Brazil's Grupo Corpo comes to Victoria — virtually

ON STAGE

What: Grupo Corpo
Where: DanceVictoria.com
When: 5 p.m. Thursday Feb. 25 until 10 p.m. Sunday Feb. 28
Tickets: $25 from DanceVictoria.com

COVID-19 restrictions have led to a surge of online broadcasts, giving performing arts companies like Dance Victoria a world of new opportunities. Its Virtual Home Season, which got underway in November, has posted increasingly high numbers of viewers online.

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The popular virtual series continues this week with two performances by Grupo Corpo, the acclaimed Brazilian dance company. Parabelo and Dança Sinfônica, signature works created by Grupo Corpo choreographer Rodrigo Pederneiras, are available for streaming starting Thursday at 5 p.m. The feeds will be available online (for $25) until Sunday at 10 p.m.

With production, travel and accommodation costs off the table, Dance Victoria has been able to stage events for its supporters by international companies that would not normally fit the local dance company’s budget.

Grupo Corpo certainly qualifies. With the pandemic grounding most international flights, Dance Victoria producer Stephen White seized an opportunity and secured the rights to a pair of prerecorded Grupo Corpo performances.

“The company has been of interest to us for the past five or six years,” White said. “We were just never able to work it out logistically, so when the virtual season came along, they were one of the first companies we contacted.”

Pederneiras founded Grupo Corpo in 1975 in his hometown of Belo Horizonte, and has transitioned the company into one of the best-known contemporary dance groups in Brazil. Indigenous influences from Brazil, Europe and Africa find their way into every Pederneiras production, including Dança Sinfônica, which was created in 2015 to mark the company’s 40th anniversary.

Pederneiras will talk with Dr. Allana Lindgren, the University of Victoria’s associate dean of fine arts, in a conversation that will precede the online show. The chat, along with detailed digital program notes, cocktail demonstrations and discount vouchers from local retailers, is available to those who purchase tickets at DanceVictoria.com.

It’s all part of enticing viewers during one of the most difficult times in recent history for arts organizations.

“We didn’t know what to expect when we created our virtual season,” White said. “When we were first creating it, we basically lowballed what our expectations were, but we’ve easily exceeded those.”

Dance Victoria’s virtual season continues April 8 with performances by South Korea’s Bereishit Dance Company.

mdevlin@timescolonist.com

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