The Theatre of Hagen became Terra Brasilis
Terra Brasilis, the triple bill premiered in the theatre of Hagen in the 8th of February 2014, was a dream come true for the ballet director Ricardo Fernando. For a long time he wanted to show to the German audience, that his home country Brazil is much more than only football, samba and carnival. To celebrate his 10th anniversary in Hagen, he invited three Brazilian choreographers of the first-rate to create an evening full of joyful movements, colours and fascinating music.
Choreographer Tindaro Silvano from Belo Horizonte, opened the evening with his Impromptu and offered great challenge for the dancers. The ballet is fast and acrobatic, full of lifts and rapid changes. Casually dressed dancers meet, get surrounded by the crowd and separate in a fast tempo, as a reflection of the hectic life of a metropole. The choreography is carefully planned and controlled but gives also space for the dancers to show their personalities. Three improvisatory pieces chosen from the album called Infância (1990) by the Brazilian composer Egberto Gismonti, created an exciting atmosphere where you just wait for the next surprise. This warm-hearted and humoristic piece was premiered by Cisne Negro in São Paulo in 1997. The version seen in Hagen succeeded to tune the audience into the Brazilian mood.
The following piece, Ausschnitte (Excerpts) was a new creation by Henrique Rodovalho from Goiânia. He remained faithful to his style and used detailed, precise and sometimes minimalistic movements combined with bossa nova music. As the title indicates, the ballet offers a series of glimpses to the different moods and scenes. Despite the captivating moments, the lack of structure felt a bit disturbing. The highlight of the ballet was the pas-de-deux choreographed to the Insensatez, a famous song by Antonio Carlos Jobim.
“Tupí, or not tupí that is the question”, a new creation by Luiz Fernando Bongiovanni from São Paulo, is not a ballet about Shakespeare but about cultural identity. The name is taken from O Manifesto Antropófago published in 1928 by the Brazilian poet and polemicist Oswald de Andrade. The manifest is directed against the European post-colonial cultural domination. The Tupí people were one of the main ethnic groups of Brazilian indigenous people, known for their cannibalistic rituals. Inspired by the manifest, Bongiovanni creates an interesting combination of the classical dance and primitive music from Northwest Brazil, played by Di Freitas and Banda de Pifanos de Bendegó. Bongiovanni has worked as a dancer in the leading companies in Europe and it is very evident where his influences come from. The ballet starts with counting numbers from 1 to 8, in the manner of classical ballet. But soon the Brazilian spirit breaks the formality and starts the party. Despite of the philosophical background, the ballet succeeds to be funny and entertaining. A perfect conclusion for a ravishing evening.
The dancers of Hagen did their best to respond the demands of the Brazilian style full of passion. The times of colonialism should be over and the high level contemporary dance from Brazil would deserve more chances to communicate with the European dance world. Hagen shows the way how to do it with success.
Unfortunately the information about the music in the program is inadequate and misleading; there are other minor mistakes too. The re-arranged bossa nova hits from the album Berimbaum (2004) are sung by Paula Morelenbaum, but also the composers like Jobim, Vinicius de Moraes and Chico Buarque should be mentioned. The extraordinary folklore music in Bongiovanni’s piece would have needed a more profound presentation.
The whole process was made possible by the generous support of “Balletfreunde”, the friends of the Hagen ballet company. The question is not only about the financial support: they work with their hearts to make the ballet an essential part of the society and its wellbeing. A difficult task, more and more important in today’s world where culture is too often neglected.
Sanna Mansikkaniemi / onlineballetclass.com/theatre-hagen-became-terra-brasilis/