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Brazil! Brazil!: A look at Brazil’s Burgeoning Dance

By Holly Cavrell


Endless lines in banks, faulty social services, flooded streets that have you swimming out of your car, bureaucratic confusion and
never-ending papers to fill out... In the theatres, the floors are about to cave in, and the lighting instruments are burnt out. What’s the Brazilian response to this pandemonium? “Um jeitinho” or “Don’t worry, we'll work it out.”

 

Brazil, land of improvisation, is many countries within a country: São Paulo no more represents the rest of Brazil than New York does the United States. The full complement of paradisiacal elements is here: the swaying palms, tropical rainforest, brilliant flora and animal life, and then there’s the samba, yes… and no.

 

In Brazil dance has emerged from religion and folklore within the heart of the community or from outsiders: teachers or visitors drawn there by the opulence of the Carnival or other cultural events. They stayed and influenced the culture with their ideas and teaching methods. In staying and sharing, they, too, were influenced by the culture.

 

Let’s imagine that after teaching a single master class one’s destiny is sealed. This is what occurred when in 1927 the future Ballet corps of Rio de Janeiro became the animated result of a former dancer from the company of Léonide Massine. Maria Olenewa was one of the first great ballet teachers in Brazil, and her company was composed of dancers that she herself trained. Later with separation of school and company in the 40s Vaslav Velchek and Igor Schwezoff succeeded Olenewa as company director.

 

By the 1950’s the Teatro Municipal do Rio de Janeiro, under the direction of Tatiana Leskova, had audiences literally hanging from the balconies. As choreographer and ballerina with the company she staged such classics as Swan Lake, Giselle, and Aurora’s Wedding. Born in Paris of Russian aristocrats, she left Russia after the Bolshevik revolution. In 1942, she settled in Brazil, her home for the last 60 years. In the 90’s, Jacob’s Pillow and then the Joffrey Ballet invited her to reconstruct Massine’s ballet Choreatium. From this group sprouted notables like Márcia Haydeé, Ivone Meyer, Aldo Lotufo, Ady Addor (former ABT dancer), David Dupré, Maria Angélica, Dennis Gray and Nora Esteves (who has danced with Joffrey).

 

In 1956 Dalal Achcar founded the Ballet Association of Rio de Janeiro and has been responsible in staging many classical pieces such as The Nutcracker, Romeo and Juliet, and Cinderella in addition to hosting guest appearances by international stars like Nureyev, Fernando Bujones, Natalia Makaraova, and Margot Fonteyn. A renowned teacher, Achcar was also an advocate of equal opportunity who headed social projects like Dança para Escolas,” whose primary function is to promote dance in the public schools and in high-risk districts.

 

Teacher and choreographer Eugenia Feodorva influenced a subsequent generation of dancers in the 60s. She was directly responsible for South America’s first complete staging of Swan Lake and was part of BTM’s (Bale do Teatro Municipal) notable line of directors, which includes Richard Cragun. Today’s director, Fauzi Nelson Paranhos, prides himself with a distinguished list of principals like Ana Botafogo, Aurea Hammerli(she’s worked with Bejart and American Ballet Theatre), Cecilia Kerche (a brilliant technical dancer and owner of a line of dance clothes sold throughout the country), and Nora Esteves to name a few. Their repertoire covers a lot of territory with examples like Nijinsky’s L’Après-Midi d’un Faune and The Rite of Spring as well as Deborah Colker’s Paixão (Passion) and Balanchine’s Serenade. The state school, which carries Maria Olenewa’s name, is one of the most important schools in the country. With over 78 years of uninterrupted work, the school, now directed by Maria Luisa Noronha, continues to offer excellence in teaching in a wide range of classes from classical to choreography and art history.

 

There are several official state schools in São Paulo, Belo Horizonte and Curitiba, all affiliated with municipal theatres. Plus, the Bolshoi opened a ballet school in the northern part of the state of Santa Catarina in 2000. This is the first time in 227 years of Russian history that Moscow has permitted its teaching method to be applied in another country. In their first year over 20,000 children applied. Today the school offers an eight-year program specializing in the formation of young ballet artists with 40 places for boys and 40 for girls. Even though there is strong resistance against boys becoming dancers, the serious image the school projects and the fact that the children can escape their impoverished conditions is incentive enough for most low-income families to allow their children to participate.

