Behind the scenes of Ziriguidum – The story of Cia Vatá

By kanderson
2 min read | April 17, 2015

For the spring production, Ziriguidum, DJD is sharing the stage with Cia Vatá, a celebrated dance and music company from Brazil. Here is a bit of background to give context to the show and the performers, while watching Ziriguidum!

The company was started in 1994 by Valéria Pinheiro, Cia Vata Artistic Director, Choreographer and performer.

Valéria fell in love with dancing on a homesick day, while she was studying for her Civil Engineering degree at the state university in Fortaleza, Brazil. Through taking dance classes and immersing herself in the culture she discovered her passion for tap. Before she knew it she found herself teaching and working with the other teachers at the school to develop their own tap technique, which they called “Brazilian Tap.”

So now what? Pursue dance or Civil Engineering? Talk about a crossroads!

Clearly she chose dance and thank goodness she did or else Ziriguidum would not be taking place! For about 14 years following she studied, taught and performed in Rio de Janeiro, which lead her to create Cia Vatá in 1994. In 2004 she established a studio/ theatre called Café Teatro das Marias in Fortaleza, which has since become one of the most important cultural spaces in its area. It offers dance classes, workshops, residencies, presenting dance and theatre companies and rehearsal space for several companies including Cia Vatá.

For Valéria, creating the Cia Vatá dance company went beyond just merely dancing. She wanted to create an amalgamated body or hybridity of music, dance, theatre, circus and festivity, stemming from its roots in traditional Brazilian folk dances and music.

The style that Cia Vatá use as a base is the Brazilian Tap that Valéria helped to originate. From there the dancers branch out, incorporating many other dance techniques and styles. The members of this company are unique in the fact that they are not merely just dancers. They are called “brincantes, which means that all of the company members are actors, singers, musicians AND dancers- therefore a complete artist.

To date, Cia. Vata has toured Brazil extensively, as well as touring Cuba, Chicago, New York, Miami, Alaska, Colombia and Cape Verde, Africa- Impressive!

Ziriguidum will feature both Cia Vatá and DJD dancers, each performing their own half of the show. The grand finale will be one piece, which both companies will come together in collaboration and end it with a bang!