Contempo Physical Dance returns to The Cowles Center with the world premiere of SenZalma, a new full-length work choreographed by Marciano Silva dos Santos with original music by Brazilian composer, Divan. SenZalma is inspired by the historic poem, O Navio Negreiro (The Slave Ship), by the renowned Brazilian writer and poet, Castro Alves, whose profound writing and vivid imagery incites fervent and sublime explorations of the company’s dynamic fusion of Afro-Brazilian dance, Capoeira and contemporary dance. The performance will feature visual and lighting design by award-winning artists Josh Sarantitis and Mike Grogan.
Contempo Physical Dance aspires to be internationally recognized for its dynamic fusion of Afro-Brazilian dance, capoeira and contemporary dance. The company is dedicated to contemporary dance research, the creation of vibrant new movement, and the performance of dance works that challenge human physicality and invigorate audiences everywhere. Founder, artistic director and choreographer, Marciano Silva dos Santos, is a native of Brazil and came to the United States after being recognized by the American Folkloric Society as a culturally diverse artist of exceptional merit. His rigorous approach to body-based research produces distinct Brazilian-imbued movement palettes and highly physical choreographic works.
For more information on the performers, click here: http://www.contempophysicaldance.org/dancers.html
DIVANIR ANTONIO GATTAMORTA (Composer), known as Divan, is from São Paulo, Brazil. He is a composer, saxophone player and percussionist with a specialty in composing and accompanying music for dance. He graduated in Saxophone Performance from the New School of Music and in Pedagogy from the University of Lutheran of Brazil. Since 1985 he has worked in the Music Department within the Body Arts Program at the State University of Campinas (Unicamp) in São Paulo, Brazil.
Listen to his music here: https://soundcloud.com/divamusico
Antônio de Castro Alves (1847 –1871), was a romantic poet whose sympathy for the Brazilian abolitionist cause won him the name “poet of the slaves.” He was a dominant figure among the Condoreira (Condor) school of poets, who are likened to the high-flying Condor birds of the Americas for their elevated style and dedication to lofty causes. Alves' lyric poem, O Navio Negreiro, The Slave Ship, provided inspiration for SenZalma.
Excerpt from The Slave Ship:
Lord God of the unfortunate!
Tell Me Lord God!
If it is madness...or truth
So much horror under the skies?!
Oh sea, why do you not erase
With the sponge of the waves,
Your mantle, this blot?...
Stars! Nights! Tempests!
Ross down from the immensity!
Sweep the seas, typhoon!
Read the entire poem here:
Watch the entire PBS film "Black in Latin America" here: http://video.pbs.org/video/1906000944/
In Brazil, Professor Gates delves behind the façade of Carnival to discover how this "rainbow nation" is waking up to its legacy as the world's largest slave economy.
Trying to play an authentic samba groove on the drumset within the Brazilian style is impossible without first learning about the instruments, the playing techniques, and the rhythms that make up the batteria (percussion section).
In this lesson series, Berklee College of Music Percussion Professor Mark Walker will introduce you to the Surdo, the Tamboim and the Gansa and, after laying the stylistic foundation, will apply it to the drumset.
Full lesson series:
Afro-Brazilian Dance: Dance forms transplanted, maintained and developed by descendants of African slaves in Brazil. Much of the movement can be traced to the dances of the Orixas in the Yoruba spiritual traditions passed to Brazil.
Balance: A state of equilibrium referring to the balance of weight or the spatial arrangement of bodies. Designs may be balanced on both sides of center (symmetrical) or balanced off center (asymmetrical).
Capoeira: Capoeira is a Brazilian martial art form that combines elements of dance and music. It was developed in Brazil mainly by descendants of African slaves.
Choreographer: The person who creates the movement or dance.
Choreography: Creation and composition of dances by arranging or inventing steps, movements, and pattern of movements.
Contemporary: Of the present time; current.
Counterbalance: A weight that balances another weight. In dance it usually refers to one or more dancers combining their weight in stillness or in motion to achieve a movement or design that is interdependent. Any limit moving in one direction must be given a counterweight.
Improvisation: Movement created spontaneously, which ranges from freeform to highly structured environments, always including an element of chance.
Locomotion: A form of physical movement progressing from one place to another. Basic locomotion movements include walking, running, galloping, jumping, hopping, skipping, sliding, leaping.
Musicality: A dancer’s attention and responsiveness to musical elements.
Partner/group skills: Skills requiring cooperation, coordination, and dependence: including imitation, lead and follow, echo, mirroring, and call and response.
Pathways: A line along which a person or part of the person, such as an arm or head, moves (e.g., her arm took a circular path, or he traveled along a zigzag pathway).
Polyrhythm: The simultaneous combination of contrasting rhythms, multiple rhythmic elements being performed simultaneously.
Rhythm: A structure of movement patterns in time; a movement with a regular succession of string and weak elements; the pattern produced by emphasis and duration of notes in music.
Samba: A Brazilian dance form performed to music in 2/4 time with three steps to every bar of music. There are many types of samba in Brazil, the most traditional of which is the samba de roda, a rhythmic Afro-Brazilian dance form usually performed in a circle. One typical samba move is the umbigada, where the dancer invites her successor into the circle’s center. This move in particular was clearly influenced by social dances of the Bantu people of Niger.
Shape: A position of the body in space, such as curved, straight, angular, twisted, symmetrical, asymmetrical, etc.
Space: An element of dance that refers to the immediate spherical space surrounding the body in all directions. Use of space includes shape, direction, path, range, and level of movement. Space is also the location of a performed dance.
Tempo: The speed of music or movement
Time: An element of dance involving rhythm, phrasing, tempo, accent, and duration. Time can be metered, as in music, or based on body rhythms, such as breath, emotions, and heartbeat.
Watch this clip of the Contempo Physical Dance 2012 performance of Batuque and respond to the questions below as a class.
Critical Response is a structured process that allows responders to pay close attention to a particular piece of art, text, or a performance. Through guidance of a facilitator, a group responds to these five questions:
1-What do you notice?
2-What does it remind you of? (memory, experience, story, music...)
3- What emotions do you feel as you respond to this work?
4-What questions does it raise for you ("I wonder...")
5- What meaning or understanding is intended or conveyed in this work?
How it works: Students work in groups of three.
-Student #1 creates a rhythmic movement phrase.
-Student #2 watches the movement phrase and then captures the rhythm and energy of the movement by sounding it out with various syllables (e.g. ba, do, shh, ha, zip, whop, zap).
-Student #3 has kept their back turned the whole time, so they did not see the movement, but could only hear the rhythm being sounded out. Then they create their own movement phrase, which matches the rhythm but may be different than the original movement phrase.
-Students exchange roles and repeat several times.
Suggestion: It can be just as interesting to watch other students try to match the rhythms with their own movement, so you may also try this activity as an entire class by rotating students through the roles and having the rest of the class as an audience.
1- What sounds or movements were the most surprising to your ears or eyes?
2- Why do you think the title was SenZalma?
3- What have you learned about Brazilian culture from watching this performance, or what can you infer about Brazilian culture?
4- Choreographer Marciano Silva dos Santos fuses African and Brazilian dance, capoeira, and contemporary dance. Did you see one movement form emerging more than another in this work?
5- Can you think of another art form that uses a fusion of various forms or styles?
6- If you read the excerpt from The Slave Ship, were there any images from the poem that you felt were recreated or evoked in the performance?