After Nyne’s Laura Andrew speaks to Fernando Narduchi, one of the founders and co-directors of Brazilian dance company Balé de Rua, about their upcoming production Baila Brazil that will be performed at the Southbank Centre’s Festival of Love, August 5 – 15.
What’s the story behind Baila Brazil?
Baila Brazil is about the Brazilian spirit, and the richness and diversity of the Brazilian culture. It’s about the heritage and influence of Afro-Brazilian culture and its deep contribution to the national identity of Brazil. It’s a celebration of the fight of the black people of Brazil to be free from slavery.
What does dance mean to you?
On a personal level I love the movement; the body in motion and the feelings that come from it. Dance is ritual, ecstasy and trance. To dance is to be connected with higher level of existence. To dance is to be real. More broadly speaking, I think dance has the power to change lives. It is a group activity and so you learn to work together, to respect each other. People living in poor areas often feel like they are forgotten. Dance vies them the opposite feeling. It reminds us of our humanity and so makes us stronger and more aware of our existence.
Baila Brazil draws inspiration from a wide set of dance genres – north-American street dance, capoeira and samba, to name few. What can the audience expect to see at the company’s performance at the Southbank Festival of Love?
We always wanted to make our own form of dance with its own Brazilian identity. We opened ourselves to the rich variety of Brazilian styles of music and dance. So we are not afraid to mix Bach with rap or Mozart with hip hop or samba with capoeira. Audiences can expect to see that diversity of influences in our performance. I think our creations are a kind of a meeting point between the erudite and popular culture.
Your company, Balé de Rua, is more than a dance company – every year you train 300 children from local Uberlandia communities. Has this social mission always been at the core of Balé de Rua?
The work that we do with young people is of major importance to our company and always has been. That’s how we bring new dancers in to our professional crew. We have a project called “New Talents” which is like a dance school. We train new dancers and we pass on our philosophy and our style of dance to new generations. We inspire them and we are inspired by them. We give them dance and we give them respect. In return, they give us a lot of energy and fresh motivation to keep on going.
What do you want the audience to take away the Baila Brazil performances at the Southbank Centre?
We want to demonstrate the vibrancy and courage of the Brazilian people, their energy and the colourful cultural universe of the country. I hope the British audience will gain a deeper understanding of our culture. But mostly we want to make the audience leave the theatre feeling somehow better. What we deliver, in the end, is love.
What’s next on the horizon for Balé de Rua?
We will always be looking for new inspiration, researching new styles of dance and creating new work. But I hope that we can go one step further and build a theatre of our own that is dedicated to dance. That would be something that could last forever.
Tickets from £15. For more information, go to: http://www.southbankcentre.co.uk/whatson/baila-brazil-90781