HAU 1: April 12 – 13; 7.30 pm (festival opening)

»Máquina de Desgastar Gente«
(Human Demoralization Machine)


European Premier/ talk with the audience: April 13, after the performance

The image of the black man in Brazilian society – and the study thereof – is the subject of »Máquina de Desgastar Gente«, a piece conceived by Luiz de Abreu for the »5. Ateliê de Coreógrafos Brasileiros«.

The piece moves beyond dance; its assemblage integrates music and theater to recount everyday impressions, personal memories and the histories of the ensemble members’ ancestors. With this piece, Luiz de Abreu, author and director of the polemical piece »Samba do Crioulo Doido«, the opening of move berlim 2005, broadens the discussion of the historical role of the black man in Brazilian daily society.

In a haunting, sometimes humorous, but always decidedly political way, Abreu reveals the black man’s contribution to the »cultura mestiça«, with the use of sculptural, acoustic and theatrical elements. Abreu consciously utilizes national symbols – the official as well as the non-official. They are however easily identified as insignia of Brazilian culture.

Folk dances, the clothing of the coastal dwellers, the rows of houses in the historical city district, the sounds of the drums are all elements of »Máquina de Desgastar Gente«.

concept, directing, choreography: Luiz de Abreu
dance: Augusto Santana, Diogo Lopes Filho, Fafá Carvalho, Henrique Lucca, Jaqueline Elesbao, Norma Santana, Paullo Fonseca, Saci, Wilson Tadeu
text editing: Wlamyra Albuquerque
texts: personal reports of the ensemble
soundtrack: Luiz de Abreu
music: Diogo Lopes Filho, Denise Rocha, Augusto Santana, Luiz de Abreu
percussion: Augusto Santana and ensemble
stage design: J. Cunha
costumes: Ayrson Heráclito
light design: Marcelo Moacyr
concept, coordination, artistic director of Ateliê de Coreógrafos Brasileiros: Eliana Pedroso
head of production: Konstanze Mello
production: EP Produções Culturais

Press / Foto

The project Ateliê de Coreógrafos Brasileiros (The Brazilian Choreographers’ Atelier) was founded by Eliana Pedroso, its current director, five years ago. This is where the piece “Human Demoralization Machine” was developed. The Ateliê is a unique initiative dedicated to the further education of creative individuals and performers in Salvador in the state of Bahia. Students of journalism, musicians, professional artists from the visual arts and fashion design et al are invited to interact in the creative process of the atelier. This project has an average of ca. 10.000 visitors per year coming to see its performances.

Now Luiz de Abreu once more returns to Berlin after the great success of his polemical piece “Samba of the Crazy Nigger”, as the opening act of the second edition of move berlim 2005. He has since worked both as a dancer in large Brazilian companies – such as 1º Ato e Cisne Negro – as well as for television and theater.

“Human Demoralization Machine” is composed of three parts: The first part recounts episodes from the living history of the participating performers as well as childhood memories. The interaction of text, photography and movement on stage invokes the power of matriarchy in cultures of African origin. In the second part of the piece, a caleidoscope of images depicting the current situation of blacks in Brazilian society is drawn up through stories relating recent experiences of the performers addressing questions of class and gender. In the third and last section social opposites and cultural legacy are “embodied” and accompanied by the music and traditional African drumming.

The choreographer Luiz de Abreu emphasizes the documentary character of the “Human Demoralization Machine”. The situations depicted and stories woven into the piece are real life experiences by the members of the ensemble. “The idea”, he says, “was not to convey the image of the black man as a spectacle or as folklore”, but to present an absolutely realistic image. Live texts and music were developed themselves by the dancers and actors. In addition, they borrowed choreographic and theatrical bits and pieces of other productions of which they had previously been part.

“The piece was developed in a phase in which Brazil’s history was being politically and ideologically reassessed and the Brazilian “machine” revealed itself. A machine in which the black man was only considered as a simple cog in the wheelwork”, Luiz de Abreu comments. The reassessment is meant to demonstrate a change in social roles, especially in those of the black population.