Gustavo Ciríaco on Grupo Corpo


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Gustavo Ciríaco is a contemporary dancer and choreographer based in Rio. In 1995 he and Gustavo Ciríaco Frederico Paredes formed a comic performance partnership called Dupla de Dança Ikswalsinats (Stanislawski spelt backwards). Their company, as well as their independent work, are in the official programme of the Year of Brazil in France, with further touring scheduled for November 2005. Gustavo was asked what Grupo Corpo means to him. Here’s his reply:

For many years Grupo Corpo was the sign of a new kind of dance in the Brazilian territories, an alternative to ballet and at the same time a spectacle of dance which involved Brazilian rhythms and dances in a very particular idiom. Besides that, it was very admirable that they had successfully built up such a high standard of professionalism and such a secure structure for themselves. The company’s artistic career was marked by the high quality of its artists, and the warmth of the public for its work. As Gustavo Ciríaco for me, a Brazilian artist, the mere existence of a group like Grupo Corpo made possible my own wish of becoming a dancer. It’s not easy to survive as a dance-choreographer living in a Third World country, even with all the recent improvements in Brazil. There are millions of miserable people in this country. Doing art is a battle against a general disbelief in considering what we artists do as work. We have to prove our value daily, and together build up better conditions for our community. Again, for me, Grupo Corpo has played a sensational role in this battle.

In relation to the dances themselves, I am particularly fond of Missa do Orfanato and 21. The former was the first time I ever saw Grupo Corpo. I was 19 years old, and recently back from a one-year student exchange visit to Norway. It was my first time as well, I think, at the Teatro Municipal, Rio´s majestic opera house. The whole experience cast a romantic spell over me. My relation with 21 was quite different. I got very caught up in this dance, in kinetic terms. I remember my friends and I from dance school trying to repeat the movements and, in this way, sort of trying to make the experience last longer, the nice sensation that 21 so cleverly impressed in our senses.

To finish, although my own artistic work is far from that of Grupo Corpo´s, the company is part of my history and that of Brazilian culture.