 

Today over 50 million Brazilians live on less than 300 reais a month (about $180). How, one might ask, can any art develop much less flourish in a country with so many disadvantages? I say it is our ingenuity as well as our hearts that allow us to dance with what remains.

 

A company whose goals reflect this spirit is Stagium. Emerging out of the 70’s era when a military dictatorship controlled what could or couldn’t be presented publicly, Stagium, under the direction of Decio Otero and Marika Gidali, dealt with artistic censorship by bringing dance to favelas (slums), to prisons and the Xingu Indian tribes. Based in São Paulo Stagium voiced their beliefs by presenting choreographies that had a distinct Brazilian identity, in which the corporal aspect is totally integrated with its indigenous roots and contains a social consciousness. One of their most well known choreographies, based on an aboriginal ritual to honor the dead, was a ballet called Kuarup by Decio Otero, with original music by the Xingu tribes. Although quite strong in classical ballet, Stagium incorporates in their training other dance languages in their search to stimulate and integrate the Brazilian dancer with his innate vitality and historical importance. Stagium has created educational programs that have reached out to the otherwise inaccessible areas of Brazil acting as incentives towards social and cultural development.

 

One of Brazil’s most active educators in the area of Brazilian dance came from this atmosphere cultivated by Stagium. Graziela Rodrigues, a native of Minas Gerais and former coordinator of the Dance Department at the University of Campinas, recognizes the importance of Brazilian culture as a portal to understanding the body’s identity. Dance is a medium that starts in our own backyard, and Graziela uses the things one finds there to begin her classes and rehearsal. During the improvisations, dancers step on smooth, oval river stones, small mountain rocks, and tiny seashells to sensitize their feet while a constant, churning drumbeat gradually takes over their bodies. Rodrigues aims at discovering a hidden story within each body. Through an almost trance-like repetition of movements the dancer connects to an energy that pushes him into defying the limits of his body. Her latest work, A Valsa Desassossego (the restless waltz), which deals with a young girl that grew up on the streets in São Paulo, begins with the dancer hanging from a scaffolding by various ropes, dressed in a skirt made from compressed garbage from the street, and appearing like a sacrificial lamb.

 

One might have a field day trying to pin down and define contemporary dance. Possibly contemporary choreographers draw from modern dance concepts and techniques, or perhaps they simply think about dance in a different way. The role models are gone; it’s not necessary to move like Martha Graham, Doris Humphrey, or José Limón. There’s lots of freedom and, creatively speaking, an open road ahead. Strong companies primarily classically trained have secured futures by embedding their repertory in contemporary languages. Groups like Hulda Bittencourt’s company, Cisne Negro. Bittencourt joined her students from the Cisne Negro Ballet Studio and athletes from the physical Education department at the University of São Paulo and formed a group whose dancing is spontaneous, risk-taking, technical, and energetically charged. Although highly trained classical dancers (yearly offering presentations of the Nutcracker), their repertory is strongly bedded in contemporary languages. The selection of choreographers is abundant spanning Europe (Portugal, France, Germany, England and Spain) as well as Argentina and Israel. Within this distinguished list are Vasco Wellencamp, Patrick Delcroix, Gigi Caciuleanu, Denise Namura, Tindaro silvano, Mario Nascimento, Rui Moreira, Ana Mondini, Luis Arrieta, Michael Bugdahn and Itzik Galili to mention only a few. Their most recent choreographies include Reflexo do Espelho (Mirror’s reflection) by Patrick Delcroix and Talvez sonhar (Maybe dreaming) by Denise Namura and Michael Bugdahn with music by Brazilian composer Villa-Lobos. For Cisne Negro the year 2006 marks 30 years of professional commitment and critical success as well as serving as a strong reference in the dance milieu within Brazil and on an international scale.

 

Other classical companies turned contemporary are Curitiba’s Teatro Guaira, Balé do Teatro Castro Alves from Bahia, Cia. De Dança do Palacio das Artes from Minas Gerais and Bale da Cidade from São Paulo. The latter was created in 1968 as a classical company and in 1974 was transformed into a contemporary dance company with a multi-choreographic repertory. In the past the company invited mostly international choreographers to create for them but has begun in the last years to take notice and invest in its own dancers as creators. Dancers have always been a source of creative material for choreographers but nowadays this new relationship of dancer as creator is how dances are made, and that is what the Balé da Cidade de São Paulo is allowing to happen. Supported by public money from the City of São Paulo, Balé da Cidade has had a variety of directors, which has tremendously diversified the company and enriched its profile. Some of them were Klauss Vianna, Julia Ziviani, Ivonice Satie, Rui Fontana, Jose Possi Neto and Monica Mion. Each one had a distinct vision for the company, whether it was experimenting an organic and more natural form of training the body like Klauss Vianna, who was instrumental for modern dance evolving into contemporary dance in Brazil, or launching the company into international territory like Ivonice, or simply reevaluating the talent one has at home like Monica Mion.

