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Dancers defy belief and gravity

PUBLISHED: 18:33 08 June 2009 | UPDATED: 13:35 24 August 2010

by Nadia Sam-Daliri The 16 Brazilian dancers whose gravity-defying blitz caused the Barbican Centre s floors to shudder, gave us the most genuine beams when the packed house stood in applause. I m not quite sure what it was because the s

by Nadia Sam-Daliri

The 16 Brazilian dancers whose gravity-defying blitz caused the Barbican Centre's floors to shudder, gave us the most genuine beams when the packed house stood in applause.

I'm not quite sure what it was because the show was by no means flawless but those performers emanated something infectious; something no doubt very Brazilian.

Maybe it was a two-fingers-up at recession obsession.

Out of their hips, subliminal messages read 'Who gives a cr*p about money when you can shake you're a*s like us?'

And they certainly could.

For one and a quarter hours, wisely not cut up by a break, 15 men and one woman went through a repertoire of Brazilian funk, hip-hop, African, samba and capoeira styles.

They started off with an homage to Wacko Jacko in the Smooth Criminal days - white suits, fedoras and the kind of body popping that makes your heart skip the odd beat.

Then we had samba of the highest calibre, mixed intermittently with very distinctive forms of Latin American hip-hop that is a little more rhythmic and a little less brash than conventional versions.

With little by way of narrative, the show came disturbingly to life with a scene depicting the plight of the country's slave ancestors.

Green, yellow and blue paint - the colours of the Brazilian flag - and red for tragedy were splattered over each dancer who in turn writhed to a rhythm that was both touching and unsettling.

The theme was fairly short-lived and it wasn't long before smiling faces and the spirit of a resolute people was back with us in the auditorium.

But the turbulent history of Latin America is displayed most poignantly in its dancing and the colonial theme became one of the show's most memorable points.

There was depth to the production that complimented the vibrancy and colour of the country's pulse.

With a hot summer in the pipeline, this show should act as a great prelude for some much-needed fun.

Balé de Rua was at the Barbican Centre, in Silk Street, Barbican.

See www.barbican.org.uk

nadia.sam-daliri@archant.co.uk


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