“The talent of choreographer Rodrigo Pederneiras consists […] in stoking the fire of sensuality in an atmosphere of elegance. The cliché of the hot Latin body is attenuated, though not eliminated. The swaying hips and undulating torsos are links in a gestural vocabulary of perpetual movement.” (Le Monde)
Danse Danse once again invites the public on a voyage of discovery with the Brazilian troupe Grupo Corpo. Acclaimed at Danse Danse in 2002 and 2006, Grupo Corpo is now offering Parabelo and Breu, two works choreographed by Rodrigo Pederneiras for the company’s 20 superlative dancers. The world-renowned troupe here pays tribute to the land of Brazil, its rhythms and unique music. It is impossible to resist the contagious energy, the hybrid forms and sensuality, the malleable bodies and breathtaking movements of the dancers. “It is a joy to see them dance, and audiences have quite rightly hailed each of their appearances.” (Le Figaro)
“As was the case with 21, Parabelo is very much a product of Brazil, and the swaying movements of the bodies are in perfect harmony with the music in a dazzling display of group dynamics. Never has contemporary dance been so connected to a national identity as in these joyous works by Grupo Corpo.”(La Tribune de Genève)
Formed in 1997, Parabelo is “the most Brazilian and most regional” of his works, the choreographer explains. Its score was composed by two icons of Brazilian music: Tom Zé and José Miguel Wisnik. Integrating the rhythms and music of the hinterland, the sacred chants and songs of the fields, the composers have created a multi-textured soundscape in which elements of Brazilian folklore, percussion and other unexpected sounds are combined with more conventional instruments. The music provides a perfect framework for the dancers’ swaying hips and hammering heels.
The sets designed by Fernando Velloso and Paulo Pederneiras reproduce the votive images of rural churches on enormous panels.
According to the program notes, “Parabelo is a splendid reflection of the expressive powers of dance, of our dance, that which belongs to us and no one else. […] It is a hybrid form, it is Brazilian, it is the sun that beats down on the leather hats and arid soils. It has the odour of sweat and hard labour, the sweet smell of perspiration. It sounds like a casual forró, a work song, a lament. It has depth and brilliancy: it is parabelo.”
Set to the music of the popular Brazilian singer-songwriter Lenine, Breu is a fabulous symphony in black and white, a poem of hand-to-hand combat that reflects the artistic evolution of choreographer Rodrigo Pederneiras.
“Masterfully crafted, riveting to watch, and executed with conviction and abandon by its dancers, Breu is easily one of Pederneiras's very best and one of this dance season's best thus far.” (exploredance.com)
The reflection of a violent era, Breu (darkness) represents a break with the choreographer’s previous works. Here Pederneiras moves away from the sensuality, gaiety and lyricism that have characterized his works since 1992. Exploring the obsession with success at any cost that marks an overly individualistic society, Breu presents shaken and assaulted bodies, often doomed to abandonment on the street. The vocabulary is harder, more angular, and the movements are more vigorous.
“Breu is a more powerful work, and Freusa Zechmeister's black-and-white unitards in various geometrical patterns are a knockout, as is the fierce, drastic score by Lenine, the winner of two Latin Grammy Awards.” (The Village Voice)
Like a sonic Babel, the original music of Oswaldo Lenine Macedo Pimentel, known as Lenine, embraces a wide variety of tones, samples, sound effects, musical references and styles. Comprising eight movements, this invigorating composition ranges from hard rock to traditional Brazilian music. The hybrid approach is a hallmark of the Lenine style. Mondomix magazine describes him as “totally frantic and totally in touch with the latest trends. Lenine creates innovative music full of bizarre touches to go along with his furiously Brazilian sounds. […] He is famous in his native country through songs written for Gilberto Gil, Dionne Warwick, Daude, Sergio Mendes and Fernanda Abreu, as well as his exhilarating, sold-out concerts in Rio and São Paulo. […] Lenine is a multifaceted talent, able to galvanize any audience, be it alone on guitar, with an acoustic band or with a thunderous electric band.”
