Tuesday, March 5, 7:30pm
Aspen District Theater

Paulo Pederneiras 
Rodrigo Pederneiras 
Ágatha Faro, Bianca Victal, Davi Gabriel,
Dayanne Amaral, Débora Roots, Edésio Nunes,
Giulia Madureira, Isabella Accorsi,
Jônatas Itaparica, Jonathande Paula,
Karen Rangel, Luan Barcelos, Luan Batista,
Lucas Saraiva, Malu Figueirôa, Rafael Bittar,
Tris Martins, Vitória Lopes,
Walleyson Malaquias, Yasmin Almeida



Choreography by Rodrigo Pederneiras | Music by Gilberto Gil 
Scenography and lighting by Paulo Pederneiras |Costumes by Freusa Zechmeister 

The rites of ‘Umbanda’ – one of the most widely practiced Brazil-born religions, which resulted from a combination of ‘Candomblé’ with Catholicism and Kardecism – serve as the great source of inspiration for the aesthetic scene design of Gira.

‘Exu’, the most human of the ‘Orixás’ – without whom, in religions of African origin, the ritual simply won’t happen – is the main poetic imagery which evokes the eleven musical themes especially created by Metá Metá, for Gira.

First and foremost, the artistic creators of Grupo Corpo had to delve into the universe of Afro-Brazilian religions in preparation for the theme proposed by Metá Metá. However, the performance is far from being a mimetic representation of these syncretic rituals. Instead, the choreographer Rodrigo Pederneiras re(constructs) the powerful glossary of gestures and movement he accessed as he experienced rites of  ‘Camdomblé’ as well as ‘Umbanda’, particularly  ‘Exu’ ceremonies (giras de Exu).

Paulo Pederneiras conceived the stage design as an installation or a non-setting, in which he covers the bodies of the dancers off stage with the same black tulle as the three walls of the black box, turning them into the ether and this way creating an eerie atmosphere of endlessness.

As for the costumes, Freusa Zechmeister adopts the same language for the whole cast, both female and male dancers: naked torso and the other half of the body in white skirts of primitive cutting and raw linen




Choreography by Rodrigo Pederneiras | Music by Metá Metá
Set Design by Paulo Pederneiras  | Costumes by Freusa Zechmeister
Lighting Design by Paulo Pederneiras and Gabriel Pederneiras 

The soundtrack, created by one of the godfathers of Brazilian music, Gilberto Gil, was first heard by Paulo and Rodrigo Pederneiras in 2019. Its initial onstage interpretation – GIL – followed soon after. Three years later (including a lengthy interruption caused by the Covid-19 pandemic) the music is back on the stage in a new incarnation, and in a spirit of renewing, rebuilding, revising, reviving. Remaking. “It’s a new show,” says Grupo Corpo artistic director Paulo Pederneiras. That spirit is captured in the name: GIL REFAZENDO (Gil Remaking). Like Gilberto Gil’s music, which is based on a rereading of the Bahian songwriter’s most famous themes, the ballet has been reconstructed in its entirety.

The scenography is supported by a minutely shifting background image. “These are magnified images of sunflowers slowly coming back to life,” says Paulo Pederneiras. Dressed in raw linen – female dancers in shirts over a two-piece knitted outfit, male dancers in casual pants and shirts – the performers dance under a “simple white” light, he explains. In the music, phrases and themes from Gilberto Gil songs emerge – reworked, but in perfectly recognizable variations, with ancestral drums, electronic distortions, afoxé1, modinha2, berimbau3 and a jazzy woodwind section.

1 Afro-Brazilian musical instrument composed of a gourd wrapped with a net threaded with beads.

2 a type of sentimental love song

3 a single-string percussion instrument or musical bow, originally from Africa

The contemporary Brazilian dance company Grupo Corpo, founded by Paulo Pederneiras in 1975, in Belo Horizonte, State of Minas Gerais, Brazil, debuted its first work, Maria Maria, the very next year. Featuring original music by Milton Nascimento, a script by Fernando Brandt and choreography by the Argentine Oscar Araiz, the ballet would go on to spend six years on stage and tour fourteen countries. But even though the piece was an immediate critical, popular and commercial success, the group´s distinctive artistic identity, its long-term popularity and its artistic achievements have been the fruits of a long, arduous journey. As a result, the group started operating in its own premises as of 1978.  

     While the success of Maria Maria was still reverberating throughout Brazil and in various European and Latin American countries, Grupo Corpo (literally Body Group in English) never stopped working, staging no less than six productions between 1976 and 1982. In the first phase of the group´s existence, the influence of Araiz, who in 1980 would write O Último Trem, was evident in varying degrees in the dance troupe’s work. However, the company´s distinctive features and personality were chiefly molded by Paulo Pederneiras, the man responsible for sets and lighting the group´s performances and its artistic direction and the dancer Rodrigo Pederneiras, who left the stage in 1981 to assume the role of full-time choreographer.

