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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Natural energy, artistic development, harmony, and the future of Brazil

Watch EmeraldPlanet’s video here, 7/12/2015

Guests:

Denise Milan, Creator, “Language of the Stones”; Co-Founder/Brazilian Team and Director, “Engage Earth” Art Education Project; Multimedia Artist, Public and Performance Art; Photographer; & Author; Denise Milan Studio, San Paulo, Brazil. (In-Studio)*

Dr. Jerome I. Friedman, Physics Professor Emeritus, and Nobel Laureate 1990 in Physics, Institute Professor, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Cambridge, Massachusetts, and Member, Board of Sponsors, Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, (By Skype)*,

Dr. Jeffreen M. Hayes, Principal, bridge/arts of Chicago, Curator, Scholar, and Educator, (By Skype)*,

Dr. Naomi H. Moniz, Department of Spanish and Portuguese, Brazilian Studies, & Comparative Literature, Georgetown University (Ret.), (By Skype)*.

For reference, also watch Brazil Institute’s Mist of the Earth: Art and Sustainability event here.

27 Reminders Why Brazil Is On Everyone’s Bucket List

Gabriela Kruschewsky – The Huffington Post, 7/15/2015

It has crossed your mind at least once … You, Brazil, a beach, sipping on some fresh coconut water that an endearing elderly man probably just chopped open for you with a machete — sun, relaxation, beauty.

Whether you’ve been dreaming of experiencing Carnaval in the South American paradise for years, or you’re just really thirsty for an ice-cold caipirinha, let’s face it. This country has most likely crept its way onto your travel bucket list.

Yes, Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo are both beautiful, but which other places should you visit when in Brazil? Voila — here are some gems that you’ll want on your radar for your next trip. Ready. Set. Brazil.

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Death of Brazilian singer shines spotlight on mainstream’s cultural disconnect

Bruce Douglas – The Guardian, 7/10/2015

With his chiselled jawline, immaculately groomed stubble and smile that could shift toothpaste by the ton, João Gabriel is immediately mobbed as he descends the stage into the crowd halfway through his set at Rio de Janeiro’s Lapa 40° club.

Unruffled, Gabriel’s grin never flickers or dims. The 29-year old singer has been doing this since he was nine, traipsing from bar to bar with his father.

It’s not samba, bossa-nova or baile funk that’s driving the crowd wild, however: Gabriel is a star of sertanejo, a kind of accordion-infused country pop, that is phenomenally successful in Brazil, if rather less so outside.

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Brazil’s tough laws on violence against women stymied by social norms

Melanie Hargreaves – The Guardian, 5/12/2015

As the negotiations continue towards agreeing a set of sustainable development goals (SDGs) to come into effect next year, tackling gender inequality remains high on the agenda.

The current draft of the SDGs contains a standalone goal on the issue, which includes a specific target to “eliminate all forms of violence against all women and girls in public and private spheres, including trafficking and sexual and other types of exploitation”.

It’s a welcome move – and certainly more hard-hitting than the gender equality requirements of the millennium development goals, which saw donor countries target aid at education and health in developing countries, while ignoring other areas crucial to women’s rights, such as countering gender-based violence.

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Amazonian tribes unite to demand Brazil stop hydroelectric dams

Jonathan Watts – The Guardian, 4/30/2015

Four Amazonian tribes have joined forces to oppose the construction of hydroelectric dams in their territory as the Brazilian government ramps up efforts to exploit the power of rivers in the world’s biggest forest.

The Munduruku, Apiaká, Kayabi and Rikbaktsa released a joint statement on Thursday demanding the halt of construction on a cascade of four dams on the Teles Pires – a tributary of the Tapajós.

They say the work at the main area of concern – the São Manoel dam – threatens water quality and fish stocks. The site has already reportedly expanded almost to the edge of a nearby village, although the local communities say they have not been consulted as they obliged to be under national laws and international standards.

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Why Brazilians are really going to miss supermodel Gisele

Dom Phillips – The Washington Post, 4/27/2015

At first glance, the glittering career of Brazilian supermodel Gisele Bündchen is not very Brazilian. The supermodel, who retired from the catwalks at age 34 on April 15 in a blizzard of publicity, has pursued her profession with a Teutonic single-mindedness and efficiency, as befits her family’s German roots.

Friends, industry professionals and colleagues used terms such as “punctual,” “secure investment” and “well educated” to describe her — terms rarely associated with models, fashion or, indeed, tropical, impulsive Brazil, where she is often described as an über-model, rather than a supermodel.

Nonetheless, Brazilians can claim her as their own. “Gisele is what most represents Brazil abroad. It is Pelé, carnival and Gisele,” said Fernanda Tavares, a New York-based Brazilian model who has been her friend since they started their careers together 20 years ago, at age 14. Tavares was among those who suggested that Bündchen will still do select catwalk shows, as well as her advertising contracts.

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