16/05  | 20:30
    17/05  | 20:30
    18/05  | 20:30

€ 18 / € 15
50 min
PT (language no problem)

The Portuguese word cria has two literal meanings: ‘young being’ and ‘to create’. In Brazil it is used to convey the favela you come from: ‘I am cria from Complexo’. With CRIA, Brazilian choreographer Alice Ripoll combines these social, vital and affective interpretations into a rhythmic and sensual whole. Ten dancing bodies establish relationships of production, seduction and affection. Their movements propagate to a mix of funk and contemporary music inspired by Dancinha (‘little dance’), an urban dance style from Rio de Janeiro. After her triumphant dance performance aCORdo last year, Alice Ripoll returns this time with her group Suave to celebrate life as a state of caringness.

See also: Free School: Passinho Dance

Director: Alice Ripoll
Dancers: Tiobil Dançarino Brabo, Kinho JP, VN Dan.arino Brabo, Nyandra Fernandes, May Eassy, Romulo Galvão, Sanderson BDD, Thamires Candida, GB Dan.arino Brabo, Ronald Sheick
Director’s assistant & sound technician: Alan Ferreira
Lightning: Andréa Capella
Costumes: Raquel Theo
Funk musical direction: DJ Pop Andrade
Design: Caick Carvalho
Manager: Rafael Fernandes
Distribution: ART HAPPENS

Presentation: Kunstenfestivaldesarts, Le 140
Support: Centro Coreográfico da Cidade do Rio de Janeiro, Casa do Jongo, Rafael Machado Fisioterapia

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The year was 2014 and we, at Festival Panorama in Rio, had a bitter sweet feeling about the project we were doing in the outskirts of the city, taking contemporary dance shows to theatres that had no habit of showing it. One night, spending great time with friends in a massive dance ball in the far north area of town – near the neighbourhood where I was raised – it hit me that at least a thousand people were there to dance and that they performed organised forms of dance. Ball dances are a tradition in Rio. All kinds of dance forms can be part of it: be it samba, salon dances or more traditional dance forms. When urban dances arrived in town, DJs founded a new tradition of competitive hip hop and street dance balls, ‘charme balls’ (highly choreographed balls with mostly black music, R&B and melodic rap) and, most recently, funk balls and its original dance form called passinho

We then started asking ourselves how we could approach these explorative dance forms, their codes and techniques, as a vocabulary for contemporary dance, without categorising it by classic labels as “hip hop” or “contemporary dance”. In fact, because some of those dance forms were still so new that they did not even have been organised as such. What if those teens and young adults that were devoting their lives, and most of their free time, to learn a specific and very difficult dance, could be part of a professional dance creation? We posed those questions to three contemporary choreographers from Rio. The very young Alice Ripoll was one of them and chose the still new passinho as a frame.

So there she went. As a bourgeois white girl that made conceptual works, she organised an audition for passinho dancers and tried to create a piece with them, about the funk from Rio, the life in the favelas and being a young Brazilian. It was not easy and we would already be happy if the piece would be created at all and could première. But it so did, and the dance piece Suave became the first piece Alice did with this group of dancers, just then merely kids. ‘Suave’ also became the name of the group, because the piece became an instant hit and was seen by thousands in Brazil and around the world. Suddenly, that group of dancers that did not even had a professional past was now concerned about visas, osteopaths, and how to teach passinho to people around the world in their popular workshops. ‘Suave’ (meaning smooth) was now both a piece and a cast.

Alice continued to work in other projects and two years ago she premiered the short and precise aCORdo, an experiment in movement that confronts us with our racism and leaves us behind with a hard sinking feeling. In parallel, the Suave group and Alice decided to create something new together. To create is a verb that in Portuguese, unlike in English, means ‘creating something’, yes, but also ‘raising a child’. Alice just had her baby and so the idea of creating something, be it a dance show, a child or a community, became the centre of her research and was given the name Cria. The word ‘cria’ refers to the object, the child, the thing that is created or raised. Also, it refers to the act of creating itself, when done by someone. Latin languages are thought, you know.

