In northeastern Brazil, there's a popular literary tradition called cordel (string), named for pamphlets that hang from a piece of string in markets, fairs and other places where they are sold. They're narrative poems, with woodcuts on the cover, about romance, religion and current events, most costing less than 50 cents.
These pamphlets inspired Cordel, a contemporary work by Miami-based Brazz Dance Theater, whose artistic director, Augusto Soledade, is a native of Brazil. The choreography "considers the history and social implications of the Argentine tango and American hip-hop culture as well as the literary tradition of cordel in the Northeast region of Brazil as inspirations for the creation of an abstract contemporary dance."
Michael Huebner of the Birmingham News reviewed Cordel at the Alabama Dance Festival: "Set to an acoustic and electronic score by Daniel Bernard Roumain, it wafts between high energy and sizzling passion, a pair of dancers turning up the heat on each. Although the social implications between the two dance genres were not entirely clear, the work served to show off the skills of this small company (four dancers and choreographer) and to introduce the Brazilian poetry of the work's title."
Brazz Dance Theater, featured at the Florida Dance Festival, performs Cordel at 8 p.m. Saturday at Theatre 2 on the Tampa campus of the University of South Florida. $15, $22. Tickets available at ticketmaster.com (toll-free 1-800-982-2787) or at the door an hour before each performance.
John Fleming, Times performing arts critic