Once again, The Hopkins Center for The Arts, will have the pleasure to host a magnificent dance group, this time Companhia Urbana de Dança, on April 8 and 9.
Established in 2005 by the Brazilian choreographer Sonia Destri, Companhia Urbana de Dança strives to showcase the raw and magnificent talent found within the favelas of Rio de Janiero. Throughout the years the group has slightly changed with the recruitment of several new performers but Destri’s style has remained unaltered. Her unique style, which centers on the individual artistic and athletic ability of the performer, has garnered support on the international stage, where Destri won the Best Choreography prize from UNESCO. On top of that the group has proven to be successful on the home front, where they have won two awards from both the state and city of Rio de Janeiro.
While watching a video of the performers I was truly blown by the pure athleticism of the performers. As I watched the performers contorting their bodies in different ways, I was in awe, and asked myself, why isn’t urban dancing, or any dance for that matter considered an “athletic” activity? The mainstream media characterizes athletics as consisting of “team” or “contact” sports. It’s funny how ESPN, the self-proclaimed “World Wide Leader in Sports,” has failed to grasp a full understanding of athletic ability. As a member of the Dartmouth College football team, it’s safe to say that I do possess some athletic ability myself–well, as much as a lineman can have. However, I believe that it is simply ignorant to deny the fact that dancers are incredibly athletic.
Let’s consider what constitutes athletic ability, and what are some indicators that an individual is “athletic.” To begin, while executing their jaw-dropping performances, the dancers were covered in sweat, appeared convincingly conditioned, had great coordination and consistently appeared to be under an adrenaline rush. Do any of these traits sound familiar? Athletic ability should not be solely limited to media-supported sports like basketball or football, but instead it should be equally appreciated in the arts. The dancers performed so amazingly well that I am now even considering my own athletic ability in comparison to those from the favelas of Rio.
Companhia Urbana de Dança performs Friday and Saturday, April 8 and 9, 8 pm in The Moore Theater at the Hopkins Center for The Arts. Tickets available now at the Hop Box Office, online, or over the phone by calling (603) 646-2422.
By Michael Warren ’17
Michael Warren’17 is a Government major hailing from the great state of Minnesota. When he isn’t butting heads on the football field, he can most likely be found in the Hopkins Center working at the either the Box Office or for the Department of Audience Engagement. He enjoys any activity involving the outdoors, including fishing, hiking and camping.