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GRUPO CORPO - BRAZIL'S MOST FAMOUS DANCE COMPANY - 4/9

March 10, 2003
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GEORGE MASON UNIVERSITY’S CENTER FOR THE ARTS
WELCOMES GRUPO CORPO
Brazilian Dance Theater
A unique evening of dance –
21andSantagustin
Wednesday, April 9, 8:00 p.m.


Fairfax, Virginia, March 10, 200—This performance by Grupo Corpo, Brazil’s most respected dance company, on Wednesday, April 9 at 8:00 p.m. at George Mason University’s Center for the Arts, features a new work from resident choreographer Rodrigo Pederneiras: Santagustin, and the group’s highly acclaimed 1992 piece, 21 An artistic discussion is held 45-minutes prior to the performance on the hall’s Grand Tier. Santagustinis nothing like Parabelo, the acclaimed performance that was also danced to Baiano-Paulista composer Tom Ze’s soundtrack (in association with José Miguel Wisnik). The main theme of the ballet is love, but not romantic love. What predominates on stage is bitter-sweet humor, influenced by pop culture, and its folk heritage, benchmarks of the 27-year-old company’s inspiration and influence. As Sarah Kaufman observed in The Washington Post, "the group’s wonderfully loose yet crisply formed movement style derives from a fertile mix of classical ballet and Brazilian folk and social dance styles."

The title of Rodrigo Pederneiras’s Santagustin, is an alteration, of the name of Saint Augustine. Composer Tom Ze had him in mind while creating the soundtrack, inspired by the saint’s life of excesses before his conversion and his battle with the pleasures of the flesh. This tension also inspired Pederneiras in creating the choreography.

Besides the visual, the opening of Santagustindiffers from everything that Grupo Corpo has done before: instead of the first notes of a composition, the audience hears phone rings and other noises drawn from contemporary life. Since 1992, Grupo Corpo has only used exclusive custom-made soundtracks, leaving behind the classical pieces that marked a time when the group was still based on Classical Dance. For Pederneiras, the main reason for inviting Tom Ze to compose for them a second time (he scored the company’s Parabelo) was simple, "He is an ingenious musician, and working with him is a delight." The discovery of the troupe’s own language, very Brazilian without being provincial, came about 10 years ago, with 21, soundtrack by Marco António Guimaraes.

Entering its second decade, 21, making a comeback in Grupo Corpo’s repertoire this year, is divided into three parts. The music and the choreography of 21 never fail to surprise throughout its 40-minute presentation.

The force contained in the tension of the reds, the background lighting and the yellow of the leotards used by the dancers, set the tone for the ballet's first part, where the repetition of multiple rhythm combinations, as well as the scale decreasing from 21 to 1, adds a minimalist touch. The stage is full of colorful flowers and geometric designs. The dancers move quickly, showcasing technique and Rodrigo Pederneiras’s challenging choreography. The dance culminates in an almost tribal percussion, as Perdeneiras uses the dancers' bodies to interpret the melody hidden in the fantastic rhythm of Guimaraes's score.

Grupo Corpo Compañia de Danza was founded as a co-operative dance company in 1975 during the last ten years of the Brazilian military regime. Originally composed of a group of siblings and one or two close friends, it was based in the Pederneiras parents’ house, where they held rehearsals and eventually opened up a school. The dancers learned all they could about classical ballet, modern dance, and technique from the pioneers of dance who came from Europe in the sixties, such as Rolfo Gelewsky, Klauss Vianna, and the Brazilians Carlos Leite and Marilene Martins. Over the 27 years of Grupo Corpo’s existence, they have performed twenty-nine new works.
Rodrigo Pederneiras became sole choreographer in 1978, producing Sonata (1984), with music by Sergei Prokofiev; Preludios (1985), with music by Fréderic Chopin; Schumann Ballet (1988), with music by Robert Schumann; and Missa do Orfanato (1989), with music by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, among others. He is now comfortably catalogued among the greatest choreographers of the 20th century along with world-renowned creators such as Merce Cunningham, Martha Graham, José Limón, and Pina Bausch. One review referred to Pederneiras as the Jyrie Kylian of Brazil.

PROGRAM
GRUPO CORPO
Wednesday, April 9, 8PM


21
(1992)
Choreography: Rodrigo Pederneiras
Music: UAKTI by Marco Antonio Guimaraes
Set: Fernando Velloso
Costumes: Freusa Zechmeister
Lighting: Paulo Pederneiras

Intermission

Santagustin
(2002)
Choreography: Rodrigo Pederneiras
Music: Tom Ze and Gilberto Assis
Set: Fernando Velloso and Paulo Pederneiras
Costumes: Ronaldo Fraga
Lighting: Paulo Pederneiras
Program subject to change.

This tour of Grupo Corpo is made possible by a grant from Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation in partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts Regional Touring Program. Please visit www.midatlanticarts.org

Tickets for GRUPO CORPO are $38, $30, $19. Charge by phone at 703-218-6500 or visit www.tickets.com. The Center for the Arts complex is located on the Fairfax campus of George Mason University at the intersection of Braddock Road and Route 123. Paid parking is located in the deck adjacent to the mainstage Concert Hall and FREE parking is located in university lot K.

GREAT PERFORMANCES AT MASON is a program of George Mason University’s College of Visual and Performing Arts. The College of Visual and Performing Arts exists to create an academic environment in which the arts may be considered both as individual disciplines and as interdisciplinary forms that strengthen each other. Believing that an education in the arts is deepened by regular contact with the work of distinguished visiting artists, the College draws on a variety of professional presenting and producing units where artists from across the country and around the world regularly perform, give master classes, work with students during extended residencies, and interact with the community in a variety of other ways. These programs at the Center for the Arts Concert Hall, TheaterSpace, Galleries, Harris Theater, and other venues, provide a diverse selection of challenging and entertaining cultural experiences for the University community, as well as Northern Virginia and the greater Washington, D.C. area. The College houses four academic departments: Art and Visual Technology, Dance, Music and Theater.