If the idea of spending the evening watching a dance performance makes you want to bolt for the door, but your best friend/significant other/preteen daughter loves the stuff, this is the show that might just work for you both. Brazil’s Grupo de Rua is an all-male hip-hop troupe from Rio de Janeiro—one of the dance capitals of the world. Artistic Director Bruno Beltrão grew up popping, locking, tumbling, and head spinning on the city’s streets and made the bridge to the contemporary dance world in 2001. Since then, he’s taken his fusion art form on the road, touring through Europe with his all-male company. And their visit to UCSB’s Campbell Hall on Tuesday, January 26, marks their debut U.S. tour.
Break dance usually is characterized by set structures and formalized battle or competition between individuals or groups, but in Beltrão’s choreography, the acrobatic forms of hip-hop are set free from those forms. The group’s current work, H3, premiered in Belgium in 2008 and has since been hailed by critics as raw, astonishing, and nuanced. Expect the percussive rhythms and explosive movement of break dancing, but also a minimalist approach to staging movement. Grupo de Rua takes the dance itself as its subject, bypassing the bling of break dance fashion and corporate hip-hop music to arrive at a pared-down version of the form.
For those interested in actually giving Brazilian street dance a shot, the Santa Barbara Dance Alliance hosts a couple of masterclasses with the company the night before the show. Teens and preteens can give it a whirl on Monday, January 25, from 5:30-6:30 p.m. at the Santa Barbara Academy of Dance Arts (1 N. Calle César Chávez, Ste. 100). The older teen and adult class runs from 6:30-8 p.m. For more on the masterclasses or to register, call 966-6950 or visit sbdancealliance.org. To purchase tickets to the Campbell Hall performance, call 893-3535 or visit artsandlectures.ucsb.edu.