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Curator’s Notes

A Brazilian Force: Focus Cia de Dança

We open our Global Dance Connections series with Brazil’s Focus Cia de Dança, October 2-4. Our Executive Director Mirna Zagar provides some background on this wonderful company:

Focus Cia de Dança was founded nearly twenty years ago. This brilliant contemporary dance company has toured Brazil, Europe and the US extensively, and gives an astonishing 100+ performances a year. This will be the company’s first West Coast appearance: as you watch the dynamic, sensual work unfold you will soon see why Focus Cia De Dança has found huge audience success at home and abroad, with its surging physicality and poetic depth.

Alex Neoral is the Artistic Director and choreographer of Focus. His choreographic vision is rooted in Brazilian tradition which is already a blend of different cultures, but he also weaves into it with fierce conviction elements of modern, ballet and contemporary techniques. He is a sought-after teacher so we are pleased to be able to introduce him to our professional dance community through a choreographic workshop on October 2; he works from time to time with drama and musical theatre, and also directs carnivals.

Still Reich comprises four works choreographed to the propulsive music of the iconic American composer Steve Reich. Pathways is built on intricate duets; Trilas explores how everything can change in a moment; Wood Steps is inspired by nomadic life; and Keta shows the ensemble working at maximum power and velocity. Alex cites Reich’s music as a significant influence on his development as a dancemaker and how he works with movement and music. You will also be mesmerized not only by the extraordinary dancers but also with the complex partnering and sculpted shapes.

For me, Alex’s choreography embodies movement that builds art and meaning around daily life in his home city of Rio de Janeiro, evoking the atmosphere of this multicultural city full of sensuality, life and magic. The evening is a celebration of movement, sound, and rhythm.

Alex’s own words express the heart of his work: I am a Brazilian choreographer, dancer and artist. I live in a country where the rhythm is in the body and the movement is in the soul. We are a mixture of cultures and ethnicities but, besides this richness, we are still learning how to develop our education and training. I started studying dance when I was 15 and art is something that makes me feel alive and necessary for the world, especially for my country. It would be wonderful if everybody could realize that art is essential for the society and makes the world a better place to live.

I would like to thank to our partners, Montreal’s Festival Quartier Danses, and Halifax’s Live Art Dance,  who joined forces with us to bring this exciting company here in a cross-Canada tour.  Rafik Sabbagh, Artistic Director of Festival Quartiers Danses, initiated the collaboration, describing the company as “a unique and beautiful choreographic gem”. I too was touched by the magical atmosphere, the sensuality and the physical capabilities of the dancers, and the joy that we experience in the audience.


The Dance Centre presents the Global Dance Connections series

Focus Cia de Dança: Still Reich

Wednesday-Friday October 2-4, 2019 | 8pm
Scotiabank Dance Centre


Photos: Fernanda Vallois