 

On the other hand Cena 11, from Florianópolis, is one of those companies that think about dance in a different way; it is directed by Alejandro Ahmed and Karin Serafin and oriented by Fabiana Brito. Their free falling from stilts and plunging from other risky positions simply takes ones breath away. With choreographies entitled Violencia (Violence) or Respostas sobre Dor (Answers about Pain), bodies’ become battlegrounds, conservative aesthetics are disfigured, and a strange sensation that we are seeing a fusion of art, science and technology interplay and challenge our conventions.

 

Several words come to mind in describing the company Grupo Corpo: elegance, exuberance, quirkiness and, without question, musicality. Founded in 1975 in Belo Horizonte in the state of Minas Gerais by the family Pederneiras, the group Corpo (body) is one of Brazil’s major contemporary dance companies. It represents a synthesis of movement invention, rhythm and an explosion of color. Corpo’s strength lies in their joint creativity and the way they have deconstructed the ballet vocabulary, infecting classical steps with added weight in the hips and feet while projecting an earthiness that mingles with divergent arm gestures. One wonders how many rhythms fit into one body. Pederneiras’ Bach piece uses samba-like footwork while at the same time disparate accents shoot through the legs and torso, then suddenly a pirouette and a suspension in the arm cuts through the phrase. Pederneiras’ work is a fusion of dialogues; nevertheless we understand what he wants to say. Funded by the Brazilian oil company Petrobras, their latest works, Lecuona and Benguelê integrate a collaboration of innovative movement, costume designs, lighting and original music. Under the direction of Paulo Pederneiras, with choreography by Rodrigo Pederneiras, Corpo has enjoyed national and international success. Parallel to their artistic work is their social project Samalelê that gives children from low-income families an introduction to music, dance, and Capoeira.

 

In the 1970s while Trisha Brown. Lucinda Childs, and David Gordon were breaking into new frontiers in the U.S., Brazil produced some very innovative and strong willed artists. Run and slap the floor with your feet, keep going, hold your partner around his waist, keep going, and now jump up on his shoulders, KEEP GOING…Sound familiar? If not, maybe you will recognize the name Graciela Figueiroa from her work with Twyla Tharp and Lucas Hoving in the 60s. In Brazil Graciela’s energy, her projects and irrepressible creativity influenced a generation of performers, choreographers, actors, plastic artists, and physical therapists. Graciela, who now resides in Uruguay, was a pioneer in contemporary dance, founding and directing in 1977 Coringa, a group once described as “a band of bats following a wild mare.” The energy of Graciela’s dancers was the same in class as onstage. Her powerful group included Ana Andrade and Michel Robim, and later Deborah Colker; Dani Lima, an experimental artist from Rio and the founder of the 13-year-old troop Intrepid that fuses circus techniques, theatre and modern dance; and Debby Growald, a former student of Sara Rudner. Coringa (which means joker) was open to whoever wished to be there: fat, skinny, amateurs, professionals, tall, short. Everyone would dance, which made this group and their director exceptional.

 

Nowadays the boundaries between classical ballet, modern dance, jazz, street, tap, folk, and ethnic dance have long since dissolved. Survival depends on the quantity of information each group or artist has and how they are able to assimilate, perfect, and develop it. The information is out there; how one uses it is what makes us unique.

 

Around the same time Coringa was making an impression on a pubic accustomed to ballet performances, Ivaldo Bertazzo, former student of Tatiana Leskova; Klauss Vianna; and Marika Gidali began working with his group the Cidadãos Dançantes (Dancing Citizens). Bertazzo believes in the idea of a dance for all classes and bodies. Interested in physical therapy and biomechanics and known for his large group works involving underprivileged communities, Bertazzo seeks the roots of human drama and individuality through a language of gestures showing how their pathways reveal self-perception and personal choices.

