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Grupo Corpo – Exquisite Brazilian dance in review

January 31, 2011

Grupo Corpo is a long-standing and extremely popular Brazilian contemporary dance company. Established in 1975, the group remains under the artistic direction of its founder Paulo Pederneiras with choreography by Rodrigo Pederneiras (who has been with Grupo Corpo since 1978). The company name, which means Body Group in English, encompasses just that – intensely physical dance that reverberates through the dancers’ bodies and embodies a mix of athleticism, crisp movements and impeccable partnering.

Grupo Corpo

Currently playing at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion in Los Angeles, I had the pleasure of watching their latest performance of two pieces – Ímã and Parabelo. Both pieces harbor a mix of full company segments as well as partnering and smaller groups. Colors in the lighting, costumes and backdrops are used to full effect in a way that draws in the audience’s focus and yet does not detract from the exquisite dancing itself. In close tandem with the visual effects is the music itself. While minimalist in most of its form, it draws deeply from the complex and varied rhythms of Brazilian music. Each segment has its own pulse that varies from the previous and showcases the richness from that culture.

It’s hard to put their unique style into words. In many ways it is very angular, with flexed feet, articulated arm and leg movements, and contrasting movements in abundance. One can clearly see the African and Brazilian roots melded with balletic and contemporary lines and composition. Thematic movements tie the grander vision of each piece together, while providing abundant variation that keeps the audience engaged and on the edge of their seats.

Tickets to the show are well worth every penny and a must-see if you are a dance aficionado.

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