Preparing the UK for a Brazilian visit

Forget about the World Cup. The only Brazilian team we can’t stop talking about right now is Grupo Corpo…

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Whilst all eyes are on Rio as they gear up to hold one of the world’s biggest sporting events this summer, in the smaller town of Belo Horizonte Grupo Corpo are preparing to make a return to the UK with Dance Consortium, their first nationwide tour here since 2005 (although you may remember them from the Edinburgh International Festival in 2010 and at Sadlers Wells in 2011!)

With this in mind we managed to catch Grupo Corpo as they ventured into Europe for the last time before the UK tour, heading to the quiet town of St Polten, just outside Vienna in Austria. They brought with them the two pieces they’re touring around the UK, Sem Mim and Parabelo giving us a good insight into the performances, and how they will appeal to UK audiences. Parabelo will appear at Sadler’s Wells along with another of their repertoire, Triz.

We were also given the chance to spend time with the company, meet the dancers, office staff, wardrobe, technical team and choreographer. It became apparent immediately that this is a company that look after each other and the company has a strong family feel. It is no surprise then that the Artistic Director, Choreographer and Technical Director are all brothers and set the company up themselves in their old family home 40 years ago. The traditions of being open and welcoming from back home in Belo Horizonte have transferred into the company. Many of the dancers have never left, instead they’ve become members of the technical, wardrobe or office teams.

Grupo Corpo warm up before rehearsals

Grupo Corpo warm up before rehearsals

Luckily, it wasn’t all work and we did have some time for horsing about. This came in the form of Dancing Horses. Austrian horses (think Olympic Dressage!), plus 4 Grupo Corpo dancers taking part in a photo shoot… yep, we didn’t think we’d see the day either. A dressage centre was opening up in St Polten and Grupo Corpo were part of their publicity campaign. They were pretty impressive though, so the chief executives of Dance Consortium shouldn’t be too surprised if a pitch for a UK tour of dancing Austrian horses hits their desks in the near future.