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This year’s dance programme offers a captivating range of styles. Brazilian dance company Grupo Corpo take to the stage and treat you to not one, but two UK premieres. In a show packed with a joyful exploration of Brazilian history, culture and spirituality, the legendary company will perform their iconic works Gil Refazendo and Gira. You’ll get a taste of many different sides of Brazilian culture, right here in Edinburgh!

So, whether you’re new to dance, or you’re a dance devotee, Grupo Corpo is certainly not one to miss.

two people locked in dance

40 Choreographies and Counting...

Founded in 1975, Grupo Corpo is a real family affair. Set up by brothers Paulo and Rodrigo Pederneiras, the two have consolidated their craft to create a dance company known for their distinct delivery. Both brothers are still involved with the company and have worked on the shows coming to Edinburgh this August; Rodrigo remains their Chief Choreographer, and Paulo is the Set and Lighting Designer.

Together, they’ve produced over 40 choreographies and performed across the globe. The literal translation of Grupo Corpo is ‘Body Group’, a rather apt summary, as the dancers are recognised for their synchronised movements as the company moves as one organism. Their performances combine Brazilian styles, ballet and contemporary dance. It’s fair to say that Grupo Corpo expands the realms of dance, making it poetic, experimental, and ritualistic.

Melodies and Movements

The music in Gil Refazendo is based on the dynamic work of Brazilian singer-songwriter Gilberto Gil. With a career spanning over 60 years, his style is celebrated for its blend of influences and genres, from rock, to samba, and reggae. Gilberto Gil’s legendary music is remade in Gil Refazendo, which breathes new life into favourite tunes. Gil was also Brazil’s former Minister of Culture.

When in office, he strived to secure accessible routes into music education for young people, from some of Brazil’s most deprived areas. As Gil’s signature sound fuses with Grupo Corpo’s dynamic choreography, you’ll gain a deeper, sensorial understanding of the music and its significance in Brazilian culture. Listen to this playlist to give you a taste of the tunes you can expect to hear in Grupo Corpo’s performance. Featuring music from Gilberto Gil and beyond.

The Rituals of Religion

Gira is the latter of the dynamic pieces making up Grupo Corpo’s performance. This piece was inspired by the rituals of one of the most practiced Afro-Brazilian religions, Umbanda.

The religion links to dance in more ways than you might think. For instance, it’s common practice for congregations to worship deities with chants and ritual dances, usually performed by spinning in circles. As Gira translates to ‘spin’, this piece seamlessly weaves the story of this ritual into the physical.

Spirit communication also takes centre stage in Umbanda rituals. The Ogan (a priest-like figure) will drum and sing to call in the Orixás (non-human spirits). Music and dance play a huge part in Afro-Brazilian religious ritual. Gira is a study of the movements involved in these religious practices and focusses on the ritual of communities coming together and acting as one.

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‘start[ing] with one dance with slow movements’ which gradually grows faster until, ‘the group is like just one person. Everybody’s together.’

Choreographer Rodrigo Pederneiras

Dance The Night(s) Away

Catch Grupo Corpo, Mon 5 – Wed 7 Aug, at Edinburgh Playhouse. 

Fancy checking out our other exhilarating dance shows? Assembly Hall combines contemporary dance with Arthurian cosplay in a comedic, yet enchanting blend of dance and theatre. Be astounded by the world premiere of Songs of the Bulbul, a contemplative exchange between Indian classical dance and Islamic poetry.

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Supported by Geoff and Mary Ball and Consulate General of Brazil in Edinburgh and Instituto Guimarães Rosa