Stylized Violence Misrepresents a Crisis, But Capoeiristas Delight

The opening-night crowd rightly roared for Jelon Vieira's DanceBrazil. These powerhouse dancers—strong, sinewy, silky—recall ensembles like Ailey's, Ron Brown's, and Ballet Hispanico at their juiciest. And if you constantly crave capoeira, you'll find it graciously woven into almost everything they do. But Vieira may aim to please too often. His new Anjo de Rua, on Program A romanticizes urban Brazil's tourist-targeted street prostitution. Curiously, the press release, and to a lesser extent the concert notes, suggest that a grittier work may have been originally intended. Despite one highly stylized gang bang and moments when men sling women like laundry sacks, Anjo mostly bubbles over with the kind of worry-free, sensual celebration that draws tourists to Vieira’s homeland in the first place. All praises to guest choreographer and brilliant performer Matias Santiago, who in Eleuther transformed himself into a coquí—the tree frog mascot of Puerto Rico—and brought the house down.

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