It was already a familiar town to me, in the middle of the vast continent-contry that is Brasil. Early one morning, we woke up early to join a group a friend had recommended – to move the body and practice breathwork – within a community-run space I was very intrigued to visit. It was not a surprise to find a group of dancers, in a space built by their own hands, women and children of all ages. The youngest was 7, the eldest 85 and my own small child of 3 welcome to join in too.
“in the centre-west of the vast continent-country that is Brasil “
It became the first meeting of many, where conversations came and went over sweet coffees after a class of tai chi or the bumba meu boi festivity which brings the whole neighbourhood together around a huge bomfires before heading out in processions with their instruments and dances.
“the collaboration was organic and gradual, navigating time-zones, languages and an unfamiliar creative process we were building from scratch together”
The intergenerational group Flor de Pequi – is led by a group of women elders. Proud and graceful leaders, who grow, build and maintain a community space for locals and visitors called Quintal da Aldeia /Guaimbê. Pirenópolis is where they stand, in the Brazilian highlands a distinct tropical savanna known as the Cerrado biome. We shared our projects, past and present and the wish to connect and create something together was mutual.
When I first took the idea of connecting this group of women to my computer scientist colleagues in England, the response was: “Look at our project Curucucu!”
From that point on, the collaboration was organic and gradual, navigating time-zones, languages and an unfamiliar creative process we were building from scratch together.
Once I was back in Rio, I adapted an old leather suitcase and filled it with props for the group to play. The conversations developed further and a narrative and game began to take shape, activated in Nottingham, which was led in turn by my collaborator Rachel Jacobs. She gathered a group of artists to move around the old school playground of Primary Studios as they experienced the interactive mirror model Rachel and her team at Horizon designed and built. Meanwhile, the dancers who had received their suitcase-present, took it along with them to many public interventions between January and September of 2018.
An Institutional partnership formalised between the University of Nottingham and the State of Goiás’ Art & Culture Fund, supported the production of Curucucu: ou a Rua que habita em mim to run a series of public events and workshops over nine months in 2018.