VIVER BRASIL, a Los Angeles based company founded in 1997 under the artistic direction of Linda Yudin and Luiz Badaró, captivates audiences with its irrepressible blend of bold Afro-Brazilian dance theater and exuberant physicality, power, and passion drawn from orixa movement and rhythms, samba, forró, dança afro and bloco afro styles. The dancers unveil history, ignite the present, imagine and inflame the future. Vocalists become part of the action and musicians take polyrhythms to new heights.
Viver Brasil is a living bridge between its home, Los Angeles, and its sister city, Salvador, Bahia, with Dancing at the Source, its signature international cultural immersion program to Bahia. The company also produces Cooking Samba youth and family programs, and Samba in the Streets Residencies, which are vital, electrifying arts education and community engagement programs for all ages and for underserved audiences at non-traditional venues (e.g. schools serving low-income students; transitional centers serving the homeless and domestic violence survivors; senior centers; foster care organizations). While on tour, Viver Brasil tailors and adapts its community engagement programs for local communities.
Viver Brasil has produced thirteen premieres since 2003, including Yabas/Queens, which toured throughout New Mexico and the West Coast with National Dance Project Touring support; Xirê/Celebrations; The Gift on the Water; Mo Ife: Love Stories; and Feet on the Ground featuring Alaafia, which toured throughout the U.S. with National Dance Project Production support; Peace Transcends, which in 2015 culminated the inaugural Aratani World Series in Los Angeles, in collaboration with Ford on the Road Series; and twelve successful seasons at the John Anson Ford Theatre.
As a Los Angeles-based dance company, Viver Brasil reflects the vitality of its global home, with members hailing from LA to many US cities, Salvador, Bahia, Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo. Company members embody a deep mastery of a number of Afro-Brazilian dance forms; Silvestre and Dunham contemporary techniques; capoeira; and the social dances of Northeastern Brazil. Company musicians have been trained in equally diverse traditions, including Afro-Brazilian and Afro-Cuban, West African and orchestral.
Since its founding, Viver Brasil has worked with choreographers such as Luiz Badaró, Rosangela Silvestre, Vera Passos, Shelby Williams-Gonzalez and Marina Magalhães; composers Jose Ricardo Sousa and Kahlil Cummings; filmmakers Cari Ann Shim Sham* and Paula Walker; and Bahian cultural consultant elder, Nancy de Souza e Silva, aka Dona Cici of the Pierre Verger Foundation.
In August of 2016, Viver Brasil premiered its newest new bloco afro Bahian Carnival piece, Motumbaxé at LA’s Hollywood Bowl, featuring 28 dancers and 10 musicians with the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra, as part of “An Olympic Carnival featuring Sergio Mendes & 50 Years of Brasil ’66.” The company also created a site specific work, Revealed for the Music Center’s Moves After Dark Series, receiving critical acclaim from the Los Angeles Times. For its 20th Anniversary in 2017 at the sold out Ford Amphitheatre, Viver Brasil collaborated with Brazilian choreographers Marina Magalhães on Cor Da Pele (Color of Skin) a dance theater piece for Viver Brasil's female dancers to spotlight the roles of women and to uncover veiled racism in both American and Brazilian cultures and with Vera Passos in Pra Onde O Samba Me Leva, featuring the company’s unique samba chula style.
2018 ushered in a historic and transformative experience as Viver Brasil undertook a two-week residency Samba in the Streets Alabama residency; sharing experiential Afro-Brazilian dance, music, history, and culture workshop and performances among over 10,000 audience/participants in public schools, a historic church in the Civil Rights district, the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute, Selma Bridge Crossing Jubilee events and Lowndes County schools. VB members met with 1960-70 civil rights activists while connecting the civil rights social histories of Alabama and Salvador, Bahia.
Viver Brasil has toured nationally and internationally and, since 2013, has performed at Disney California Adventure Park’s “Disney ¡Viva Navidad!” family fiesta street party. Partial list of touring venues: Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts (Miami); The Strathmore Theater (Bethesda, MD); Lensic Center for the Performing Arts (Santa Fe); National Hispanic Cultural Center (Albuquerque); Queens Theatre (Flushing, NY); Nazareth College (Rochester); John Anson Ford Theatre (LA); Mendocino Music Festival (Mendocino); Colorado State University (Ft Collins); Diane Wortham Theatre (Asheville, NC); Zorn Arena (Eau Claire, WI); Herbst Theatre (San Francisco); University of NC (Wilmington); American Theatre (Hampton, VA); Cerritos Center for the Performing Arts (Cerritos, CA); Johnson State College (Vermont); Stephens Auditorium (Ames, IA); World Festival of Sacred Music (LA); Arden Theater (St. Albert, Canada); Keyano Theater (Ft. McMurray, Canada); and International Book Fair (Guadalajara, Mexico). Viver Brasil inaugurated the Hollywood Bowl World Music Festival in 1999.
Viver Brasil has been supported in part by the California Community Foundation; the California Arts Council, National Endowment for the Arts; Dance/USA Engaging Dance Audiences; Los Angeles County Arts Commission; the City of Los Angeles, Department of Cultural Affairs; Alliance for CA Traditional Arts; the Durfee Foundation; the New England Foundation for the Arts/National Dance Project; the Flourish Foundation; Herb Alpert Foundation; Consulate General of Brazil Los Angeles, Brazil’s Ministry of Culture; Lucas, Horsfall Murphy, Pindroh Accounting Firm; and by local LA businesses and individual donors.