I want to be a dance company and not a social project. I want to show the world that we can change the game through dance. I KNOW we can do something. I want to build it: a new way of moving, a new way of dancing, a new way of showing the world who we are, of showing that the dancers are able to grow up past despair, of showing how racist Brazilian society is…How can I help? By doing what I am doing—as a dance company.
To be with this company is everything…joy, a way to look at the world. Every day is a chance to talk about things; every rehearsal is an opportunity to grow; every performance is a chance to show our potential as human beings and citizens.
“It was like a miracle, like a bright light. I saw that I could be myself.”— André Feijão, on becoming a dancer.
You. We…All Black (Nêgo)
Current studies show that a young, poor black man dies every 25 minutes from street violence in Brazil: approximately two young, poor black men per hour, 48 each day, 335 each week, and 1,344 each month. This approximates the death toll of many ongoing wars around the world.
The piece was born out of informal conversations with the company dancers about suffering and dealing with prejudice. An account of lived experience that doesn’t talk about it literally. It thinks about it. And it dances about it. Nêgo is everyone in this company. The warriors of the city of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, young Afro-Brazilians from the margins of the city who decided that they weren’t going to become statistics: Rafael Balbino, Johnny Britto, André Feijão, Miguel Fernandes, Jessica Nascimento, Julio Rocha, Tiago Sousa, Allan Wagner, and Thiago Williams.
Hip hop is just one part of it—hip hop did not belong to us. Samba, capoeira, maculele, jongo, gafiera belong to us. I want the dancers to have bodies that can answer, that know a way, not the way to get there. The forms are an instrument, not the final result.
“I want them to come with an empty glass, so life can fill it.”— Sonia Destri
Na Pista arose from the investigation of each individual dancer’s roots, with choreography inspired by the rhythms that were part of their daily lives growing up in the favelas of Rio de Janeiro. The complexity of the human experience within this environment, the individuality of the movement—and freedom as an omnipresent element.