15 May

Kim is off to Brazil

Thursday, May, 15, 2014

The task, if you choose to accept it, is to spend three years researching various Brazilian dance styles, collaborate with foreign dance groups, teach these dance styles to local pros, take local pros on a reconnaissance trip to Brazil, build a production around it all and sell tickets.

That’s the task currently on new DJD Artistic Director Kimberley Cooper’s plate; a plate that just got a bit lighter with the announcement of the $10,000 Dance Victoria Chrystal Prize awarded to Kim just last week.

“It all started when DJD did a cultural exchange back in 2005 with a residency in Cuba,” said Kim when we asked her to give us the goods on her three-week research mission to Brazil (a third trip for Kim) in preparation for what could be one of the largest collaborative productions in DJD history.

Kim will be accompanied by DJD Assistant Artistic Director Sarisa F de Toledo and her husband Rubim F de Toledo, meeting up with Valeria Pinhero (a Brazil dance company owner) and hoping, just hoping to not catch a stomach bug this time.
It all begins in Crato – a city of just 150,000 people but a huge dance scene – where Kim and the team will be teaching workshops in Jazz Dance. Crato is in the middle of nowhere, surrounded by desert, but has a foundation rich in local traditions, dance and movements that seep into the local dance scene.

Then it’s off to Recife, the fifth largest city in Brazil with a ‘modest’ 3.7 million people to look for and study the dance style of Maracatu. Recife is home to Brazil’s largest carnival called Galo da Madrugada, which takes place in downtown Recife on Carnival Sunday. Each carnival will see hundreds of thousands of people flock to the streets to dance in various styles including ciranda, afoxe, reggae, and Mangue.

Finally, before coming back to Canada for a 1-week workshop in Toronto, Kim, Sarisa and Rubim will be in Rio de Janeiro to study Samba. Rio is one of the largest cities in the world at just over 6.3 million people. Rio is famous for it’s Samba Parade, which opens Carnival every year. Imagine thousands of people parading down the Sambadrome, dancing in bright, beautiful outfits, and that’s the start of Carnival!

There are over 200 samba schools in Rio divided into five different leagues. One of the main purposes for the Rio Carnival is for these samba schools to compete.

“I’m looking forward to the whole thing!” when asked what she’s most excited about. “There are too many things to be excited about to pick just one. Plus the food, the culture, and the people. I love Brazil’s love of life and their passion towards dance. Oh and don’t forget soccer!”
Where is this all going, you might ask? There are plans to bring Valeria’s troupe to Calgary in 2015 for a special performance, then send the DJD troupe to Brazil in 2016.

“The big dream is to have a full touring show to present to the world in 2017,” said Kim. “That would be just spectacular!”

To keep tabs on Kim’s adventure and follow along, you can catch her on Instagram, and follow DJD on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.






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