I have joked about my lack of dance knowledge on Theatre South East before so when I was invited with the TheatreBloggers to see a group of Street Dancers from Brazil perform at the Royal Festival Hall I did wonder what I was letting myself in for!
Baila Brazil | Review
The group is called Balé du Rua (literally translated as Street Ballet) and they are originally from a small city in the centre of Brazil. The dancers, choreographed by Marco Antônio Garcia, have created a completely new style of dance, a fusion of samba, street dance and capoeira, through their dedication and hard work they now travel internationally to bring their energetic and intoxicating dance style to a worldwide audience.
The company comprises of just over a dozen dancers who dance with energy and vigour to a heavy percussion beat and to a stunning Brazilian vocalist Alexia Lopes Falcão. You cannot help but admire their sheer strength and athletic ability as they use a variety of martial arts and acrobatics as well as dance.
The performance lasts 90mins with no interval and the time passed quickly. Interest was kept due to change of pace between dances, clever lighting techniques and different props such as golden dishes the size of dustbin lids, neon flower headdresses and black straps that tethered all the dancers all together with clever lighting techniques meant that boredom wasn’t an option.
The audience are encouraged to clap and sing along to many of the numbers which all added to the fun.
There is obviously a lot of symbolism in their dancing which I would have loved to have learnt more about, but generally the dancers were fantastic and full of life.
I must have a whinge (yet again) about outrageous audience behaviour! I am sorry if I sound like a broken record.
Not only were many people in the audience using their cameras/phones which was extremely distracting but one couple in particular arrived a full twenty minutes late, bringing in drinks and snacks from the bar, which they obviously felt were more important than being seated on time. They then proceeded to talk and laugh all the way through the performance, both managing (separately) to leave and go to the toilet during the 90 minutes all of which ruined the viewing experience for many people around them.
A Masterclass in Brazilan Street Ballet
After certain performances there is a dance workshop in the ballroom area of the Royal Festival Hall run by the cast – where they got their energy from for this, I shall have no idea.
This was fabulous fun and everyone of all ages and dancing abilities loved it. The theatrebloggers group was no exception. Fuelled by the delicious Brazilian caipirinhas we took to the dance floor, where the dancers taught us a few steps which were quickly built in a routine. Even the dancers amongst the theatreblogger group learned something new and we all felt as though we had had a jolly good workout session. The dance workshop was thoroughly exhilarating and extremely entertaining and comes highly recommended by all of us.
Baila Brazil is being performed at the Royal Festival hall at the Southbank Centre
Wednesday 5 – Saturday 15 August
2.30pm performances on Saturday 8 August and Saturday 15 August
3pm performance on Sunday 9 August (no 7.30pm performance)
Post-show free dance workshops (The Clore Ballroom at Royal Festival Hall)
Thursday 6, Wednesday 12 and Thursday 13 August, 9.30pm