The South comes North this winter?

An interview with Adrianna Yanuziello, artistic director of The Dance Migration

Os Elementos is a DanceWorks CoWorks Series production

Fleck Dance Theatre, Fri. Dec 17 – Sat. Dec 18, 2010, 8pm

Interview by Lucy Rupert

The Dance MigrationLucy Rupert: What inspired you to form your company, The Dance Migration?

Adrianna Yanuziello: After I graduated from Ryerson University’s dance program I became very interested in Brazilian culture, especially dance, and I started searching for an artist with whom I could train. I discovered Rosangela Silvestre, who had created her own technique. I brought Rosangela to Toronto in 2006. In 2007 I went to Brazil to further my training with Rosangela, and during my trip I discovered a true essence of dance that inspired me to form The Dance Migration. I want to show Toronto how rich Brazil is in its dances and spirit.

LR: Where do the stories of the four elements originate — these stories that you use for Os Elementos?

AY: The stories of the four elements are from the Orixas, the Afro-Brazilian Gods of nature. For example: Ogum the warrior is the earth element who opens the path and clears the way; Yemanja the goddess of the sea is the water element and the mother to all.

LR: What compels you to work in Brazilian dance forms?

Os ElementosAY: Brazilian dance is so rich and the dances are endless. My favourite part about Brazil has been learning the stories of the Orixas. I had danced the Orixas stories in Cuba but something about the way they moved in Brazil grabbed me, and I was hooked. I have plans to travel to India and study dances from there; I would like to fuse many cultures into The Dance Migration but I don’t think I will ever stop working with Brazilian dance forms.

LR: Speaking of fusion, how do you integrate contemporary dance with the folkloric aspects of your practice?

AY: I have an incredibly strong cast of dancers and I wanted to take advantage of all their abilities. We use some traditional movements, but go beyond that vocabulary by linking our contemporary abilities with the roots of tradition. I gave the dancers the story behind each piece and the vibration of each god; it was very enjoyable to see them explore the themes of the gods.
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