Bodacious Brazilian bodies of Grupo Corpo

Dance · Reviews

If you don’t speak Portuguese, but do speak slithering, sinuous, samba sensuality, you’re in good stead at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion in downtown Los Angeles this weekend. Contemporary dance troupe Grupo Corpo, visiting from Brazil, is in the house.

Grupo Corpo’s red-hot, audience-pleasing performance is part of the Glorya Kaufman Presents Dance at the Music Center series.

The Brazilians —  their shimmering, smartly garbed bodies in fighting form — boogie to a marathon finish in delivering choreographer Roderigo Pederneiras’s deft footwork and nonstop squiggles to a nouveau bossa nova beat. The nation’s unique cultural heritage, the derriere-wiggle, gets showcase treatment here.

Got ants in your pants? So does Grupo Corpo — but in a good way. Pederneiras is a dance maker who loves motion: traveling steps, and flowing, steady-building action. There are few tedious adagios; in fact, “Parabelo,” a forty-minute duet exploration, builds on a motif of a hand-holding couple pushing each other away with little hops. Perpetually linked, they still maintain distance.  And they use the space cleverly; an example is pictured at right.

Another of the company’s endearing trademarks, the tour en l’air ( a quick little 360-degree spinning jump) studs the movement chain without warning, or dancerly preparation, whatsoever. Instead, it’s dropped in like a bon mot. Pure joy to watch.

Grupo Corpo’s chicly designed, high-energy program recalls their American corollary, Pilobolus, in its heyday. But the pioneer of the pure-physicality genre looked dated and dreadful at a recent Long Beach performance.

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