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Abstract Hip Hop by Brazilian Troupe Grupo de Rua Breaks Conventions!

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INOAH (Bottom) Guilherme Nobre, (Top) Leandro Rodrigues Photo Credit: Julieta Cervantes

When we think of Hip Hop and Breakdancing, we have ideas predicated on what we have seen, so we believe we know what can be expected. We encapsulate visions in our memories from urban street dance, referencing music, sound, and movement. Until someone destroys that anticipated groove in our heads, we know nothing but what we already know. INOAH created by Bruno Beltrao with Brazilain Grupo de Rua ruptures the conventions and veers off into new techniques of the formidable dance relinquishing predictable form and creating a new protracted interpretative system with ten impressive male dancers.

Though this abstract piece was developed before Brazil saw its current political landscape unfold, Beltrao sees the chaos and restraint of this piece as a reflection of his countries machinations. The stage is darkly lit and with very narrow screens showing images above it, giving only impressions of the street and weather, day or night. “Place” is vague. The halted movement married to bursts of energetic upheaval and elongated moments of stagnant gestures speaks to confusion and acceptance; at times of turmoil. The relationships between the male dancers were exciting for their strength and feeling of comradery but its contradictions as well. INOAH had a powerful experimental appeal; however, whether intentionally or unintentionally, the industrial droning of sound was anxiety-provoking and made me feel like I wanted to escape. I did find myself wishing and hoping for relief from the noise. Not that I was seeking beautiful music, maybe more meaningful, something that merged with the piece instead of competed with it. The BAM audience response seemed to be split on INOAH. Some people in the audience stood up and gave enchanted applause, and some sat quietly with grimaces.

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