Grupo Corpo at Auditorium Theatre Review – Bonito!


Grupo Corpo’s unique movement signature dazzles and hypnotizes  (Choreographer: Rodrigo Pederneiras). 



This group from Brazil brought a new dance alphabet to the Auditorium Theatre’s stage, showing Chicago audiences yet again that we can count on the Auditorium to scour the globe and bring us stellar talents from the dance world that engage us in new conversations about what the many genres of dance can be. 



This was an especially Brazilian performance, showcasing off-the-beaten Brazilian path music that was so interesting that it often trumped the ever-so-athletic and graceful dancers for your attention.



Unlike the pastiche of shorter works that have become the norm for nearly all US dance troupes including the acts within full-length ballets, Grupo Corpo’s performance featured only two works, each 40+ minutes. 



This format meant that each piece drilled down deep into the details of movement vocabulary at its core.



While other troupes use variety of stringing short works together to hold our attention, Grupo Corpo seems to say, “No, you come explore the movement vocabulary of this work in the detail that we have.” 



“Sem Mim”, which means “without me”, was first up. 



Imagine rippling torsos, leaps so gentle that they seem to be powered by Helium, and  a distinct minimal lack of arm movements, so much so that the very different celtic dance traditions come to your mind at times. 



In skin toned costumes patterned with tattoos, the dancers kept your eyes darting back and forth across the stage ever hungry for the variations on variations on variations of what was unfolding. 



Of particular note was the pas de deux in a net like cloud created by the dynamic set. 



The female dancer at times seemed less a human body than a geometric form moving in a vector. 



It was a reminder that the skillset of not only these soloists but the entire troupe was sensational.



At one point all the dancers—male and female—begin dancing with twirling short skirts that helped to accentuate stark angles made by their feet or knees.



The music of “Sem Mim” (Carlos Nunez and Jose Miguel Wisnik, based on songs by Martin Codax) went a long way in creating their distinct signature.  From the program, “This piece is composed from the only set of original sheet music from the Galician-Portuguese medieval profane songbook and depicts the famous cycle of the ocean in Vigo, by Martin Codax.  The seven chants, called the “Friend chants”, date from the 13th century and are the oldest testimony of the most appreciated survivals of troubadouresque tradition in the region at that time.”   This was mesmerizing music and worth an exploration in its own right, which you can begin doing on Youtube here—



“Onqotô” was the second work, also with music , though quite different, was also captivating (Music by Caetano Veloso and Jose Miguel Wisnik). 




“Onqotô”s subject matter is the big bang theory, soccer matches, and “stressing the feeling of helplessness before the universe that is inherent in the human condition”. 



Distinct from “Sem Mim” the dancers were called upon more to bounce than ripple. 



But what was the same was the astoundingly fluid movements that showed the athleticism of the dancers--- all superstars. 



Let’s hope that the Auditorium Theatre brings back Grupo Corpo in the coming years. 



Or, you too may start researching where their home of Belo Horizonte is, with an eye to making it a stop on a Brazilian journey. 


Auditorium Theatre is celebrating its 125th Anniversary, including many dance performances by Chicago’s world-class troupes and their equivalents from around the globe. 


For information and tickets for future Auditorium Theatre dance performances call 800 982 ARTS (2787) or visit the Auditorium online box office.


Auditorium Theatre

50 East Congress Parkway

Chicago, IL












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