Grupo Corpo – Missa do Orfanato | 1989

Glorious music and powerful dancing are seen in this excerpt from Rodrigo Pederneiras’s ballet called, Missa do Orfanato. This was danced by the Brazilian company, Grupo Corpo in 1989. The music is the K. 139 by Amadeus Mozart, 1768.

It is really interesting to see where choreographically this company has evolved from. Sadly this piece is no longer performed, but was considered one of the masterpieces that remained in the company repertoire until 1997. At that point the choreographic style of the company changed to evolve with the times.

All the components of this work combine to create an atmosphere of great religious experience and reverence. In particular the lighting plays an important part. The balance between the light and shadows, simulating a Caravaggio painting, were used to enhance dramatic visual and choreographic effects. Throughout we see a large mass of descending light that decomposes into smoke infused beams reminiscent of the fracturing light rays pouring through stained glass cathedral windows. This light is used to symbolize God’s Power.

The massive set is painted in earth tones, ash grays and rust to resemble the ruins of a cathedral. It is monumental in size and infused with great spiritual presence designed to create a crushing and oppressive power over the vastitude of humanity.

The costumes resemble everyday dress made from silk and raw flax, aged and dyed in gray and earthly brown hues to enhance the image of a crowd of ordinary human pilgrims seeking redemption and salvation.

And finally, Pederneiras used the dancers to symbolize the inherent frailty within the human condition. He has dancers reaching upwards with outstretched arms and uplifted faces towards the heavens only to fall earth bound to fear and hopeless escape from their worldly and transitory nature.

This piece is ultimately a compassionate ode to the Passion for Humanity.

I just love the dancing in this video. The choreography is stark, powerful and beautifully grounded by the expressive use of the dancers contracted torsos, reminiscent of supplicating figures in Renaissance paintings or Martha Grahams contracted spine that speak emotional volumes. The groundedness, enhanced by the earth tones, seems only to enhance Mozart’s rich and glorious music.

To me it would be a dream to dance this expressive and emotionally powerful choreography to this music. To me there is no more powerful combination of the expressive possibilities of contemporary movement combined with classical music such as this. I would give anything to see the whole ballet. It looks like a real treasure from anther era.

Please enjoy the excerpt from this masterpiece by this wonderful company! And SHARE!


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