 

Quasar’s dancers seem to turn themselves inside out, upside down and move in such an inventive way that it shouts imagination and craftsmanship. Impulses in the body start in one place and jump to another part of the body and then suddenly explode, lifting the dancer airborne and sending him off in another direction. Located in Goiânia, Quasar was founded in 1988 by Vera Bicalho and Henrique Rodovalho. Quasar has danced throughout Brazil and internationally for almost 20 years. The company’s latest works, Coreografia para Ouvir (Choreography for Listening), Mulheres (Women), and Só tinha de ser com você (It had to be with you) are flowing textures and reflections of contemporary Brazil. Unpredictable, good humored, and abundant in contrasts, Brazil consists of the modern with the traditional, urban with the rustic, the sky scraper with the horse drawn carriage, the educated with the illiterate, the hot with the, well, very much hotter…and these differences are reflected in Quasar’s dynamic choreography which cross both media and physical limitations.

 

Out of Rio de Janeiro comes the Centro Coreográfico (Choreographic Center) created by the dynamic Regina Miranda, founder of the Companhia Atores Bailarinos do Rio de Janeiro (Company Actors Dancers of Rio de Janeiro). This project, dedicated to contemporary dance, sponsored by city funding via RIOARTE, and open to all races and nationalities, has given many dancers, companies and social projects the chance to work in excellent conditions, (a fully equipped theatre is a rare occurrence).

 

Also in Rio are three strong women, all different with distinct choreographic approaches. Deborah Colker’s dance combines the influence of sports and the study of everyday activities. An undergrad in psychology, Deborah played volleyball and was an accomplished concert pianist. Her beginnings as a choreographer were with Coringa. “Debinha,” as she was called, was as a disciple of Graciela Figueroa, and her repertory is evidence of this intimate relationship. “With Graciela I decided to work with contemporary dance. She was my first school, my first great influence. Graciela taught me how to work with music and with mathematics; she appreciated each dancer’s unique personality,” says Colker. “I choose my dancers based on their technique and movement quality and not race or physical type.” Her latest work, N_ (Knot), a graphically sexual ballet that deals with issues like bondage along with the turmoil of human relationships, made its debut in Wolfsburg Germany.

 

Marcia Milhazes latest work, Tempo de Verão (Summertime) borders between Brazil’s cultured and the trendy. Inspired from her fascination with waltzes Milhazes uses this as a catalyst in extracting her family memories. The choreography is lavish, sensual, and deeply significant in gesture with moments so intimate that time suspends and emphasizes details. Circular and spiral movements create a languorous fluidity and generate a sultry physicality that brings to mind images of summer. Trained in classical ballet she earned a Masters in Dance from the Laban Centre in London. Returning to Brazil, she founded her company in 1994 and has gained strong national and international acclaim, receiving awards such as “Best Dance Performance in 2005” from the magazine Bravo, and the Petrobras Award in the Performing Arts for her choreography Joaquim Maria, inspired by the book Posthumus memories of Brás Cubas by Machado de Assis. Here she proposes an encounter of movement and words, not spoken or narrative in translation but a sum of sensations deriving from all elements involved.

 

Although Lia Rodrigues’ works contain many vital themes, she tends to treat her subject matter satirically, possibly because of her beginnings with Compagnie Maguy Marin in Paris. Each new creation invents a new way of looking at the body. In one work by Brazilian writer Mario Andrade, she explores corporally a universe of oral literature investigating possible rhythms suggested by the text and using Brazilian music from that time period. Or in another work she makes a statement against overpriced tickets by creating what she calls a “democratization of cultural access” in charging only 1.00 Real (about 40 cents) for admission. She then takes this theme and develops it in ways that allow us to see the body democratically and accessibly thereby examining how these issues transform not just the body but also the way we look at it. Is the body more open to us clothed or naked, why are certain gestures and angles of the body acceptable and others not? Artistic director of the Panorama RioArte de Dança, Lia is representative in Rio of the network of the Cultural Council of Latin America. Her most recent work, Formas Breves, based on the book Six Memos for the Next Millennium by Italo Calvino, was acclaimed at the International Modern Dance Festival in Montreal.

