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Grupo Corpo Companhia de Dança
Johann Sebastian BACH (1996) [43.00]
Music of J. S. Bach arranged for synthesisers by Marco Antônio Guimarães
O CORPO (2000) (43.00)
Original music by Arnoldo Antunes; Costumes, Freusa Zechmeister/Fernando Velloso Choreography, Rodrigo Pederneiras; Lighting and Stage Design, Paulo Pederneiras Recorded at the Festspielhaus, Baden-Baden, Germany, 2001 Printed notes in Deutsch, English, Français Menu languages: English, German, French, Spanish DVD 9 format PAL 16:9
Sound format: PCM Stereo; Dolby Digital 5.1; DTS 5.1 Region code: 2, 5
Special features: ‘Behind the Scenes’ documentary film by Jürgen Wilcke (43.00)
Trailers of other programs
RM Associates - ARTHAUS MUSIK DVD 100 356 [129.00]

This Grupo Corpo performance is a ritual of homage to energy, youth and the beauty of the human body, the interplay of the genders, the interaction of light, music and gesture. At times the dancers are men and women. At times they are trying very hard to be exactly the same; interestingly, they fail at this because guys and girls do move differently no matter how hard they try not to. At odd moments the dancers become a crowded sidewalk full of urbanites. A minute later they’re apache dancers, then gymnasts, then they stand perfectly still, then begin to move very slowly and may become strands of seaweed billowing in the ocean current. They may also perform perfectly some steps of classical ballet just to show that they really know how to do that too.

The Bach arrangements are free but affectionate and respectful. Curiously, only Bach’s tunes and textures are used. The counterpoint is all in the dancers’ motions. At times we have songs sung in German. At other times fragments of subjects merged are into one another, at other times we hear whole allegro movements. The dancers are not naked, of course; they’re wearing skin-fitting tennis outfits at first black, then blue, then gold. They climb down out of a suspended forest of long rods.

This is not a rock concert nor a night-club act. If you are looking for raunchy, druggy hype; disco; chorus lines; jazz, or ugly noise for its own sake you’ll be disappointed. If your only idea of ballet is mid-key flat lighting, traditional costumes, dignified gestures, gender-separate roles, full symphonic scores, and the ladies’ brassieres and gentlemen’s codpieces discretely padded with cotton so as to avoid explicit anatomical details, you will not be happy. All you’ll see is 43 minutes of callisthenics, acrobatics and naked strutting about. Stay with your season ticket to the Ballet.

The documentary shows and tells how the group was formed in 1975 in Belo Horizonte, Brazil, and how they put their productions together, working as a family group. These are artists and dancers who even in middle age do not forsake bright colours, theatrical stance and dramatic gesture. Compared with maiden Aunt Agatha from Twickenham they are very exotic looking people. Quite a number of their productions are to classical works — a Mozart Mass, the Strauss Four Last Songs, Elgar’s Enigma Variations — and I hope some of these are eventually made available on DVD. Of course much of their work uses modern Brazilian music but they are careful to avoid the banal or trashy.

The Bach piece is in ambient sound. O Corpo is in stereo and the documentary soundtrack is monophonic, no matter how many speakers you have.

Paul Shoemaker

Gerard Hoffnung CDs

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