Sadler’s Wells welcomes Bruno Beltrão and Grupo de Rua with their show Crackz, part of this year’s LIFT festival that aims to gather globally unique artistic experiences in London. Crackz definitely fits in this category of unique experiences. What was created on stage can classify as a new genre for this Brazilian dance group, who specialise in combining hip-hop and breakdance with influences of many other styles such as capoeira, martial arts and contemporary dance.
Bruno Beltrão directs this show through the concept of assimilating and copying random and culturally diverse actions found on the Internet by the dancers. He questions the value of a work of art in this new world ruled by the digital era where everything ever done is recorded and registered for your contemplation. The performers gathered existing material, available online, rearranged it, offering a new perspective and presented it to us as a finished work of art. I believe that to be the process of every new idea. One is not actually creating something new but rather offering a different view of the existing world. For me that is legitimate invaluable art.
With thirteen performers on stage and only one woman in this mix, Crackz is pumping with talent. Though the research of these human actions and their execution was flawless, I did feel that the show lacked the editing of that collected and perfected material. Performers did bring moments of incredible speed or powerful stillness and a permanent and dangerous closeness to the ground as this rooted earthy style asks for. But the constant repetition of the gestures that worked as a theme for the piece may have dragged for too long and removed the excitement of what is coming next. The lighting design was beautifully engineered and created exquisite contours to the performers bodies in the space. However, at times, the light was too low and an effort had to be made to see the performers. Further to this, in some of the gaps of the show the audience was left in the dark for far too long.
The immense empty stage of Sadler’s Wells was a just canvas for such a physically powerful show but it all felt distant and I personally missed the joy and intimacy of dance. The most vibrant part of the show was in the end, after the performers greeted and bowed to the clapping audience, as this was followed by an energetic demonstration of each one’s moves and individual tricks through which their personality glowed.
One certainly leaves in awe of their abilities, the glorious moving images created, the speed and precision, the taste of the Brazilian life in the ‘favelas’ and above all the human connections portrayed through dance. But one also leaves wanting more of a personal relationship with each performer and their particular way of dancing – paradoxically I keep searching for the ensemble piece where the individuality can also shine through. 3/5
Review written by Sofia Moura.
Crackz was performed at Sadler’s Wells as part of this year’s LIFT Festival. For more information on current productions at this year’s festival, visit here…