DOG WITHOUT FEATHERS
Deborah Colker does in Dog Without Feathers, based on the homonymous poem of João Cabral de Melo Neto (1920-1999), her first show of explicitly Brazilian theme. The international premiere took place on June 3rd of 2017 at the Guararapes Theater in Recife. Deborah Colker Company has been sponsored by Petrobras since 1995.
Published in 1950, the poem follows the course of the Capibaribe River, which cuts through much of the state of Pernambuco. It shows the poverty of the riverside population, the disregard of the elites, the life in the mangrove, of "invincible and anonymous force." The image of the "dog without feathers" suits the river and the people who live in its surroundings.
"The show is about inconceivable things, which should not be allowed. It is against human ignorance. Destruction of nature, children, what is full of life", says Deborah.
The dance mixes with the movies. Scenes from a film made by Deborah and by Cláudio Assis - born in Pernambuco and a director of feature films such as Amarelo Manga, Febre do Rato and Big Jato - are projected in the back of the stage and dialogue with the bodies of the 13 dancers. The images were recorded in November 2016, when the choreographer, the filmmaker and the entire company traveled for 24 days between the backwoods of Pernambuco until the city of Recife.
The journey was also documented by the photographer Cafi, born in Pernambuco. In the original soundtrack are two more from Pernambuco: Jorge Dü Peixe, from the band Nação Zumbi and one of the exponents of the mangue beat movement, and Lirinha (ex-singer of Cordel do Fogo Encantado, poet and actor), besides the carioca Berna Ceppas, who accompanies Deborah since her debut with Vulcão (1994). Other old partners are in scenography and direction of art (Gringo Cardia) and in lighting (Jorginho de Carvalho). The costumes are by Claudia Kopke. The executive direction is of João Elias, founder of the company.
The dancers cover themselves with mud, allusion to the landscapes that the poem describes, and their steps evoke the crabs. The animal that lives in the mangrove is in the ideas of geographer Josué de Castro (1908-1973), author of Geografia da fome and Homens e caranguejos, and singer-songwriter Chico Science (1966-1997), the main name of the mangue beat. The movement merged regional and universal, tradition and technology. As Deborah does.
To construct a man-animal, a concept that is the basis of all choreography, the artist was not only based on manifestations that are strong in Pernambuco, such as maracatu and coco. Also used samba, jongo, kuduro and other popular dances.
"My story is a story of mixtures," she says.
Having Petrobras as the main sponsor since 1995, the group established itself as a pop phenomenon in Velox (1995), Rota (1997) and Casa (1999). The shows Nó (2005), Cruel (2008), Tatyana (2011) and Belle (2014) deal with existential themes, such as affections. In Dog Without Feathers, Deborah brings together aspects of her entire career.
"They fit the elegance of the classic, the mud of the roots and the contemporary look. The name of this is João Cabral", she says.
Internationally recognized, Deborah received in 2001 the Laurence Olivier Award in the category Outstanding Achievement in Dance (most remarkable accomplishment in dance in the world). In 2009, she created a show for Cirque de Soleil: Ovo. In 2016, she was the movement director of the opening ceremony of the Rio de Janeiro Olympic Games.
João Cabral lived in Barcelona, as a diplomat, when he read in a magazine that life expectancy in Recife was lower than in India. The news was the impulse to make The Dog Without Feathers. In 1953 published O rio ou Relação da viagem que faz o Capibaribe de sua nascente à cidade do Recife and three years later, his most know work, Morte e Vida Severina. His poetry, one of the most important in Brazil, is marked by rigor and rejection of sentimentalisms.