A living bridge for social and artistic exchange

Viver Brasil has centered and celebrated Brazil’s African legacy through bold, soulful and thought-provoking Afro-Brazilian dance theatre for close to two decades. On Friday, September 22, 2017 at 8:30pm, the Ford is proud to host this vibrant company of dancers and musicians as they celebrate their 20th anniversary on our newly renovated stage. 

Viver Brasil has performed at the Ford on numerous occasions so it was a natural fit for them to help us commemorate the completion of nearly three years of renovations at our civic dedication in July. Dancers from the company jubilantly brought the ceremonial red ribbon out on stage and once it was cut blessed the stage with a snippet of one of the dances they’ll be performing at their September show.

Viver Brasil with ceremonial red ribbon at Ford Theatres Civic Dedication ceremony
Viver Brasil dancers bringing the ceremonial red ribbon across the stage at the Ford's Civic Dedication ceremony.

Viver Brasil Celebrates 20 Years: Agô Ayó — Spirits Rising honors the ancestral wisdom of orixá dance and music, the socially charged dances of frevo, samba, and the bloco afro carnival spectacle with irrepressible and exuberant physicality, power and passion. Under the artistic direction of dancer and dance ethnologist Linda Yudin and Luiz Badaró, a native Bahian master dancer, choreographer and percussionist, Viver Brasil’s dancers unveil history, ignite the present, and imagine and inflame the future. 

Agô Ayó –– Spirits Rising features world premieres by two internationally renowned female Brazilian choreographers: Bahian-based Vera Passos and Los Angeles–based Marina Magalhães. “Para Onde a Samba Me Leva/Where the Samba Takes Me” pays homage to the great sambadeira Joselita Moreira da Cruz Silva (aka Zelita), whose life was dedicated to the preservation of the samba from the Reconcavo region of Bahia. Vera explores the steps and rhythms of the samba chula style with the same intensity in which the late Zelita lived her life: with joy, love, creativity, movement and action rooted in ancestral wisdom. 

In “Cor Da Pele/Skin Color,” Marina draws on cross-cultural parallels that connect people across the African Diaspora, examining our relationship with black ancestry and reclaiming the history of mixed-race people of color from Latin America and the U.S.         

The program also includes a celebration of the deities (orixás) or the divine forces of nature found in the spiritual practice descended from Brazil’s African ancestors, accompanied by new musical soundscapes created and performed live by Kahlil Cummings, Simon Carroll and Bobby Easton

Through its deep mastery of contemporary and traditional Afro-Brazilian dance forms, Viver Brasil is a living bridge for social and artistic exchange between Los Angeles and Salvador, Bahia, Brazil. With joy and jubilance, the company of dancers and musicians explores contemporary themes of race, gender and social equity through engaging dance and musical forms rooted in the sacred and contemporary tradition of Brazil.

- By Shannita Williams   

Viver Brasil Celebrates 20 Years: Agô Ayó — Spirits Rising takes place on Friday, September 22 at 8:30 PM. Tickets and info here.