Teatro Alfa brings city dwellers a step closer to dance. Some of the finest Brazilian dance companies and others from further afield have come together in the theatre’s spectacular programme of dance in 2011.
The companies, hailing from the UK, Germany and across Brazil, draw their inspiration from many sources; but they have in common an outward-looking approach, absorbing cultural themes quite different from their own.
As if to prove it, in April the German dance company Pina Bausch Tanztheater Wuppertal took on Ten Chi, originally a 2004 Japanese creation about contemporary culture in Japan. This is the fifth time the accomplished Bausch company have taken to Teatro Alfa’s stage, and it was a gripping affair.
Pulled together as a set of choreographed travelogues, the performance guided the audience through sakura flowers (Japan’s cherry blossom) around a giant protruding whale’s tail and through other geographical inspirations, drawn together seamlessly by the pliés executed by 17 ballerinas pirouetting across the stage.
Also on the programme for the 2011 season and with a more local flavour, was the outstanding Rio-based Companhia de Dança Deborah Colker. Don’t expect to see a Brazilian dance performance, though, as this company has also crossed the ocean for its inspiration – this time to Russia. Colker looked at the great Aleksandr Púchkin’s Evguêni Oniéguin before creating her production, Tathyana. Dancers recreated the drama of duels, deception and passion to the music of composers Rachmaninov, Tchaikovsky, Stravinsky and Prokofiev, all while portraying the thoughts and desires of each of the four protagonists Púchkin originally created.
It’s England’s Akram Khan who pushes the cultural boundaries the furthest, with his latest production, Vertical Road, scheduled for October. One of the most highly acclaimed choreographers of his generation, Khan’s first performance in Brazil will bring artists from Asia, Europe and the Middle East together to explore the relationship between cultures and the diversity of creative worlds.
Khan will also present a gripping solo performance called Gnosis, in which he will interpret the tug between the traditional and new, set to music from India, Pakistan, Japan and the UK – a pitch-perfect mix, just like Teatro Alfa’s dance season, of the modern and the conventional.