Review: Grupo Corpo – Modern or Chorus Dancing?

This weekend I saw Grupo Corpo, a Brazilian Dance Company, at the Power Center for the Performing Arts. It was…interesting. They were amazing dancers, and all had background and technique in ballet, so don’t get me wrong. I thought the performers were very impressive, but the choreography had some issues, which is really unfortunate. But I guess I should start out with the Arts&Eats portion of the night.

Arts&Eats was great. The pizza was good, there were a lot of people, and the room was absolutely beautiful. The room that it was hosted in is in the Alumni Association building; it’s a very large room with blue carpeted walls and four fireplaces. There were small tables to eat and chat at and we even got to meet some new people. The tour director of the dance company came out and talked to us about the group. She told us how they travel all over the world for performances and how the same people who started the group 36 years ago are the people now administrating, choreographing, and training the group. It’s really quite amazing that they’ve stayed together so long and have been able to create a world renowned group.

The show itself started out with a very strange and dark dance. All of the performers were clad in black, full body leotards and they did this portion starting in a sort of crab walk position and sticking their feet up in the year on certain beats. It was strange, and even though it’s modern dance, I really didn’t expect some of the things that started happening. My largest complaint, which is not the fault of any performer on stage, was how synchronized and repetitive the entire performance was. Each move was incredible, but then we kept seeing it. Again, again, oh there it is again, and look! That pair of professional dancers can do the same move as the one we just saw! And now they’re doing it in rounds! And the music, it’s been the same rhythm for this entire section of the dance. What are they playing at?

Of the two shows they performed that night, Parabelo and Ímã, Ímã was the better show. Even though most of the show was the same dancing, each dance was interesting enough in itself to keep our interest and be artistically appealing. And the concept of the show was beautiful. Called Ímã, meaning “magnet,” the show embraces an idea of not falling apart, of always connecting with something else, or pushing away from it. The dancers push and pull, lean on and support one another like magnets. As they get closer to one another, the barriers start falling down and articles of clothing are shed one by one. Soon the dancers are open to each other and we can see it through their undressing process.
And of course the solos in both shows were amazing; so full of talent and character. Here is where I add in a shameless explanation of the reason I went to the show in the first place.

Yup, that’s right. I’m not even going to say it. You know what I’m thinking, and yes, this solo was fantastic! The crowd could barely contain themselves; at least that’s how I felt as my boyfriend constrained me. But all you have to know that it was so beautiful and sensual and creative and mmmmhhhmmmmmm!

I don’t want to bore you with too many of the details, but the last thing that I really thought was important, something really unique and revolutionary in the world of dance. The infusion of Brazilian culture into the dancing. The music and the movements were very Latin, especially the use of Cuban hips in the modern/ballet dancing. It was exciting to see such a mixture of ballet and dance culture and the sensual and exotic flavor of Brazilian samba. It really was wonderful and worth every minute of repetition.

As always,
This is Danny Fob: Artist and Art Reviewer

Danny Fob

I'm a Junior in LSA majoring in Italian and minoring in Art History. I love writing for art[seen] because it gives me the opportunity to show all of these amazing shows that the University brings to Ann Arbor. We get some world class performers and I would be really bummed if I missed out on anything that I'll never have to opportunity to see again. What you need to know about me? I'm not a writer, an art expert, and I didn't grow up around this much culture. I am a busy student at UofM, so if you are judging me for something, it's okay because I won't have time to respond. I'll just keep seeing shows and you can be jealous!