By Lisa Flueckiger, Contributing Reporter

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – The Deborah Colker Dance Company brings its 20th anniversary celebrations to a close with a run of 2005’s “Nó” at Centro’s Teatro João Caetano this month. The third in a trilogy of Colker’s most highly acclaimed shows returning to the city of her birth, contemporary dance fans have until October 20th to catch the performance, with tickets priced to appeal to as wide an audience as possible.

Deborah Colker's "Nó", Rio de Janeiro, Brazil News
Deborah Colker’s “Nó” hits the João Caetano Theatre this month, press image.

Deborah Colker is Brazil’s most famous choreographer, credited with popularizing contemporary dance in the country. The 20th anniversary of her company, founded in 1994 and sponsored by Petrobras since 1995, is being marked with the three shows that best chart its trajectory. Before “Nó”, “Velox” (1995) and “Tatyana” (2011) were both given new airings in May at the Teatro Carlos Gomes and Cidade das Artes respectively.

In its first act, “Nó” (knot) looks at human desire, with bodies trapped and set free as they dance among 120 ropes hung from above, each symbolizing the emotional ties that bind humanity.

In the second act, the strings are replaced by a transparent box, a gigantic aquarium of sorts, in which the dancers circle, interact, attract and oppose each other and are tied and untied. It is a striking metaphor of ambitious desire that cannot be accomplished, blending classical and contemporary movement.

The company premiered its first show, “Vulcão”, in 1994 in Rio’s Theatro Municipal and has since shown ten full-length dances created by former ballerina Deborah Colker. The company’s third show “Mix” was the first Brazilian piece to receive a Laurence Olivier Award, winning the ‘Outstanding Achievement in Dance’ in 2001.

"Mix" was the first Brazilian piece to receive a Laurence Olivier Award in 2001, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil News
“Mix” was the first Brazilian piece to receive a Laurence Olivier Award in 2001, photo by Flavio Colker/Impressa RJ.

Colker’s work has been recognized and performed all over Brazil, including collaborations with some of the country’s most important directors and actors on more than thirty plays. She has also choreographed shows and videos for Brazilian pop stars, as well as the opening groups of Carnival’s annual parades.

In 2009, Colker also became the first women to direct a Cirque du Soleil show, when she wrote, directed and choreographed “Ovo”, which premiered in Quebec.

“What is interesting in the choreographies of Deborah Colker is that her dance is strong but always in harmony with the innovative environment she creates. She has a good understanding of mise en scène and knows how to use the objects she’s carefully placed on stage,” Nadja Batista, a Carioca modern dance enthusiast, told The Rio Times.

Colker founded her own dance school in Rio in 2005. The Centro do Movimento in Glória’s Rua Benjamin Constant realizes her philosophy that through movement, a person develops the body, intelligence, confidence and the ability to communicate with others.

All levels are catered for in a beautiful Glória building that dates from 1839, with classes in classical as well as contemporary dance ranging from ballet to hip hop available for children (from 3-4 years old) and adults alike. More details are available from the school’s official website (

What: “Nó”, from the Deborah Colker Dance Company
When: October 4th-20th. Thur-Sat, 9PM; Sun 6PM
Where: Teatro João Caetano, Praça Tiradentes, Centro
Entrance: R$20-R$30, tickets available from


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