The dance troupe Grupo Corpo performs at Meany Hall at 8 p.m. Thursday-Saturday, Feb. 3-5. The performance is part of the UW World Series.
Founded in 1975, Grupo Corpo continues to delight and surprise fans with choreography that combines solid classical technique with the light-hearted and sensual elements of Brazilian popular dance. Their trademark style includes an innovative approach to costumes and lighting that makes for an entirely unique dance experience. Grupo Corpo’s performance will include Parabelo, created in 1997, and Ímã, a piece brand new to Seattle audiences.
The soundtrack to Parabelo, written by Tom Zé and José Miguel Wisnik, evokes a pastoral side of Brazil. The music echoes devotional chants and features the baião, with its ever present, entangled, rhythmic points and counterpoints. Set designers Fernando Velloso and Paulo Pederneiras capture an aesthetic of votive offerings, taken from countryside churches, to decorate the 15 x 8 meter panels that provide a background for the ballet.
With the intensity of the colors veiled by black tulle and unveiled only in the small and imperative space of the ballet slippers, costume designer Freusa Zechmeister exploits the dim lights and shadows that “dress” the dancers in the first part of Parabelo. And at the explosive ballet finale, the leotards are freed from the veil, showing off joyous, sunny colors. In all, choreographer Rodrigo Pederneiras referred to Parabelo as his “most Brazilian and regional” creation.
The principles of interdependence and complement that govern human relationships serve as choreographer Rodrigo Pederneiras’ point of departure for the creation of Ímã. Smooth and vital, trivial and strange, the piece by Grupo Corpo is marked by the stage’s constant alternation between full and empty. Solos, duos and smaller and larger groups form and dissipate throughout in an incessant game of union and dispersion.
The Ímã soundtrack is an instrumental piece by + 2, the Brazilian trio of Domenico, Kassin, and Moreno, who have released three albums on David Byrne’s Luaka Bop label. The composition superimposes tones and textures of a wide range of diverse instruments – guitar and ocarina, or synth and cuíca – to journey through abstract themes that are essentially melodic or typically electronic, revealing influences that range from bossanovista João Donato to ’70s afro-music icon Fela Kuti, visiting contemporary Japanese multi-instrumentalist Cornelius along the way.
Using seven-color LEDs that were recently released by an American company, Paulo Pederneiras creates a new kind of scenic space where volume and texture acquire an “ethereal materiality” because they are made of pure light.
Tickets for Grupo Corpo are $46 ($20 for students). Tickets may be purchased by phone at 206-543-4880, online or in person at the UW Arts Ticket Office. There will be a pre-show talk by Bliss Kohlmyer from the Dance Department at 7:10 p.m. each night in the main auditorium.