Country Life's dance critic reviews two new contemporary dance productions.
Don’t be shy. Try something new. The summer may be over, but the Brazilian contemporary dance company Grupo Corpo and the hip-hop group called Boy Blue Entertainment deliver so much energy and fun that you’ll think you’re still on holiday.
Created in 1975 by brothers—Paulo Prederneiras, the artistic director, also designs sets and lighting; Rodrigo Pederneiras provides the choreography—Grupo Corpo draws its exhilarating style from Brazil’s dance traditions. Elements of samba, capoeira and folk dances meet in melting combinations; blocks of dancers tease languour and relaxed buoyancy into precise interlocking patterns, often organized around drumming or walking rhythms.
In Triz, the dancers wear unitards split vertically into black and white halves that reshape the visual effect of their bodies moment by moment according to their spatial rearrangement. In Parabelo, the company conjures both slavery and independence, moving from a stomping crouch to rippling exuberance with a fluid duet of exhaustion and hope emerging from the group effort like a shared dream.
Boy Blue Entertainment’s show, The Five and the Prophecy of Prana, ratchets up the astounding physicality dance can achieve by slamming hip-hop gyrations against the ritualized poses and muscular explosions of martial arts. A flimsy narrative about young troublemakers in a power struggle with mysterious warriors links the short choreographed routines, and video animations back them, echo them, and interact with them in fascinating choreography of their own.
The entire work is a tribute to manga, Japan’s popular graphic novels, imagined and directed by Michael ‘Mikey J’ Asante and Kenrich ‘H20’ Sandy and choreographed by the latter. The youngest, most enthusiastic audience I’d ever encountered at the Barbican cheered the performers as each scene faded away, acknowleding their skill and urging them on to greater daring. It’s the response the dancers deserved and the one all dancers hope to hear.
Grupo Corpo tours the country until 5 November. See www.danceconsortium.com
Boy Blue Entertainment tours this production to 12 further theatres through 15 November. See www.thefivetour.co.uk
The Cuban company Ballet Revolución presents a different blend of ballet, contemporary dance, hip hop and live music at the Peacock Theatre until 25 October. See www.sadlerswells.com