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Companhia Urbana de Dança Makes Madison Debut

Troupe melds the grit of the street performer with the skill and grace of the trained dancer


Direct from the favelas of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Companhia Urbana de Dança will take the stage in Capitol Theater at Overture Center on Wednesday, April 27, at 7:30 p.m.

“Companhia Urbana de Dança is so wonderful that it seems miraculous,” said Brian Seibert of The New York Times.

Founded in Brazil in 2004/2005 by dancer Tiago Sousa and choreographer and artistic director Sonia Destri Lie, Companhia Urbana de Dança is an ensemble of street performers working to foster the human experience through dance. Destri’s experience traveling through Europe for work in theater and film exposed her to hip-hop and b-boy techniques. Highly influenced by Brazilian street forms, she began to integrate these techniques into her already established contemporary movement sensibility.

When Companhia Urbana de Dança made its US debut at New York City Center in 2010, the eyes of even the most ‘‘been-there-saw-that’’ critics opened wide with amazement. Destri’s boldly original mix of contemporary Brazilian dance and hip-hop infused both forms with new rigor, meditative one moment, explosive the next. Locating the true heart of hip-hop, Destri strips it of its easy tricks, bringing it back to its original emotional depth, expressive range, and poetic integrity.

Pulling from the favelas of Rio de Janeiro where many of the company members grew up, Companhia Urbana de Dança aims to transcend cultural boundaries, while showcasing eclectic skill sets. The work of Companhia Urbana de Dança brings its dancers’ identities, testimonials, and attitudes to the stage, and it does that with a “carioca”, Afro-Brazilian accent, which is nevertheless universal. The group is firmly positioned in the most contemporary urban dance scene in Brazil and internationally. It highlights the talents of young black, and poor Brazilians in the modern world, from an affirming and pluralist stance.