About Gisela Rocha


The Brazilian choreographer Gisela Rocha was born and brought up in Salvador de Bahía, where she also started her dance-education, including both classical and modern dance. Right from the start this provided her with a wide spectrum. At the age of eighteen she continued her studies at the UFBA, the federal university of Bahía, and the Limón Institute in New York City. Among her subjects were classical ballet, Laban, Graham and Limón techniques as well as improvisation and choreography.

In 1990 Gisela Rocha started her career as choreographer with her own company Companhia Sete, and at the same time she lectured on dance techniques and choreographic composition at CAMPINAS the university of São Paulo. For the following six years she choreographed for her company in Brazil and performed in renowned theatres of Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo. Honoured with several awards Gisela Rocha also presented her work outside Brazil. «DAS» was nominated «Best Choreography» in 1995 and was performed at the Equitable Theatre on Broadway, New York. Together with her creation «Les Cartes» it was also presented during the Biennale de la Danse 1996 in Lyon / France.

Since 1997 Gisela Rocha lives and works in Switzerland. Her creations made for her Zurich based Gisela Rocha Company include «Go behind», «Re Mind» and «Golden Boys», all co-produced with Theaterhaus Gessneralle, and «Itself», which was premiered during the festival «Zürcher Theaterspektakel 2005». In 2007 her duo for two Japanese dancers «BLOOM» was co-produced with Tanzhaus Zürich and Théâtre La Fourmi Lucerne.



Introdans in Messiah by Ed Wubbe
Photo by Hans Gerritsen

Written by Steve Ha

Closing out the 2011-12 Season of the University of Washington’s World Dance series was an honor bestowed upon Introdans, a modern ballet troupe hailing from the Netherlands. Starting their three day run on May 10, 2012, Introdans brought their program entitled Heavenly (or Hemels, in Dutch) to Meany Hall, featuring the choreography of Nils Christe, Gisela Rocha, and Ed Wubbe. Though classical ballet can often struggle to find a voice in contemporary themes, Heavenly reassured those centuries old steps can find new life when properly utilized.
The merging of ballet and modern dance is often precarious, as dancers who find their strengths in one genre over another are easily exposed; but the company members of Introdans showed proficiency in both, and, more importantly, excelled in achieving the delicate balance between them, as if to say that contemporary ballet is in fact its own classification. Christe’s Fünf Gedichte, set to Richard Wagner’s “Wesendonk Lieder” opened the program in gossamer fashion. A barely clad Zachary Chant began the piece with a lyrical solo as a divine, celestial presence that never ceased motion, the smoothness with which he moved a most remarkable quality, like unraveling a bolt of silk of infinite length. Divided into “poems,” several pas de deuxfollowed with dancers in simple, but elegant unitards in rich colors, each couple embodying the enigmatic transition between life and death. Soft and serene, Fünf Gedichteshowed elegance, simplicity, and a marvelous musicality.

Photo by Hans Gerritsen


Introdans in Paradise? by Gisela Rocha

Rocha’s Paradise?, a large ensemble piece, could not have been any more different. Punctuated by sharp angles and dynamism, Paradise? at times was an ether of bravura technique, in fast pirouettes and effervescent jumps, but masked with a sense of earthiness. The arabesque penchée, an iconic move in ballet where a dancer lifts one leg to the back and tilts forward, took on new meaning when one of the performers practically exploded into that shape, then held it in perfect stillness, frozen in time with her partner. Rocha’s choreography was both clean and efficient, but showed great complexity in layers. Though difficult to discern the inclusion of certain moments, watchingParadise? could be likened to observing several parallel universes at once—there were moments of humanity, and others less so but not entirely alien, having their familiarities that were enough to inspire nostalgia, but altered to fit within the context of the work. A dancer’s ethereal rendition of “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” highlighted the piece, her vocal talents equal to that of her dancing.

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