Tuesday, 28 October 2014

Review | GRUPO CORPO (UK Tour) October 2014

Making a welcome return to the UK after almost ten years, Brazil’s internationally acclaimed dance company Grupo Corpo are renowned for their combination of classical ballet with the sensuality and passion of Latin dance rhythms.

The company, founded back in 1975 by Paulo Pederneiras with choreographer brother Rodrigo first present Sem Mim, a recent piece from 2011 that translated means 'without me'. Danced on an empty stage it is the cloth that hangs above them that is perhaps most interesting. One minute it is a large cloud but soon descends to become more of a mountain. The beauty throughout is within the simplicity. Choreographically there is little in the way of obvious plot, for it at first appears to be a lot of hip wiggling. A narrative does develop, aided largely by lighting for suggestion of mood but the piece itself is very repetitive. On the surface it can seem like spontaneous distortion but the perfect timing reassures you it is indeed finely choreographed and with interludes of strong, recognisable ballet technique the versatility of the company is obvious.

Attention to detail is second to none. Skin-tight costumes are dyed to match the skin tone of the performer and then covered in tattoos - a stunning visual that represents one of the most archaic signs of maritime imagination.

The second piece, Parabelo introduces the nature of Brazilian culture, one that is continually changing. Traveling from popular art to the erudite. Of the two, this is clearly the showcase, the finale. A breathtaking energy, although joyful, is as exhausting to watch as it must be to perform. Every ounce of strength is thrown in to what ends as a powerful, exciting, colourful carnival.

Follow the conversation with #BHGrupo and see it in Birmingham at the Hippodrome until Wednesday 29 October. Book here.

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