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Arts Review: Grupo Corpo at Mayflower Theatre, Southampton (07/10/2014)

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The international acclaimed Brazilian, family-run dance company Grupo Corpo came to the Mayflower Theatre on Tuesday 7th October, bringing with them their unique merge of ballet and Latin American dance. The pieces Sim Min (2011) and Parabelo (1997) were performed in an evening of wonderful talent paired with impressive choreography.

gcThe opener, Sem Min (‘Without Me’) flourishes in it’s poetic, dark mood. Inspired by ‘Sea of Vigo’, a Portuguese song cycle by Martin Codax, the dance expresses the voice of the woman, or more specifically the voice of maidens in love that weep at the absence or celebrate the return of the lover friend.

The fluidity of ballet is beautifully merged with the rigidity of modern dance and Afro-Brazilian movement; the troop seamlessly switch between fluid pirouettes to sharp jerky movements of the torso. Wearing Freusa Zechmeister’s tattooed unitards the dancers moves in ebbs and flows both individually and as a collective. The sinuous hip undulations echo the ebb and flow of the ocean in which the piece is based on. One specific part of the piece that captured the entire audience at the Mayflower was a number in which a duo of dancers were enclosed in a golden sheer net, spinning in each other’s arms and becoming more like one entity than two separate dancers.

The second piece was Parabelo, the older of the two pieces. It differed greatly from the first piece in its striking and vibrant vision. Contrasting from the tattooed unitards of Sim Min, Parabelo had the dancers dressed in the brightest shades of fire - red, orange and yellow, along with red eyebrow makeup to match. The opening of the piece was impressive for the sheer amount of talent on show in the dance troop, they worked like a well oiled machine, with each dancer moving in idyllic synchronicity. Musically, it occupies a different world, based on the traditional rhythms and melodies of Brazil with the rhythms and characteristics of a culture that is continuously changing. At the end of the piece the stage opens up to reveal a backdrop of old-fashioned family portraits and a huge group finale resulting in rapturous applause for the dance troop.

Overall both pieces worked well in the way that they both contrasted with each other but kept in line the values of Grupo Corpo. Each piece was distinctly Brazilian and like nothing I have ever seen before. The Pederneiras brothers have a lot to be proud of with their latest tour, and a whole host of incredibly talented dancers to execute their vision.


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