Regal Theatre, Perth
October 23, 2014
By Esther van Baren of Dance Informa.
Vibrant colours, infectious enthusiasm and beautiful bodies with a zest for life tell of a moving true story about a man named ‘Braz’. Braz Dos Santos, who plays himself, takes you on his incredible journey through his childhood struggle to “dance or die.”
With an impressive display of different Brazilian dance styles, Brazouka not only dances you through Braz’s journey but through the history of Lambazouk, a contemporary form of Lambada which once was known as “the forbidden dance.” The dancers’ fly you over to the birthplace of where it all began in the Northern State of Bahia in a town called Porto Seguro, Brazil.
Pamela Stephenson-Connolly, the co-creator, writer and producer of Brazouka, writes of her first discovery of Lambazouk and her first dance experience with Braz in Porto Seguro.
After a while I began to ask the obvious: “How is it that I (and most people outside of Brazil) have never seen these incredible dances, or witnessed the brilliance of those who have mastered them?”
Many of these dancers that Stephenson-Connolly came across share a similar journey to that of Braz, with many challenges and obstacles. With this thought, she wanted to make a way to bring these amazing, top-notch dancers to the stage and share their incredible journey with the world in what we are now privileged to see in Brazouka!
Even though at times formations were out of line and a little messy, it never distracted you as they danced with their whole heart and soul, with their infectious passion and joy of the dance, making you feel like you were dancing with them. Just as their bodies were captivating, moving and weaving through the space, so too were the girls’ long hair. Free flowing through the air, it enhanced their movements and sensuality; it was amazing to see how their hair never got in their way.
Only a recent show, Brazouka was first performed at the Gadyne Theatre in Dundee on Friday, July 25, 2014. It takes you on an emotional journey through Braz’s life, where you are encouraged to clap, dance, scream and make loud noises in response.
A must-see production that is full of life, hardship and joy, it leaves you with a fun surprise ending as the dancers conclude on such a high that you exit the theatre dancing and singing.
Photo (top): Brazouka. Photo courtesy of Brazouka.