     In 1985, the company launched what would be its second great success: Prelúdios, a theatrical piece incorporating twenty-four Chopin preludes interpreted by pianist Nelson Freire. The show debuted to public and critical acclaim at the First International Dance Festival of Rio de Janeiro and would cement the group´s reputation in the world of contemporary Brazilian dance.

     Grupo Corpo then entered a new phase, establishing its own unique theatrical language and choreography. Starting with an erudite repertoire featuring the works of Richard Strauss, Heitor Villa-Lobos and Edward Elgar, among others, the company began combining classical technique with a contemporary re-reading of popular Brazilian dance forms. This would become the group´s trademark.

     In 1989 the company debuted Missa do Orfanato, a complex theatrical reading of Mozart´s Missa Solemnis k.139. Almost operatic in dimensions, this ballet became such an esthetic triumph that, nearly two decades later, it remains in the company´s repertoire.

    The group underwent a radical transformation three years later with the production of 21, a ballet which confirmed the uniqueness of Rodrigo Pederneiras´s choreography and the unmistakable persona of the dance troupe. Utilizing the singular sounds of Brazilian instrumental group Uakti, as well as ten themes composed by Marco Antônio Guimarães, 21 leaves behind the group´s preoccupation with technical form and sees it taking apart melodies and rhythms in order to explore their underlying ideas. The decision to once again use specifically composed scores – a mark of the group´s first three shows in the 1970s – allowed it to further explore the language of popular Brazilian dance.

     In the work that followed, Nazareth (1993), Rodrigo Pederneiras´s fascination with traversing the worlds of both popular and erudite music found a perfect opportunity for fuller expression. Inspired by the verbal games of Brazilian literary icon Machado de Assis (1839-1908) and by the works of Ernesto Nazareth (1863-1934), a seminal figure in the formation of Brazilian popular music, the work was scored by composer and literary theorist José Miguel Wisnik. Though built on a solid, classical foundation, the production brought together in good-humored fashion the light-hearted and sensual elements inherent Brazilian popular dances.

     The partnership of Grupo Corpo with contemporary authors has been such a success that scores composed especially for the company have become the norm, and each score has inspired a new creation. An exception came in 2004 with the production of Lecuona, a work that drew on thirteen love songs by the Cuban composer Ernesto Lecuona (1895-1963) and in which Rodrigo Pederneiras demonstrated his gift for the creation of pas- de- deux.

     Beginning in the mid-1990s, Grupo Corpo intensified its international touring. Between 1996 and 1999, it was the resident dance company of the Maison de la Danse in Lyon, France. Several of the group´s creations (Bach, Parabelo and Benguelê) were first staged in Europe over this period.

     Today, having created more than 40 choreographies, the Brazilian dance company gives performances in places as distinctive as Iceland and South Korea, the United States and Lebanon, Italy and Singapore, the Netherlands and Israel, France and Japan, Canada and Mexico.

     The minimalism of Philip Glass, the vigorous pop and urban sounds of Arnaldo Antunes the primordial experimentalism of Tom Zé, the African sensibility of João Bosco, the metaphysical verse of Luís de Camões and Gregório de Mattos with the light touch of Caetano Veloso and Wisnik, the rootsy modernity of Lenine, the sound diversity of Moreno, Domenico and Kassin, the contemporary vision of Martin Codax’s medieval songs by Carlos Núñez and José Miguel Wisnik, the pop style of Samuel Rosa, the musical genius of Gilberto Gil, Grupo Corpo has drawn on all of these elements and more to produce shows of a very diverse character – cerebral, cosmopolitan, primitive, existential, tough – while always keeping in sight the company´s distinctive traits.

Répétitrices Ana Paula Cançado, Mariana do Rosário 

Dance Education Director Carmen Purri 

Maître de Ballet Elias Bouza 

Pianist Anna Maria Ferreira 

Director of Stage Engineering Pedro Pederneiras 

Technical Director Gabriel Pederneiras 

Technicians Átilla Gomes, Murilo Oliveira 

Wardrobe Assistants Alexandre Vasconcelos, Maria Luiza Magalhães 

Administrator Marcello Cláudio Teixeira 

Administrative Manager Kênia Grossi 

Financial Manager Antônio Emídio Resende 

Administrative Assistant Marcel Gordon Firing 

Secretary Flávia Labbate 

Communication Director Cristina Castilho 

Communication Assistant Mateus Castilho 

Program Director Cláudia Ribeiro 

Executive Producer Michelle Deslandes 

Production Assistant Gabi Junqueira 

Director of Social Projects Miriam Pederneiras 

Production Instituto Cultural Corpo