Quartet of Pirouettes

Cultural memoryscapes; sophisticated movement; everyday sounds, rhythms, and speech patterns: the tools used by four challenging contemporary choreographers participating in the dance element of the Florida-Brazil arts collaboration known as FLA/BRA. Elevating the dialogue between sound and motion to a lively debate, the works offer vibrant perspectives on creativity, humanity, and spirituality.

Demetrius Klein (on the bill at Mikhail Baryshnikov's recent Broward performance) brings a soprano and an acoustic guitarist onstage for his solo turn in Four Love Songs and a Madrigal. Founder of Brazil's Atelier de Coreografia, João Saldanha combines music by legendary composer Gyorgy Ligeti and the virtuosity of pianist Glenn Gould with a recorded interview of Saldanha's father (a famous journalist and soccer player) in Tres Meninas e um Garoto (Three Girls and a Boy), a solo created for dancer Marcelo Braga.

After garnering critical acclaim at the 1998 Inroads conference, Quasar Dance Company returns to Miami with Coreografia para Ouvir (Choreography for Listening) (1999) by 35-year-old sensation Henrique Rodovalho. A powerful journey through spare silences and dense Brazilian rhythms, the work fulfills director Rodovalho's hope of taking us “where the eye traces one reality and the ear another.” This avant-garde troupe, known for gritty representations of street life, charges seamlessly through an extended series of vignettes in which solos meld into duets, evolve into quartets and trios, and then slide back into solos. Against a backdrop that resembles a cave wall, the six members, wearing scant outfits that reveal their muscled bodies, are urban primitives, whether scuttling and bouncing incredibly on hands and toes like insects in some bizarre mating dance or simply tranquil.

Choreographer and dancer Giovanni Luquini contributes his new solo, Dog Dog, to the dynamic mix. Inspired by orishas (deities) of the candomblé religion, the Miami transplant acts as a spiritual tour guide through African cultural and religious influences that permeate his native home in northeastern Brazil. Intended to evoke the pure pleasure and simple happiness embodied by the titular creature, the piece, Luquini says, emerged from a primal place. He explains that as a result, his movements can be likened to the meditative strokes of a sculptor. As he subtly carves his long and lean body through the space, Luquini leaves the bustling high-tech world so present in his other pieces if not completely behind, then to the care of others. “I'm learning to delegate,” the 42-year-old Luquini admits. Calling on the talents of video artist Benton C. Bainbridge and sound artist Andrew Yeomanson (a.k.a. DJ Le Spam), Luquini describes Dog Dog as an equilateral triangle of sensation, a blending of texture, color, movement, and sound. The loose collaborative relationship was frequently informed by a monthslong residency Luquini conducted with local elementary school children, who will show off the fruits of their experience, Pereres, at the program's intermission. “What changed for me is how open I have to be,” he reveals. “The only work up to me now is to trust that it will be beautiful.”