Brazil’s Companhia Urbana de Dança Features 8 Amazing Hip-Hop Dancers from Rio


What: Companhia Urbana de Dança
Presented by: White Bird Uncaged
When: Thursday – Saturday, March 9-11, 2017 8:00 pm
Where: Newmark Theatre, Portland’5, 1111 SW Broadway, Portland, OR
Sponsors:  Ronni Lacroute/WillaKenzie Estate, Work for Art,  Willamette Week
Tickets: Starting at $25, available at and Portland’5 Box Office,
1111 SW Broadway (formerly PCPA) NO added fees.1-800-380-3516 (added fees apply).
Discounts available for groups/students and seniors.

“The vibrant young dancers of Brazil’s Companhia Urbana de Dança lit up the stage, not just with exceptional movement skills, but also with spirited personalities.” – The Boston Globe

White Bird Uncaged is thrilled to conclude its 2016-17 season with the Portland debut of Companhia Urbana de Dança. This Brazilian hip-hop dance company is known around the world for the exuberant energy and personality they bring to the stage. The eight versatile dancers of Companhia Urbana de Dança, seven men and one woman, bring their experiences of growing up in Rio de Janeiro’s favelas (shanty towns) and suburbs to vivid life through their unique fusion of hip hop, urban and contemporary dance filtered through an Afro-Brazilian lens.

When Companhia Urbana de Dança made its US debut at New York City Center in 2010, the eyes of even the most ‘‘been-there-saw-that’’ critics opened wide with amazement. Artistic Director Sonia Destrie Lie’s boldly original mix of contemporary Brazilian dance and hip-hop infused both forms with new rigor, meditative one moment, explosive the next.   The work of Companhia Urbana de Dança is created in a very specific way, where styles are visited and incorporated into the research and creative process without labels.  Companhia Urbana de Dança will appeal to audiences of all ages. There will be three performances, Thursday through Saturday, March 9-11 8pm at the Newmark Theatre.

The evening will open with ID:ENTIDADES, choreographed by artistic director, Sonia Destri Lie, in collaboration with the company. ID:ENTIDADES explores the ongoing dialogue between hip-hop, hectic urban life, and contemporary dance.  ID:ENTIDADES,  set to Rodrigo Marçal’s music, was recognized with a 2010 New York City Bessie Award and named one of 2010’s top 10 dance performances of the year according to Time Out New York and The New York Times.

The program closes with Na Pista, again choreographed by Sonia Destri Lie with the company. Na Pista was born from the investigation of each dancer’s roots, resulting in a work that burns up the dance floor with movement inspired by the rhythms of the dancers’ daily lives in favelas of Rio de Janeiro. Woven into the piece are themes inspired by the street life of Rio de Janeiro, the complexity of the human experience within this environment, and personal histories. Freedom is an omnipresent element, and every dancer gets a chance to express his or her unique personalities and special talents, while interacting with the rest of the company, reflecting the expression of the individual within a community.

Founded in Brazil in 2004 by dancer Tiago Sousa and choreographer and artistic director Sonia Destri Lie, Companhia Urbana de Dança is an ensemble of street performers whose goal is to foster the human experience through dance. Destri’s experience traveling through Europe while working in theater and film exposed her to hip-hop and B-boy techniques. Highly influenced by Brazilian street forms, she began to integrate these techniques into her already established contemporary movement sensibility. Drawing on life in the favelas of Rio de Janeiro where many of her company members grew up, Companhia Urbana de Dança aims to transcend cultural boundaries, while showcasing eclectic skill sets. The work of Companhia Urbana de Dança brings its dancers’ identities, testimonials, and attitudes to the stage, and it does that with a “carioca”, Afro-Brazilian accent, which is nevertheless universal.

Sonia Destri Lie received her degrees in both psychology and ballet that has rendered her a unique perspective on human expression and human form. Destri travelled throughout Brazil and Europe after completing her studies, working in dance, theatre, film, and musicals. It was then when she discovered hip-hop and b-boying dance. Destri’s choreography has been cited by world dance critics as a significant contribution to the field of dance. She has generated an entirely new genre that coincidentally returns a greater appreciation for existing dance styles and the significance of sociocultural influences. She received the Best Script Award by the Ford Foundation, the Staging Award 2011 by the State of Rio de Janeiro for the show Eu Danço, the FADA Award by the City Hall of Rio de Janeiro (2012, 2013 and 2014), and the Best Choreography Award by Conseil International de la Danse (CID_Unesco).

White Bird’s 19th season (2016-17) is supported by the Regional Arts & Culture Council, including support from the City of Portland, Multnomah County and the Arts Education & Access Fund; Work for Art; The James F. and Marion L. Miller Foundation, Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust, Ronni Lacroute/WillaKenzie Estate, National Endowment for the Arts, Oregon Arts Commission, Starseed Foundation, WESTAF and The Autzen Foundation.

Brazil’s Companhia Urbana de Dança Features 8 Amazing Hip-Hop Dancers from Rio