Split into two separate dance pieces, Brazilian dance company Grupo Corpo brought classical ballet to the Sadler’s Wells Theatre with a difference – Latin rhythmic influence. It was really enjoyable to watch the dancers gracefully perform such technical movements, whilst grinning and enjoying the beat of the Latin music. It brought a fun element to a usually very serious style of movement.
With both pieces being choreographed by artistic director Rodrigo Pederneiras, each one explored a different theme ranging from abstract to raucous. The first half entitled Triz, examines the moment just before a catastrophe. This involved the dancers (sporting black and white costumes) energetically filling the space, twisting and contorting their bodies in more and more manic fashions. The effect was powerful and it was easy to get swept up watching it, almost as if you were being hypnotised. The stage was relatively plain with occasionally lit up boxes on the floor, and a silver curtain surrounding the dancers. When the lighting changed their shadows were projected onto the side of the stage, which intentional or not certainly added to the atmosphere of chaos. The movements did grow repetitive after a while and become less transfixing. There were a few synchronisation problems, particularly in the beginning. Instead of dancing in unison they would often be a second or two out, or some of the dancers would add extra flourish to a move when others wouldn’t which also jarred the rhythm, but the piece overall was strong.
The second half saw the piece Parabelo, inspired by life in rural Brazil. Immediately the space was filled by the dancers in brightly coloured costumes grinning from ear to ear. There seemed to be more audience interaction in this piece as the dancers looked directly at us whilst moving. This helped to create the atmosphere of celebration and joy, and I noticed the audience around me smiling as they felt connected and involved. The piece perhaps lacked direction, the music seemed to dim and swell constantly with dancers disappearing and reappearing every few seconds. It was busy and a lot to take in, but was interesting enough. I particularly enjoyed the quiet, subtle duo section in the middle of the piece which brought a calmer element. Once again it was a strong dance performance but didn’t leave me feeling overwhelmed. Grupo Corpo are very professional and technically talented, but the show didn’t leave me feeling completely satisfied. There’s room for more improvement and direction with the choreography, it felt as if there was a story missing which could have benefitted them greatly. 3/5
Review written by Laura Walton.
Grupo Corpo was on at Sadler’s Wells from Wednesday 1st-Saturday 4th October. For more information on Grupo Corpo, visit here…