What we finally see on stage in CRIA is the result of a research about sexuality, family and parenthood, friendship and community. Countless dance forms are activated by the moving bodies of the Suave members: passinho, break dance, the freshly new dancinha, voguing, samba… they are all displayed as a collection of forms. It looks as if the act of creating those dances is dissected in its parts and reassembled every time. They are performed by the kids, the teens, the adults, the men and women, by the cis and trans people that formed and still form company Suave. The dancers are all black, yet highly diverse. They propose a mash up of abilities and stories. They pulse to the beat and cross the stage as a living gallery of bodies and dances that can only originate in the unique pot called Rio.

By taking these virtuous and super technical solo dances from their informal background and bringing them to the stage, Alice succeeds in breaching our original expectations of how to organise – or dominate – the urban dance vocabulary within the codes of contemporary dance. Show runs, last man standing acts, and other competition modes are welcome. These formats are very natural in the context of non-theatrical dances and balls and very organic to passinho, dancinha, samba. And most of CRIA is structured by these dances. The social friction is also there when the dancer Mayla shows off her hair dance, a very popular type of competition in the LGBTI community, on a formal theatrical stage.

And because it became impossible to talk about Rio without addressing the issue of violence – especially if you are a cria (raised) of a favela – gun shots may interfere in dance. At some point we hear the sounds of a shootout, recorded by a mobile at home. To those very privileged humans who are not used to hear this sound daily, it is scary and hard to identify. But just like the lives of people living in violent neighbourhoods in Rio, the dance goes on. It goes on, sometimes even when someone is hit and a body collapses on the sidewalk.

The images that are evoked by CRIA tease our preconceptions about contemporary dance and how it is presented on stage. They can be hard to absorb, but their force easily makes the audience feel strangely dislocated. At least, if they can resist the urge to applaud after each act of virtuosity. This appeal of virtuosity – present in any form of dance based on the difficulty of execution – is a risk they seem to accept to share they bodies, sounds and dances with us. 

Nayse Lopez

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Alice Ripoll was born in Rio de Janeiro. She was studying to be a psychoanalyst at age 21, and took a deviant path to start study dance, once she felt very curious about possibilities of the bodies and movement research. Alice graduated at Angel Vianna's school, which is a very important center for dance and motor rehabilitation, and started to work as a choreographer. She directed many pieces, performed a few pieces - mostly of herself, and also worked with actors and circus artist. Currently her work embraces contemporary dance and urban dance styles from Brazil, through a research that opens space for the dancers to transform into images the experiences and memories that still live in each one. Alice directs two groups: REC and SUAVE. Her shows have been performed in several festivals in Brazil, such as Panorama Festival, Bienal SESC de Dança, Dança Gamboa Festival, Ceará Dance Biennial and Trisca- Arts Festival for Children; and abroad: Kampnagel - Internationales Sommerfestival, Zurich Theater Spektakel, Noorderzon Performing Arts, Rencontres Chorégraphiques Internationales de Saine-Saint-Denis; Projeto Brazil (in 4 cities in Germany: HAU in Berlin, Hellerau in Dresden, Tanzhaus in Düsseldorf and Mousonturm in Frankfurt), Centre National de la Danse (Paris), Festival de La Cité Lausanne, Norrlandsoperan (Umeå) and Kunstenfestivaldesarts (Brussels).

Directed by the choreographer Alice Ripoll, the group SUAVE began with the creation of the performance Suave, which premiered at the Panorama Festival in 2014. Having as inspiration the passinho (short step), a new style of urban dance that derived from Rio de Janeiro's funk, the show stands out for its unique energy, the quality of its performers and the refinement of the structure created by the choreographer. The second performance of the group, CRIA, premiered in 2017. Inspired by the Dancinha (little dance), a derivation from Passinho dance, the performance explores a mixture of affection and sensuality through the interweaving of funk with contemporary dance. The shows were presented in several festivals and theaters around the world, such as HAU - Hebbel Am Ufe, Tanzhaus NRW, Mousonturm, HELLERAU, CND - Centre National de la Danse, Festival de la Cité Lausanne, Hamburg Summer Festival, Zurich Theater Spektakel, Noorderzon Performing Arts Festival, and Norrlandsoperan.

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