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Home / Articles / Arts / The Short List /  Compagnie ...
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Wednesday, Jan 08, 2014

Compagnie Käfig, Manny Farber—Works on Paper 1968-1973, SoundON Festival

Our top three picks of San Diego events this week

shortlist Compagnie K?fig brings favela-inspired dance to the stage.
- Photo by Michel Cavalca


Often-shirtless, ripped dudes unleashing their explosive, street-inspired dance skills on stage: That’s the best way to quickly describe Compagnie Käfig. The dance company is directed by French-Algerian choreographer Mourad Merzouki, who was so inspired by the unique style of dance coming out of the favelas, or shantytowns, of Rio de Janeiro that he turned the young Brazilians he encountered on one of his visits into his principal dancers.

Merzouki used the life stories of his dancers in the creation of “Correria” and “Agwa,” two original dance pieces that weave together hip-hop, capoeira, samba, bossa nova, martial arts, acrobatics and contemporary dance. ArtPower! will bring Compagnie Käfig and its two works to the Mandeville Auditorium at UCSD at 8 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 15.

“What makes the company so interesting is the fluid combination of street dancing of the favelas with more contemporarydance movement that they bring to both of their pieces,” says ArtPower! interim director Kathryn Martin. “[They] have created a dance vocabulary that really is like nothing we’ve seen before.” 

Favelas are known for the large, thumping, sweaty dance parties called baile funks, from which have emerged unique, energetic dance styles. If reviews and YouTube videos are accurate, Merzouki and his crew have successfully recreated this intense energy on stage, adding a layer of context by focusing on certain aspects of life in the favelas. “Correria,” for example, is about the hectic and chaotic pace of life in urban Brazil. The piece gives the dancers a chance to show off their physicality at an almost frantic speed. “Agwa” slows things down and zooms in on the issue of water, a precious resource that isn’t readily available in some of the worst of Brazil’s favelas. Merzouki incorporates water as a beautiful artistic element in the piece. 

“The dancers will tumble, dance and interact with hundreds of cups of water on stage,” Martin says. “It is an absolute thrill to experience.”


The late Manny Farber was known more for his provocative film criticism than for his painting. And as a painter, he was perhaps known more for his bird’s-eye-view, still-life work than for his abstract, color-field pieces. But it’s the latter style that will be on display when Quint Contemporary Art holds its 18th solo exhibition of Farber’s work: Manny Farber—Works on Paper 1968-1973. These are pieces that Farber, who taught later in life in the Visual Arts Department at UCSD, would paint flat on the floor rather than on an easel, much like Jackson Pollock. The show will open with a reception from 6 to 8 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 11, at Quint (7547 Girard Ave. in La Jolla) and will be on view through Feb. 15.


The San Diego avant-garde and modern- and impressive, with groups like Art of Élan and events like the Carlsbad Music Festival dosing the region with innovative new sounds. But this week, the Athenaeum Music and Arts Library will bring an array of international contemporary chamber artists to town for its SoundON Festival. The seventh annual fest will include artists ranging classical music scenes have been quietly growing into something more vibrant from locals NOISE and choral ensemble Sacra Profana to guest artists like soprano Alice Teyssier and an installation by conceptual artist Matthew Hebert. The event will run from Thursday, Jan. 9, to Sunday, Jan. 12, at the Athenaeum in La Jolla (1008 Wall St.). Individual-event tickets are $25, or $60 for the series. Find details at

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Kinsee Morlan.