The colour and samba beat of Latin America fills the Festival Theatre with an exhilarating performance by the Grupo Corpo dance company from Brazil. Their unique choreographic trademark is the combination of classical ballet, contemporary dance and urban street culture, complemented by an avant-garde, progressive-rock score.
From the opening moments of "Parabelo", what is evident is the impeccable split-second timing of movement and gesture, in tune with the rhythmic soundtrack.
The underlying narrative is based on hard working lives and traditional culture of poor rural communities. The ensemble of twenty dancers crouch huddled on the floor, bent over backwards, shoulders rounded in a kind of Yogic position, as they shuffle crab-like in tight unison. Scene by scene, there’s fast paced toe tapping, circles of gyrating hips, romantic duets and lively Carnival spirit.
For the second work, "Onqato", the dancers stand in a perfect line-up, framed by a slatted curtain of ribbons around the stage, through which they appear and vanish in seconds. The music is rich, atmospheric, dramatic - haunting pan pipes, poetic lyrics, disco-punk and percussive drum beat - illustrating the origin of human existence, the nature of relationships, and tribal, social groups.
Spotlit amidst dark shadow, two couples (gay and heterosexual) writhe and wrestle in sexual, erotic combat. A quick shift of mood and the ensemble throw themselves into a series of free flowing, jazzy, samba moves with dynamic yet graceful style.
Grupo Corpo seem to have reinvented the language of movement to express the raw vitality and sensuality of pure dance. The synchronised discipline of foot work, slender suppleness and physical, electric energy of these dancers is simply breathtaking, utterly hypnotic and artistically inspiring.
Sunday 22nd and Monday 23rd August, 8pm
£10 - £28