Brazilian Dance Troupe Grupo Corpo to Return to Meany Hall This March

Brazil's internationally acclaimed dance troupe, Grupo Corpo, returns to the University of Washington's Meany Hall with two new works, Suíte Branca and Dança Sinfônica, from March 24-26.

With a history of 40 years, Grupo Corpo combines the precision of classical ballet with the sensuality and passion of Latin dance rhythms. Translated as "group body," the name Grupo Corpo reflects the movement style of the dancers, whose stunning physicality, dynamic ability and rich visual finesse fill the stage with theatrical, joyful dance.

Founded by Paulo Pederneiras in 1975 in Belo Horizonte, Brazil, Grupo Corpo has created 35 choreographies and more than 2,300 pieces. The company maintains ten ballets in its repertoire and gives 80 performances a year in places as distinctive as Iceland and South Korea, the United States and Lebanon, Canada, Italy, Singapore, the Netherlands, Israel, France, Japan and Mexico.

The minimalism of Philip Glass (Sete ou Oito Peças para um Ballet); the vigorous pop and urban sounds of Arnaldo Antunes (O Corpo); the primordial experimentalism of Tom Zé (Santagustin and, with Wisnik, Parabelo); the African sensibility of João Bosco (Benguelê ); the metaphysical verse of Luís de Camões and Gregório de Mattos; the light touch of Caetano Veloso and Wisnik (Onqotô); the rootsy modernity of Lenine (Breu); the poetry of polarities (Ímã): Grupo Corpo has drawn on all of these elements and more to produce shows of a very diverse character -- cerebral, cosmopolitan, primitive, existential, tough -- while always keeping in sight the company's distinctive traits.

Program:

Dança Sinfônica

Costume design: Freusa Zechmeister
Set design: Paulo Pederneiras
Music: Marco Antônio Guimarães
Choreography: Rodrigo Pederneiras
Lighting: Paulo Pederneiras and Gabriel Pederneiras

Created to celebrate Grupo Corpo's 40th anniversary, Symphonic Dance is built on the memorialist theme proposed by Artistic Director, Paulo Pederneiras. In this first symphony created especially for the company, Marco Antônio Guimarães, the author of anthological works such as 21 (1992) and Bach (1996), combines a sophisticated plot with original pieces and evocative musical passages from ballets recently produced by Grupo Corpo. The set of themes, written masterfully for the 90-member Philharmonic Orchestra of Minas Gerais, and interconnected by ingenious musical bridges performed by the Uakti group, allows Rodrigo Pederneiras to revisit the best works from the group's entire repertoire, and also to process, with the experience accumulated through decades of working on detachment of form, a kind of synthesis of a choreographic scripture assembled over 34 years of residence at the company.

Over a thousand informal photographic snapshots taken from the private collections of professionals who have collaborated with or had an influence on the trajectory of Grupo Corpo over these 40 years-from dancers and maîtres de ballet to technicians and stewards-make up the 8m x 16m backdrop panel, establishing the mood for the show. In contrast to the everyday character of the situations represented in the photographs, wine-red velvet curtains cover the base of the theater while the legs of the dancers are covered in tights of the same color, giving the performance a discrete air of solemnity.

Suíte Branca

Choreography: Cassi Abranches
Music: Samuel Rosa
Set design: Paulo Pederneiras
Costume design: Freusa Zechmeister
Lighting: Paulo Pederneiras and Gabriel Pederneiras

When the first guitar chords and the sinuous silhouette of a ballerina strike the air, there is a hint of mystery on stage. Soon, the aridity of an eerily white landscape emphasizes the enigmatic atmosphere.

Dressed in white from the start of the ballet to the finish, moving across the linoleum - which is also white - and against the backdrop panel that gradually reveals the peaks and valleys of a structure that resembles a giant glacier, the Grupo Corpo dancers drift through the intriguing web of themes composed by Samuel Rosa for the score.

White Suite marks the first collaboration between Grupo Corpo and the young choreographer Cassi Abranches from São Paulo. Among undulating arms and hips, pendular movements, suspensions, and considerable floorwork, the score suggests an interaction with the law of gravity, where it is possible to see the distinctive traits of Grupo Corpo that for so long have inhabited our imagination, and at the same time, to glimpse the strength of an unequivocal otherness. Idealized as the old Roman blank slates or a blank page, on which a new story begins to be written.

For tickets, call 206-543-4880, or order online at uwworldseries.org. Tickets may also be purchased in person at the ArtsUW Ticket Office, located at 1313 NE 41st. Tickets are subject to availability. Artists, dates, programs and prices are subject to change.

Meany Hall is located on the Seattle campus of the University of Washington, on 15th Avenue NE between NE 40th and 41st Streets. Parking for Meany Hall is available in the Central Parking Garage (entrance at 15th Avenue and 41st Street). On-street metered parking is also available.

The University of Washington is committed to providing access, equal opportunity and reasonable accommodation in its services, programs, activities, education and employment for individuals with disabilities. To request disability accommodation contact the Disability Services Office at least ten days in advance at: 206.543.6450/V, 206.543.6452/TTY, 206.685.7264 (FAX), or e-mail at dso@u.washington.edu. Disability seating with up to three companion seats per disability space is available for all UWWS events. Reservations for disability seating must be made at the time of purchase. Contact the ArtsUW Ticket Office at 206-543-4880 for specific seating options and availability.

The UW World Series is one of Seattle's leading performing arts organizations, presenting innovative, provocative, and diverse international artists in music, theater and dance. Over 500 visiting artists from around the world have performed as part of the UWWS. The eclectic mix of programming has given Northwest audiences a broad view of the world of performing arts, from sampling unique cultural traditions to experiencing innovative new works that expand the scope and direction of contemporary performing arts. The UW World Series' mission includes supporting the educational goals of the University of Washington by providing extensive arts learning opportunities for UW students and faculty, area school children and teachers, and members of the community at large.



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