 

Many companies and individuals in street and jazz dance work not just with a performance objective but endeavor to formulate teaching methods, inducing an educational experience. People like William S. Caju, director of the Dança de Rua pela Vida; Rosali Rodrigues, director of the jazz company Raça, and Balé de Rua, Uberlândia, MG directed by Fernando Narduchi, Gathering dancers from all kinds of professions such as metal welders, gas station attendants, stone cutters and cooks. Supported through a cultural incentive financial program by the state of Minas Gerais, Narduchi guaranteed that these artists were able to leave their prior jobs and dedicate themselves exclusively to dance. For 13 years Balé de Rua continues to build bridges across turbulent waters by implanting valuable outreach training programs that give opportunities for youths in destitute neighborhoods. The recent works, O Bagaço (which literally means the pulp) intertwines original music, body art, scenery, and movement that generate a plasticity of drama and humor.

 

When coming to Brazil almost every visitor is attracted by the magic and staggering splendor of Carnival. Although there are several carnivals happening in Brazil at the same time, the two most famous are in Rio and in Bahia. In Rio each year samba schools compete for first place distinction based on dozens of categories such as best costumes, bateria (the drumming section), themes and their artistic representation, floats, line ups and formations. Points are given for artistic and interpretive presentation of the dancing—in other words they’ve gotta sell it! The Samba music, born in Rio de Janeiro in 1917, was a genre that mixed the rhythms of the Lundu (Portuguese called this dance of African origin lewd), Frevo (a highly agitated dance, plenty of Russian-like squats and legs kicks from underneath) and the polka. The dance Samba entails continuous improvisation and has become a mark of Brazilian identity and expression. Structured by their chosen theme, a samba school parades in front of a panel of judges as well as a frenetic and dancing public for 45 minutes. The demonstrations are a mixture of professionals, amateurs, samba lovers—even tourists can participate for an admissions price for the privilege of rehearsing and dancing with the school. Famous actors and other celebrities are usually invited and together with the school they form a kind of contagious electric current that vibrates out to the crowd.

 

It is a bittersweet time for several reasons but most importantly one in particular. Samba schools work the whole year, and for most lower income participants this is the most important goal in their lives, acting as a powerful incentive, a sustaining dream, in which for a short moment they can rise above the poverty that envelops them. All this ends abruptly after the judges’ decision and everybody picks up and begins the same process for next year.

 

The sound of the berimbau (a large bow instrument), atabaque (a drum), and traditional songs create the ambiance for bodies that hurl and spiral through the air. The well-aimed kicks and acrobatic defense moves construct a vision of the world upside down. Capoeira has as many different styles as there are teachers (Mestres or Masters). Originally connected to the slave trade between Brazil and Africa, Capoeira, a martial art form, was disguised by the slaves, using playful and inventive dance movements—in order to fool the slave owners. Mestre Jelon Vieira, Eusebio Lobo da Silva, and Loremil Machado grew up and survived on the streets of Bahia by learning to dodge kicks, plant hand stands and improvise fighting tactics.

 

When Vieira arrived in New York in the 1970s, he astounded people by disarming challengers with his ‘on its head’ or ‘wrong side up’ combating.” The New York scene at that time,” reminisces da Silva, “was a bombardment of styles and techniques that infected everyone. Even If you weren’t a genius you at least became an excellent artist.” Vieira and Machado introduced Capoeira in the U.S. and consequently continued in New York while da Silva returned to Brazil, but not after having discovered modern dance via Thelma Hill in addition to working with Katherine Dunham. Today he is a professor at the University of Campinas in Brazil. Da Silva comments that probably Hip Hop and many street dance forms arose from the influence of Capoeira. Vieira subsequently absorbed what New York, offered studying modern dance with James Truitte, jazz with Fred Benjamin, and ballet with Don Farnsworth. These state side experiences together with the Afro-Brazilian style Capoeira created a personal choreographic style. His group DanceBrazil continues to work with people from all ages and professions—even the Brazilian soccer player Pele has studied Capoeira with Vieira.

 

Many Brazilian artists and Companies have used the popular dance (by this I mean belonging to the people) to express inner dramas behind the happy façade of traditional dances. Antonio Nobrega is by far one of Brazil’s most notable emissaries of popular Brazilian Dance. Although he does not just reproduce these dances, he instead is more concerned with capturing the spirit of Brazil using his own performance style by combining theater, dance and music. Born in Recife in the state of Pernambuco, Nobrega was both a musician and composer. Recently he made six specials for television entitled Danças Brasilieras. These shows captured the popular dances in addition to the flavor of these communities throughout Brazil and show Nobrega interacting and improvising with the public.

