An irresistible sense of rhythm

«We live in a tropical country where the sun shines every day. It is hot. And these are just some of the things that make up Brazilian culture.» Those were the words of Rodrigo Pederneiras, the main choreographer of the Grupo Corpo dance theater, which is coming to Greece for the first time at the invitation of the Attiki Cultural Company. The Brazilian troupe will perform at the Athens Concert Hall’s Alexandra Trianti Hall tomorrow and on Friday and the proceeds from both shows will go to Action Aid Hellas. Pederneiras could be described as a Brazilian Bob Fosse: His choreography combines ballet with a mixture of African and pop culture as well as street dancing. The result is a new expression of body language with an irresistible sense of rhythm, as well as a seductive and, at the same time, generous use of the body. «I was always curious to learn more about Greece. I am very interested in the way that the Greek audience will respond to our work. I am already excited,» said Paderneiras just a few days before the upcoming shows at the Athens Concert Hall. Here are a couple of excerpts from an interview with Kathimerini. What was your dream when you first started out? Grupo Corpo was founded in 1975 by a group of friends, young dancers who, at the time, were unemployed. Our dream was to establish a company whose members would be co-creators. Our name means «Body Group.» I would describe us as an ensemble consisting of dancers, experiences, social moments, different styles and choreographies, all of which make up one body. Without the team of dancers, the directors and musicians who make up a show, the final spectacle is not complete. There are no soloists in Grupo Corpo so, in fact, everybody is a soloist. When nobody can be a star, everybody can shine. What do the works that you will be presenting at the Athens Concert Hall mean to you? We will present the commemorative «Onqoto,» which celebrates the company’s 30-year anniversary and features music by Caetano Veloso and Jose Miguel Wisnik. The whole thing started off with a thought Caetano had of writing an essay about the use of terms like the «big bang.» Through a series of strange connections, we were drawn to the basic questions «Who am I?» and «Where am I going?» The second piece we will stage is «Parabelo,» the most «Brazilian» of all my works. «Parabelo» takes us to a huge area in the country’s hinterland whose borders are not clearly defined. The people there handle the roughness of nature with powerful rhythms and unique sounds. They use a wooden mortar and pestle, a breath, a saw, the sound of the water splashing, instruments made out of bottles, voices and more. It creates a feeling of isolation but also indescribable happiness at the same time, a mixture of ocean and earth somewhere between life and non-existence. That is what «Parabelo» means to us.