In its third outing with local dance presenter DanceHouse, the Brazilian contemporary dance company Grupo Corpo returns in a two-part program with the Vancouver premiere of Dança Sinfônica and Gira.

“The virtuosic company embodies the vitality and diversity of Brazil, reflecting at once its colourful folkloric traditions and contemporary spirit,” says  Jim Smith, artistic and executive director of DanceHouse in a media release. ”Audiences are invited to revisit some of the company’s best works from its repertoire with Dança Sinfônica, and then channel the metaphysical with their breathtaking new work Gira.

Opening the evening is Dança Sinfônica, a reflection on the company’s 40-year history from Grupo Corpo siblings, artistic director Paulo Pederneiras and choreographer Rodrigo Pederneiras. 

Created in 2015 to celebrate the company’s 40th anniversary, Dança Sinfônica is an eclectic fusion of ballet, samba, jazz, Afro-Brazilian rhythms and more. The work is set to a symphonic score composed specially for Grupo Corpo by long-time collaborator Marco Antônio Guimarães. The backdrop for the performance is a large-scale mosaic with more than 1,000 intimate and informal snapshots captured by the many people who have played a part in the company’s success.

The second half of the program will showcase the brothers’ work Gira, an exploration of the rituals of Umbanda, one of Brazil’s most widespread religions. Influenced by Rodrigo’s personal study of Umbanda worshippers, Gira – meaning to spin – the work is described as a poetic view of man’s primordial need to connect with the divine.

Founded by Paulo Pederneiras in 1975, it would be another six years before his brother Rodrigo would become the company’s resident choreographer following a career with Grupo Corpo as a dancer. Over its forty-five-year history, Grupo Corpo has established itself internationally, challenging audience perceptions of ballet and modern dance.

Grupo Corpo performs at the Vancouver Playhouse on February 28 & 29 Visit dancehouse.ca for tickets and information.