Grupo Corpo Returns to the Schnitz Tonight

Tonight at the Schnitz, Grupo Corpo. This is the kind of dance company that I don't see often, and I am excited about it. Here, you have that special balance of work presenting tradtions across the globe, it is a confluence of ballet, contemporary dance, and the myriad Brazilian traditions that are the repertoire of Grupo Corpo, and thirty-three years from lead choreographer, Rodrigo Pederneiras. This is not only observed for the movement, but also the music. The newest piece to be performed, entitled imã (2009), includes a soundtrack, composed by + 2 | Moreno, Domenico, Kassin, with a wide range of diverse instruments – guitar and ocarina, or synth and cuíca revealing influences that range from bossanovista João Donato to ‘70s afro-music icon Fela Kuti to contemporary Japanese multi-instrumentalist Cornelius. Moods and dynamics range thus, from emotional and somber, to party time!

The performance will be presented by Whitebird at the Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall tonight at 7:30pm. Tickets are still available at PCPA. Look out for my review of the show immediately following the performance. 

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Comments

Grupo Corpo Reviewed

            Grupo Corpo is possibly the most technically advanced dance troupe that I have seen. Rodrigo Pederneiras’ choreography, judging from tonight’s program, is highly rhythmic and grounded in the music. The older piece, Parabelo (1997), was the feature performance, making the cover of the program, though Ima` is the newer (2009), performed last. At least, to me, the first piece was the feature. Parabelo contains great dynamic and variety, where as Ima` is consistently colorful, upbeat, and sexy, but doesn't seems to have real depth of soul.

            Parabelo starts with a powerful visual, each dancer lined in rows of three (pictured above), creating dimension and rhythm in stillness. Following this opening, a groovy upbeat tune kicks things up, followed again by something slower, more emotional. Each piece of the Parabelo is marked by a song without any direct connection, 6 songs in total. The duet in the third section is stunning. The imagery produced by these bodies in constant union, communication, and exploration together, never seem to bear witness to one another. The dancer’s bodies intermingle naturally as they appear distinct and disjointed. The contradiction is well executed. Following this gut and heart based piece was a technically brilliant number, but held nothing in my heart, and at this point I started questioning for the rest of the show, what does this choreographer wish to say? Is there purpose behind these amazingly executed moves? But then I also began to notice how each move was directly united with the music, more so than most contemporary performance. The final number to Parabelo is exceptionally sexy and vibrant from the rest of it, but if there was a narrative, I missed it.

            To understand the review, one must have context on the reviewer. I am a contemporary musician with a fascination for movement, influenced by jazz, world, electronic, and avante-garde music. I would bet that if you are similar, you will thoroughly enjoy the soundtracks, both of Ima and Parabelo. It is colored from the entire spectrum of music, composed by Tom Ze and Jose Miguel Wisnik (Parabelo), and +2 (Ima). Knowing that this performance would be highly musical, I was not disappointed. I was thoroughly impressed by the technical achievements of Grupo Corpo as a whole. The odds of attending future performance by this group is high. There does seem to be something about this group that is for everyone, too.

 

 

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