Preview: São Paulo Dance Company, Mayflower Theatre, Southampton

Preview: São Paulo Dance Company, Mayflower Theatre, Southampton

Brazilian heat and energy power the virtuoso dancers of one of Brazil’s finest dance companies in a thrilling triple bill, which comes to Mayflower Theatre on Tuesday 13 and Wednesday 14 February 2024.

São Paulo Dance Company is at the forefront of the South American contemporary dance scene. The company’s 22 outstanding dancers match ferocious contemporary technique with the warmth, rhythm and flair of their Brazilian culture.

This February sees the company’s UK and Irish debut with a programme of dance from three choreographers all rooted in Latin culture. The evening runs the gamut from powerful and mysterious, through shimmering enchantment to a joyous explosion of Brazilian pizzazz.

The epic and emotionally charged Anthem was created by the company in 2019 by Spain’s Goyo Montero, resident choreographer with Cuba’s Acosta Danza.  Anthem reflects on life cycles and collective identities, inspired by songs that become hymns – anthems – for an individual, a group, a generation or a nation. Montero’s frequent collaborator Owen Belton provides a unifying and uplifting sound score.

Nacho Duato, artistic director of the Mikhailovsky Ballet, brings the intensity of Mediterranean heat and colour to his sensual Gnawa. Created in 2005 and restaged by São Paulo Dance Company in 2009, it’s a dance work under the spell of the hypnotic, ritualistic music of North Africa (created by seven composers – Hassan Hakmoun, Adam Rudolph, Juan Alberto Arteche, Javier Paxariño, Rabih Abou-Khalil, Velez and Kusur e Sarkissian).Duato was inspired by the mystical Islamic fellowship of the Gnawa people, brought to North Africa by the Berber as slaves.

Brazilian choreographer Cassi Abranches’ colourful and flirtatious Agora provides an exhilarating finale. Created in 2019, this is the third commission for the company from Abranches, a former dancer with iconic Brazilian company, Grupo Corpo. Exploring time and rhythm, she sculpts the movement of each dancer’s body to the percussive beats and bass grooves of

Sebastian Piracés’ score, mixing drums and Afro-Brazilian percussion with rock music and vocals.

Since its founding by Brazil’s state government in 2008, São Paulo Dance Company has been under the leadership of its charismatic artistic director, Inês Bogéa.  A dancer, film-maker and writer, Bogéa is widely credited with having built a superb classically-trained company which has produced over 100 dance works, almost 50 of them original commissions, and performed to more than 900,000 people in 18 different countries.

Bogéa says: In 1994, I toured British theatres as a dancer with Grupo Corpo. It was a very intense time, full of art and exchange of experiences. 30 years later, as São Paulo Dance Company’s artistic director, I am thrilled to be back in the UK and Ireland on this Dance Consortium tour. We hope our art opens an expressive, intense and enjoyable channel of communication with our audiences.”

Tickets for São Paulo Dance Company (Tuesday 13– Wednesday 14 February 2024) are on sale at or 02380 711811.

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