Beyond Samba – Contemporary Brazilian Dance in London        

With Carnival in Brazil  all eyes will be on the “sambódromo“ in Rio with the traditional samba parade. Brazil’s dance is almost stigmatized internationally as it is immediately translated into samba. However, London is a fantastic place to know another side of the country’s culture.

  1. Jean Abreu Dance Company

Having Gilbert & George as its first Patron, Jean Abreu is a rising star in Brazilian contemporary dance. Born in Brazil, Jean won the Jerwood Choreography Award in 2003 and has lived in London ever since, performing at major venues such as the Southbank Centre and The Royal Opera House.


His work is interdisciplinary, drawing influences from sculpture to film, with a “non-judgemental approach to movement, body language and culture”. Considering how Brazil is a melting pot of cultures, this is not surprising. Jean’s method is open and democratic and one can say that the Brazilian twist is perceived on its emotional style.

His new work “A Thread” is being developed in partnership with visual artist Elisa Bracher, exploring the relationship between weight and balance through the dynamic between body and objects. It is loosely based on the Sisyphus tale:

“ Bracing himself and thrusting with hands and feet he pushed the boulder up hill to the top. But every time, as he was about to send it toppling over the crest, its sheer weight turned it back, and once again towards the plain the pitiless rock rolled down”  – (The Torment of Sisyphus)


Bracher’s sculptures are mainly made from wood and tend to be massive objects that occupy the space, entering the field of public art. Born and raised in São Paulo, Brazil’s megalopolis, the artist also developed an extensive engraving work, marked by dense black shapes, usually abstracted from urban landscapes.

Untitled, 2012
Untitled, 2012

You can get one of her limited works for £1000 at the crowd funding campaign for “A Thread”.


      2. Irineu Nogueira

If you want to experience a Brazilian contemporary dance technique, head over to The Place and check the times for Irineu, which fuses Afro-Brazilian Dance and Samba. For more than 15 years developing his own dance language worldwide (called Abieié, which means regeneration in the Yorùbá language), he experiments in a contemporary form of Brazilian dance styles with expressions of African rhythms.