 

Angelo Madureira and Ana Catarina Vieira are a team of artists with one foot in the popular dances of Recife and the other in contemporary dance. Through incorporating their different backgrounds, Angelo was raised and weaned from his parents’ folkdance company in Recife, and Ana Catarina was a classical ballerina from São Paulo. They have developed a synthesis of movement languages that they use not only as a teaching method but also as a source of choreographic material tinged with a social message. Their attitude about how Brazil is seen from the eye of a tourist is a clear theme in their work. and their messages echo aversion to the kind of colonialism tourism in Brazil brings out. In their recent work Outras Formas (Other shapes), a toy Santa shakes back and forth while a recording echoes the sentiment extracted from Recife street dancers who make their living jumping and dancing at a moments notice in front of curious sightseers.

 

A distinguished name in Brazilian tap dancing is Cintia Martin and her company the Claquettes. Based in Rio, she has danced all over Brazil and travels frequently to the U.S. She has participated in many tap events in NYC including “On Tap!” in July 1999 as well as appearances with The American Tap Dance Orchestra. Her travels serve as a way to exchange ideas on techniques in addition to sharing Brazilian rhythms state side. Martin has used electronic platforms and engineered multimedia shoes in a super production called Maquinaria in collaboration with the Brazilian Tap Orchestra. Martin’s role models have been Peg Leg Bates, Honi Coles, Buster Brown, the Nicholas Brothers and Brenda Bufalino. Among other dancers in Brazil who have dedicated their talents to Tap are Cintia Chemecki from Curitiba (now residing in New York), Christiane Matallo, Samuel and Fernanda Faez from Campinas, and Leonardo Costa Dias from Porto Alegre.

 

Every year Brazil produces about 50 annual events, which includes permanent festivals like Joineville, Passo de Arte, Festival de Londrina, and Panorama RioArte. Hundreds of professional dancers, amateurs, dance teachers, journalists plus budding and seasoned choreographers and dance academies throughout Brazil partake in these festivals. Similarly music festivals served as a way to discover new talents like Caetano Veloso (he was actually booed) and Gilberto Gil (now our Cultural Minister). Most festivals include performances by foreign and national companies, state companies, academies and independent artists.

 

Parallel to this are dance classes, competitions in specified areas, and classes and discussion groups aimed at giving young and mature artists a chance to exchange information principally about social commitment and survival strategies. These classes are offered by some of Brazil/'s primary researchers and educators who represent major universities in Brazil that include solid undergrad and graduate programs in Dance for those interested in acquiring a formal education in Dance. In Campinas there is the undergraduate program offering a BA and/or a teaching degree in Dance from the University of Campinas and a Graduate program in the Arts. São Paulo has both the undergrad Communication of the Arts of the Body, and the graduate course in Communication and Semiotics from the Pontificia Universidade Catolica de São Paulo, in addition to the Universidade Anhembi-Morumbi of São Paulo. The Universidade Federal de Bahia offers an undergraduate program in dance and a graduate program in contemporary studies. There is the Universidade Federal de Rio de Janeiro and the Faculdade Escola Angel Vianna with an undergraduate program in addition to a Technical Program in Motor Function Rehabilitation and Dance Therapy.

 

The American critic John Martin was to the modern dance what Helena Katz is to dance in Brazil. Katz is one of the most important researchers and critics in Brazil. Professor at PUC University in São Paulo and Dance Critic for the Estadão, a São Paulo newspaper, Katz has helped dancers, choreographers, writers along with a general dance public to understand the thinking processes and the responsibility behind the dancers and their dances.

 

Today many Brazilian dancers work in major international companies. Leticia Oliveira is at Houston Ballet (see “25 to Watch,” January 2006); Thiago Soares is first soloist at The Royal Ballet in London. Pina Bausch and the Culberg Ballet have had several Brazilian dancers over the years as well as Martha Graham (Daniela Stassi, now back in Brazil), Anne Teresa de Keersmaeker’s Rosas, American Ballet Theatre and Joffrey.

 

Brazilian dancers who leave their country carry their curiosity and creativity into the world. Those who remain have learned adaptability, jeitinho, and perseverance in facing difficulty. Besides, as Anthony Tudor once commented when someone asked him what makes an artist, “Staying power!” he said. “Staying power.”

 

Holly Cavrell came to Brazil on a Fulbright Scholoarship in 1989. She has danced with Martha Graham, Paul Sanasardo, and 5 x 2 plus. She has taught and choreographed in Venezuela, Mexico, Sweden, Finland, Denmark, and France. She is a tenured professor in Dance at the University of Campinas, Brazil.

 

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