now I feel that Belo Horizonte is a city boiling.
CC: Cleveland dance audiences haven't seen much of your work lately. In 2015 Ballet Jazz de Montreal performed a piece you choreographed for them, ROUGE. Has Grupo Corpo performed in Cleveland before?
RP: Yes, maybe 10 years ago.
CC: So let's give our Cleveland dance audiences an introduction to Grupo Corpo. What kind of dancing do they do?
RP: I love to think that we bring a kind of dance that could only come from Brazil. At the same time, we are a very good contemporary company. Sometimes we create dances with more Brazilian colors and sometimes not. And I love to think that we do the very best we can in our performances, that the choreography, lights, costumes, everything, must be perfect.
Presented by DanceCleveland, Grupo Corpo performs at the Ohio Theatre Sat 1/20 and Sun 1/21. Tickets are $25-$60. Go to playhousesquare/grupo-corpo or call 216-241-6000.
There will also be a free contemporary dance master class for advanced dancers led by Grupo Corpo Fri 1/19 @ 4-5:30pm at the Cleveland State University Theatre and Dance Department's Middough Building . Register here.
Cool Cleveland, Victor & Elsa Lucas
RELATED COMPANY: Grupo Corpo
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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