Baila Brazil, Balé de Rua, Royal Festival Hall, London — review

Louise Levene – Financial Times, 8/11/2015 

After 90 minutes of relentless dancing, drumming and tumbling, the 14 performers of Balé de Rua might have been forgiven for a quick bow and a dash for the showers but instead they exploded into a series of encores, breakdancing and somersaulting with a free-form spontaneity that had been missing for much of this long, poorly focused show.

Balé de Rua was founded in 1992 by Fernando Narduchi, Marco Antônio Garcia and José Marciel Silva in the central Brazilian city of Uberlândia. Their aim was to recruit dancers without formal training and use their street skills — samba, capoeira, hip-hop and acrobatics — to celebrate Brazil’s multi-ethnic cultural heritage.

The staging is uncomplicated: some scaffolding, a few giant decorative dahlias and a lot of jammy red light. A backing track is supplemented by keyboard, guitar, trumpet and a variety of percussion — not so much drumming as CPR — and live singing by 16-year-old Alexia Falcão Lopes.

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