Pros: Energetic dance moves that border on stunt work, and a fiercely colourful set.
Cons: Although not lacking vigour on the dancers’ part, it’s slightly too long for the audience.
With less than a year to go until the 2016 Olympics, Rio fever is sure to sweep the nation in the coming months. Giving us a small taste of what to expect from a city famed for its colourful street life, Balé de Rua brings Baila Brazil to the Capital. Storming the stage at the Royal Festival Hall, this fantastic company exhibits an explosive display of Brazilian dance. Loud, vibrant and bursting with energy, you certainly won’t know what’s hit you.
Easing us into the action, the performance opens with a lone dancer gracing the stage, setting us up to watch the story of Brazil’s rich history. Quickly joined by the rest of the troupe, we are hit with their relentless energy for the remainder of the show. Choreographed to perfection by Marco Antônio Garcia, the dancers effortlessly command the stage with such enthusiasm and fervour that it was easy to get carried away as the audience cheered and clapped along. True to its Brazilian roots, there was certainly a huge carnival element to the proceedings, with the wonderful flavour of Latin American culture superbly marrying with a number of different dance styles. An urban touch well and truly wowed, with a dance-off style break-dancing segment that was easily an audience favourite.
Just as mesmerising as the fluid moves of the dancers was the vivid set design. The exotic bursts of colour were as loud as the music, and the creative use of light in particular produced an electrifying ambiance, which helped to paint a wonderfully vivid picture of Brazilian life. I found myself watching in awe as the dancers made inventive use of bands of fabric in one routine. Impressive on its own, once illuminated from behind, the walls came alive with shadow, engulfing the audience in a dance of lights. Nicolas Simonin and Yoann Pellitier created an atmosphere to be proud of, with the lighting used masterfully throughout, expertly complementing the energetic tone of the piece.
Of course, a major factor in any good dance show is the music, and Baila Brazil had a truly captivating and electric score. Resident vocalist, Alexia Falcão Lopes, belted out songs with charisma; it was a real joy to behold. From more sombre numbers, depicting an age of slavery, to uplifting tunes which happily reminded me a little of The Lion King soundtrack, the whole performance was a feast for the senses. Culminating in a spectacular floral number towards the end of the performance, the use of bright flowers, dazzling costumes and heady drum beats perfectly summed up an incredible show.
A powerful piece, delivered with such flair, I do feel as though it could have been a little shorter. At 85 minutes with no interval, it’s a long time to sit still in a room so alive with energy. In fact some of the younger audience members started to get a little antsy, and a few late exits were made, sadly distracting slightly from the final moments. That being said, the performers delivered a firework of a show through to the end, and the audience left in a rather lively mood. So take a trip to the vibrant streets of Brazil without ever leaving London. I promise you won’t regret it.
Presented by: Balé de Rua
Director: Fernando Narduchi
Choreographer: Marco Antônio Garcia
Producers: Thierry Suc and Pierre Morand
Booking Until: 15th August 2015
Box Office: 0207 960 4200
Booking Link: http://www.southbankcentre.co.uk/whatson/baila-brazil-90781