Bunkamura Orchard Hall, Tokyo’s Shibuya
April 24, 25, 7 p.m.
The name of Brazil’s most renowned contemporary dance troupe, Grupo Corpo (Body Group), is a play on the Portuguese word for: the physical body, a body of work, a corps de ballet and even a corporation — all apt descriptions for a dance company that looks to the human form for inspiration and cultural identity.
Founded in 1975 by Paulo Pederneiras and his brother and choreographer, Rodrigo, Grupo Corpo was one family’s way to create a uniquely Brazilian dance scene on their home turf of Belo Horizonte, a northern city far from the pull of Brazil’s main cultural magnets, Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo.
The group’s lithe floor work contains the raw, shamanistic tribalism of indigenous ceremonies with all the sleek sophistication of classical ballet. Yet discipline and precision do not overshadow the sultry spirit of tropical expression, as the younger Pederneiras employs a more passionate palette, with, as member, Ana Paula Cancado puts it, “a lot more movement of our heads and our hips.” Sharp vaults lead to a swaggering gait and back, leaving audiences agape at the dichotomy.
The Pederneiras brothers have incorporated musical styles from avant-garde classical composers like Philip Glass to the soaring pop sounds of Brazil’s beloved Milton Nascimento. Tom Ze, another local legend, contributed music to “Parabelo,” one of two pieces to be performed next week at Orchard Hall in Tokyo’s Shibuya (¥5,500;  3477-9999). Tokyo’s lovers of Latin dance should consider this required viewing.