“Avoiding all postcard clichés of Brazil, the brilliant alchemy of choreographer Rodrigo Pederneiras unites in a single movement the wild rhythms of samba, forró and African dances, together with hip hop and classical dance.” (La Tribune de Lyon)
“The dance originates from the body itself,” says Rodrigo Pederneiras, who has created a distinctive style that could only have blossomed in Brazil where, in the choreographer’s words, “the body learns to dance on the street.” A master “crossbreeder,” Pederneiras blends classical dance, modern dance, xaxado, samba, forró, lounge, capoeira and African dance to create a complex choreographic vocabulary—exuberant, undulating, energetic. In his highly personal compositions, the structural dynamics and balance are as significant as the movement itself, if not more so. Almost invariably joyous, sexy and humorous, the dance of Rodrigo Pederneiras can also reflect the violence and ambiguity of the human condition.
Forever guided by the music, the choreographer collaborates with innovative musicians who embrace the kaleidoscopic nature of Brazilian culture, and who share a passion for expressing it in a contemporary manner. Prominent among them are Caetano Veloso, João Bosco, José Miguel Wisnick and Arnaldo Antunes.
The resident choreographer of Grupo Corpo since 1978, Rodrigo Pederneiras has created such works for the troupe as Mamma Africa, Missa do Orfanato, Sete ou Oito Peças para um ballet, as well as 21 and O Corpo, which were presented at Danse Danse in 2002. Dazzled by these unique hybrid forms, Danse Danse audiences have clamoured for more. In the spring of 2006, Grupo Corpo thus returned with the equally successful Lecuona and Onqotô.
In addition to his work with Grupo Corpo, Rodrigo Pederneiras has created works for Brazil’s three largest ballet companies: City of São Paulo Ballets Corps, Municipal Theatre Ballet Corps (Rio de Janeiro) and Guaíra Theatre Ballet Corps (Curitiba). He was also a choreographer-in-residence at Les Ballets Jazz de Montréal [bjm_danse], for which he created MAPA in 2005.
Founded by brothers Paulo and Rodrigo Pederneiras in 1975, Grupo Corpo was a response to the identity crisis Brazil was undergoing at the time. Then—as now—ballet predominated in the country’s dance academies. Rodrigo Pederneiras, who himself trained in ballet under a lead dancer of Les Ballets Russes, wanted to develop a typically Brazilian dance which, beyond the wounds and contributions of colonialism, reflected the country’s distinct personality. Based in Belo Horizonte, far from the influence of Rio de Janeiro, the small company enjoys great artistic freedom, outside the rigid European traditions. Three years after its inception, the company moved into a theatre in Belo Horizonte, where it remains to this day.
“Grupo Corpo does not refer to any one individual in particular,” explains the troupe’s co-founder, Paulo Pederneiras, who has been its executive and artistic director since 1975. “Its identity is defined in terms of the group.” Danse, music, lighting, costumes and sets also form an indissociable whole. The troupe’s director also designs the lighting for all the company’s productions, and since Bach in 1996 he has collaborated on the set designs.
Invited to the world’s most prestigious theatres and festivals, Grupo Corpo has remained faithful to the ideals that guided its foundation, continuing to present works that display the rich colours of Brazil.
Choreography: Rodrigo Pederneiras
Costumes: Freusa Zechmeister
Set and Lighting Design: Paulo Pederneirais
Photos 1 & 3: José Luiz Pedrneiras
Choreography: Rodrigo Pederneiras
Music: Tom Zé, José Miguel Wisnik
Costumes: Freusa Zechmeister
: Paulo Pederneiras, Fernando Veloso
Lighting Design: Paulo Pedernieras
Photos 2 & 4: José Luiz Pederneiras
Duration: 110 minutes – incluant l‘entracte
Breu 45 minutes
Entracte 20 minutes
Parabelo 42 minutes