Onqoto and Parabelo | Grupo Corpo
Onqoto and Parabelo was a visual feast as the lean, strong bodies of the Brazilian dance company, Grupo Corpo stomped and leaped their way across the stage of His Majesty's Theatre. Two pieces were performed, each about 45 minutes long and separated by an interval.
The dancing is extremely high energy, moving fluidly from group to solo and back again. The choreography by Rodrigo Pederneiras allowed each dancer to bring their individual sense of flair to the movement while still maintaining a sense of unity. The costumes were for the most part leotards of varying styles and colours, but always accentuating the incredible shapes of the dancers.
The notes in the program outline the themes, inspirations and meaning of each piece; however I failed to make the connection between them and the interpretation I extracted last night. Parabelo, the first act, was designed to inspire imagery of rural Brazil. I would agree that the music was certainly more rustic, in fact I would argue that in some parts I actually found it abrasive to the ear. Onqoto was inspired by the rivalry between Rio de Janeiro's two leading soccer teams. If there was a storyline intended in either piece it was tenuous at best, however this didn't detract from my appreciation of the skill or enjoyment of the art.
Aside from the brilliantly executed, fun and vivid group pieces, there were several performed by couples only which stood out as particularly memorable. In the second act, there was a section in which two couples demonstrated very different emotional approaches to a sexual encounter. Within both couples, the movements varied from tender and supportive to positively violent.
The lighting was an overwhelming asset to the whole production. The colours and perspectives that it brought out in the shapes on the stage were nothing short of outstanding. Under my observation, there were two lighting triumphs; that was the couple's routine in the first act which barely flickered like a dim candlelight highlighting only small portions of the female's body at one time, and the man's torso only. The second was toward the end of the second act when, in a magical feat of control, strength and pure beauty, one of the male dancers crept like an insect into a tightly focussed red light, moving in an inhuman way. His form grew larger as he approached until slowly and carefully he stood and lifted his head to reveal his naked, statuesque physique.
Grupo Corpo has a long history, having been established in 1975 and continue to perform in dozens of countries worldwide. The Brazilian dance company maintains 10 ballets in its repertoire and the two they presented in Perth thrilled the Arts Festival crowd.
2012 Perth International Arts Festival
Onqotô & Parabelo
Venue: His Majesty's Theatre, Perth
Dates: March 1 – 4, 2012
Tickets: $76.50 – $25.00