EDN’s Encounter Brazil took place from 5th November to 9th November in Sao Paulo during the Festival Contemporaneo de Sao Paulo. There were five representatives on behalf of EDN: Yvonne Kreuzmannova from Tanec Praha, Paul Johnson from Dance Ireland, Laurent Meheust from KLAP Maison pour la danse, José Laginha from DeVIR CAPa and Matti Numminen from Form (formerly known as Dance House Helsinki).

Form's director Matti Numminen shares his impressions of the Encounter.

Encountering the dance scene: meeting artists and people who work with them

Discovering the contemporary dance community of Sao Paolo

For me, the idea of the encounter was to get an overview of a Brasilian (more specifically Sao Paolo’s) contemporary dance community, their artistic practice and of course get to know the local artists. The second purpose was to share our experiences of the network, especially the European Dance House Network. To achieve these goals, it was evident to meet a lot of artists and people who work with them.

This encounter was arranged together with the Festival Contemporaneo de Sao Paolo. From the festival’s behalf, our lovely hosts were Amaury Cacciacarro Filho and Adriana Grechi. They have created an exciting programme for us to enjoy. We had a chance to participate in pitching sessions in Centro Cultural São Paulo. Artists who gave us pitches were: Leandro de Souza, Daniel Fagus Kairoz, Pedro Galiza, Clarissa Sacchelli, Clarice Lima, Elisa Ohtake, Marta Soares, Eliana de Santana, Marcos Moraes.

A programme full of visits and performances

Visiting local residencies

We did two trips to different residences: Casa Líquida and House of Fukushima. First of these is a beautiful residency founded by a Sao Paulo actress and it is available for different kinds of artists. Casa Líquida offers a gorgeous glass wall studio constructed for artists. We were there to witness Elisabete Finguer’s work MONSTRA.

The House of Fukushima is located a bit further from the city centre. It is a house owned by Eduardo Fukushima who is a choreographer, dancer and teacher. Eduardo also lives in this house where there is a medium-sized studio for rehearsals. The basic idea behind this residence is to offer a place for rehearsals because it is hard to find affordable spaces to create new works in Sao Paulo. At the House of Fukushima, we got a preview of Fukushima’s and Beatriz Sano’s future work.

In addition to these pitches and visits, we got a chance to see a few performances during the Festival Contemporaneo de Sao Paulo. First one was Parnaíba Gabriel’s Solos de Marrabenta which we all saw and the second one was Ligia Lewis’ Minor matter.

Looking at enhancing collaboration and enforcing local dance field

Connecting EDN with the local dance field

Every member from EDN gave a presentation of their organization and about EDN activities and structure. There was a substantial local interest towards creating a network to support Brazilian dance artists, and we spent time talking about different kinds of options enhancing collaboration and enforcing local dance field.

The visit was a wake-up call

For me, this encounter was eye-opening. In Nordic countries, we are so used to our welfare and fairly good subsidies for arts. The political climate in Brazil is extreme and suffocating for artists to work. Most of the artists we met work with meagre income and had poor working conditions in general. This applies to public art organizations as well. Still, there is an urgent need to produce their works and act against far-right politics. For me, the visit was a wake-up call. If we look at the political evolution we are facing in Europe we should be worried as art institutions and artists. We don’t want to end up being pushed into the outskirts of our society, we should save our free stand in society, and that is something to fight for.

Matti Numminen
Director
Form (formerly known as Dance House Helsinki)

Picture: Pitch Session with EDN members, photo by Jonia Guimaraes.

Tanssin Talo

Director I Matti Numminen
Helsinki I Finland

EDN member since
September 2013

Tanec Praha

PONEC - dance venue

Founder and Director I Yvona Kreuzmannová
Prague I Czech Republic

Member since April 2015

KLAP

Maison pour la Danse

Artistic director I Michel Kelemenis
Marseille I France

Member since June 2011

DeVIR | CAPa

Algarve Centre for Performing arts

Artistic director I José Laginha
Faro I Portugal

Founding member of the association in May 2009

Dance Ireland

Artistic director I Paul Johnson
Dublin I Ireland