Joyce Theater, New York
April 17 2011
By Deborah Searle
As I took my seat for DanceBrazil, in New York’s renowned Joyce Theatre, I wasn’t sure what to expect. I gathered I’d see some Capoeira and maybe some traditional tribal dancing, but I didn’t know how well this would translate on stage. However, very quickly I was engaged and energized by the dancers performing before me. DanceBrazil has a strong cast of vibrant and expressive dancers that kept me entertained and artistically challenged throughout the show.
Performing three distinct works we were treated to a display of extraordinary athleticism, strength and stamina as both the men and women in the company highlighted their Capoeira expertise. I enjoyed seeing not just tricks, but real choreography blending the Capoeira balances, stunts and high kicks together into beautiful dance movement that was at times soulful and at other times explosive. There were so many amazing acrobatic movements within each dance phrase that it was hard to see when one move finished and the other began – brilliant choreography!
The second act, ‘A Jornada’, allowed the dancers to show their modern dance training and strong dance technique. After the first act I wondered how technically trained the dancers were in the more popular styles of ballet and modern, but I was left without any question after their flawless performances in ‘A Jornada’.
The last piece, ‘Memorias’ was joyful and vibrant, celebrating Afro-Brazilian culture, and was a fitting end to an evening celebrating one of Brazil’s best dance companies.
DanceBrazil was thrilling and thoroughly entertaining. The combination of live and recorded music was uplifting and rhythmic, and the dancers brought every beat to life with the perfect combination of choreography, committed performance and colorful costuming. Congratulations to Artistic Director Jelon Vieira and his talented artists.