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Dancer – Researcher – Performer: A Learning Process

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Graziela Rodrigues

The author presents the method of research and creation in dance and theater in Brazil, called Bailarino-Pesquisador-Intérprete (Dancer-Researcher-Performer, BPI), which was created by the author herself. Through field research of ritual and Brazilian popular manifestations the author formulates a proposal for body work. She analyzes dance as an activity in which several bodies are integrated to generate knowledge in the sensitive, the perceptible and human relationships from direct contact with the surrounding reality. BPI aims to build a flexible and individualized body, in which the subject has room to develop. It emphasizes the need for a more responsible contact with certain Brazilian cultural segments so that stereotypes of a dance based on an ethnocentric view are not reinforced.

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Preface

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I was one of Graziela’s students in the eighties. This was our first meeting. I had no gift for dancing, but a great appreciation for such a complete art. In the rehearsal room, along with more skillful colleagues, I was carried away by the exercises and the guidance of that young teacher. That indigenous world of the forest, which I had just started to research in the Amazon, was born, to me, as something real, starting from my inner universe in relation to the movement and the learning process of the body – in silence, in sound, in music. I had never had such a strong feeling while being in the city – as I had the chance to live in huts, by the fire, in the hammocks, and lulled by music along with my Suruí Paiter friends. As a Demiurge, she created, inside us, the whole humanity, with different images that took shape through our dancing steps and gestures, something close to a trance experience.

Only now, as I reread Graziela’s book, whose first edition was 1997, I realize how well thought out was her teaching, being a result of a story marked by reflection, research and interpretation, in which body, soul, emotional and intellectual self-knowledge, and the search for traditions – especially Brazilian and Afro-Brazilian traditions – were combined to show, through performance, a visceral expression.

Graziela likes that adjective – “visceral school of rituals,” as she says about the Maracatu, one of the many aspects of...

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