Brazil Blog #4: When ballet meets reggae
Royal Opera House party in Rio treated to performances by community project.
Roberta Marquez of The Royal Ballet at an Afroreggae workshop in Rio, Brazil © Luiz Guilherme Guerreiro, 2013
It’s been a busy week for the team from the Royal Opera House who’ve been in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; working with community groups before gala performances at the city’s Theatro Municipal.
Brazilian Principal of The Royal Ballet Roberta Marquez and others from the group had the opportunity to visit one of Afro Reggae’s community projects in a favela in the north of the city.
First up was an amazing drumming group, Afro Lata, followed by a presentation by young ballet dancers. A more contemporary group then came on stage and invited Roberta to join and improvise with them.
Roberta met and talked with some of the many young people involved in the arts projects run by Afro Reggae. Everyone on the visit came away inspired and exhilarated by what they saw.
Director of Learning and Engagement Paul Reeve has been blogging throughout.
Paul’s first dispatch examined the question as to whether ballet can improve people’s lives. Closer to home, the Royal Opera House runs Chance to Dance in South London and Thurrock, allowing those without prior experience of dance a chance to experience an enriching art form. As part of the team’s trip to Brazil, a symposium questioned the extent to which the skills developed through dance can be applied elsewhere in life. Read Paul’s blog examining how ballet can improve lives.
A Royal Ballet workshop with teachers saw university students, educators taking dance class together and examining how teachers themselves can develop their skills. It was heartening to see how teachers in both Brazil and the UK are driven by the same values and beliefs. Read Paul’s blog about fostering teachers’ development.
The debate over creativity versus technique in ballet was the theme of Paul’s third blog, dividing opinion among those present at a symposium organized as part of the visit. One young dancer at the event commented ‘Ballet is not a technique; it’s an artform that requires technique’. Read Paul’s blog about balancing creativity and technique in ballet.
Following a week of workshops and talks, Artists from The Royal Ballet and Royal Opera will take to the stage of the Theatro Municipal: they open the season with performances tonight and tomorrow.
We are grateful to the Oak Foundation and the British Council for their support of this trip.
Find out more about the Royal Opera House’s trip to Brazil and read a Q&A with Brazilian Royal Ballet Dancer Roberta Marquez.