Nine dancers start moving and alternately form a primitive mass and the sum of different individuals. This mutating collective works its way through worlds that are built up out of paradoxical images that feel both familiar and unfamiliar. Dizzying scenes of dominance and submission, exuberance and apathy, joy and pain merge to form an unsettling whole. Fúria depicts a transformative process that moves from celebration to uprising and war. The latest creation of Brazilian choreographer Lia Rodrigues is not only virtuoso and inventive, but also politically and socially committed. As the driving force behind Centro Arte da Maré, an arts centre in one of Rio’s biggest favelas, Rodrigues makes no distinction between her dance and the heterogeneous community in which she is firmly rooted. Neither does Fúria shy away from the complexity of alterity.
Free School: Núcleo Dance Class
Free School: Inventing Schools #2, a talk with Lia Rodrigues & Faustin Linyekula
Choreography: Lia Rodrigues
Dramaturgy: Silvia Soter
Light design: Nicolas Boudier
Artistic collaboration: Sammi Landweer
Assistant choreography: Amalia Lima
Dance & creation: Leonardo Nunes, Felipe Vian, Clara Cavalcanti, Carolina Repetto, Valentina Fittipaldi, Andrey Silva, Karoll Silva, Larissa Lima, Ricardo Xavier
Music: excerpts of traditional songs and dances of Kanack New Caledonia
Presentation: Kunstenfestivaldesarts, Théâtre National Wallonie-Bruxelles
Production: Chaillot – Théâtre national de la Danse (Paris)
With support of: Fondation d’entreprise Hermès as part of its New Settings programme
Coproduction: Kunstenfestivaldesarts (Brussels), Chaillot – Théâtre national de la Danse (Paris), Centquatre Paris, Fondation d’entreprise Hermès in the frame of the programme New Settings, Festival d’Automne de Paris, MA scène-nationale, Pays de Montbéliard, Künstlerhaus Mousonturm Frankfurt am Main, festival “Frankfurter Position 2019 –BHF-Bank-Stiftung”, Teatro Municipal do Porto, Festival DDD (Portugal), Theater Freiburg, Les Hivernales-CDNC (France), Muffatwerk (Munich)
In association with: Chaillot – Thé.tre national de la Danse (Paris); Festival d’Automne à Paris for performances at Chaillot – Théâtre national de la Danse (Paris)
With support of: Adami
Lia Rodrigues is associate artist at Chaillot – Théâtre national de la Danse (Paris) and at Centquatre-Paris
Thanks to: Zeca Assumpção, Inês Assumpção, Alexandre Seabra, Mendel Landweer, Jacques Segueilla, the team of Centro de Artes da Maré and of Redes da Maré
The strong Fúria of Lia Rodrigues
Brazilian artist Lia Rodrigues established her company and set up a dance school in the Maré favela in Rio de Janeiro. She presents her new creation, Fúria. “The imagination is a place of freedom.”
What was your inspiration for Fúria?
The dancers and I worked from images we’d collected. Images from all over the world, but particularly those illustrating the life of black people in Brazil. The writer Conceição Evaristo, who is Afro-Brazilian and comes from a favela, was like a beacon for us in our research. She helped us a great deal when we were thinking about this piece. We worked with anything we found in our space, old clothes, a small bit of wood, a little piece of plastic thrown in a corner. We tried to create poetry out of these broken and discarded bits and pieces.
How do you work with your dancers?
In this piece I’m working with nine dancers who are all very different. Four of them come from our school and that’s really emotional for me. I’ve known them since they were teenagers and now they’re artists talking with their own voices! The dancers improvise and I’m trying to organise what we want to say together. It’s like a big laboratory we’ve been bringing material into for nine months. The piece is written day to day with everyone’s involvement. I organise the ideas that emerge, the desires, the thoughts; we talk a lot.
Is there a great deal of visual work in Fúria, like there is in your earlier pieces?
Unlike other pieces where the audience shared the space with the dancers, this one is performed front on. We wanted to have this experience and it changes things a lot. Even if, as I said, we work with quite limited material, we’re trying to create a specific ambiance, a kind of Brazilian baroque with costumes and characters. At the moment more than half of the dancers are living in the Maré favela. They bring this singular imagi-nary world, different colours, a particular aesthetic. We have figures of kings, queens, made out of nothing. And I love this magic of nothing. We’re positioning ourselves in a kind of non-linear narrative, close to imagination and dreams. The piece is being created at this particular, terrible time of elections that will have a big impact on people, especially in the favela. Fúria surrounds us, we’re immersed in it. So what can we bring to it all? Perhaps a bit of calm and silence. But above all imagination, which is a place of freedom.
Interview by Delphine Baffour
Published in La Terrasse, 21 October 2018 – nr. 270
Born in Brazil, Lia Rodrigues established Groupo Andança in 1977 after studying classical ballet in São Paulo. She lived in France between 1980 and 1982, joining Maguy Marin’s dance company. When she returned to Brazil, she moved to Rio de Janeiro and set up the Lia Rodrigues Companhia de Danças. Her choreographies have won numerous awards in Brazil and abroad. She set up the annual Panorama Rioarte de Dança contemporary dance festival in 1992, running it until 2005. In France, she created one of the Fables à la Fontaine in 2005 and Hymnen in 2007. La Ferme du Buisson offered her a Carte Blanche in April 2010 and the French government made her a Chevalier dans l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres. Her creations include Ce dont nous sommes faits (2000), Formas Breves (2002) Incarnat (2005), Chantiers poétiques (2008), Pororoca (2009) and Piracema (2011). She has been based in the Maré favela in Rio de Janeiro since 2003, working on artistic and teaching projects