Contempo Physical Dance

Contempo Physical Dance aspires to be internationally recognized for its dynamic fusion of Afro-Brazilian dance, capoeira and contemporary dance. The company is dedicated to contemporary dance research, the creation of vibrant new movement, and the performance of dance works that challenge human physicality and invigorate audiences everywhere. Founder, artistic director and choreographer, Marciano Silva dos Santos, is a native of Brazil and came to the United States after being recognized by the American Folkloric Society as a culturally diverse artist of exceptional merit. His rigorous approach to body-based research produces distinct Brazilian-imbued movement palettes and highly physical choreographic works. 

About Marciano Silva dos Santos:

Marciano Silva dos Santos is a native of Brazil. He studied theater and dance at FAFI, a professional performing arts school in Vitória, Brazil. It was from this school that he found himself in contemporary dance. After his dramatic performance of the moon character in Frederico Garcia Lorca's Blood Wedding, he began to observe and study the body in order to develop his own dance vocabulary, a precise handling, authentic and technically defined movement style based on his own personal research. In Vitória, he was involved in three different dance companies: an Afro-Brazilian dance company (NegraO), a ballet company (Bale da Ilha), and a contemporary dance company (Homem Cia de Danca). His work for these companies earned him international critical acclaim as a dancer and had a profound impact on his artistic trajectory.

In 2006 he was recognized by the American Folkloric Society as a Brazilian folk artist of unique and exceptional ability, and since that time he has been sharing his expertise with the Minnesota dance community. Through an invitation by Patrick Scully of Patrick’s Cabaret and Toni Pierce-Sands and Uri Sands, former Alvin Ailey dancers, he joined TU Dance, led by Toni and Uri, where he was a company member for five years. He also danced for Stuart Pimsler Dance & Theater and in Penumbra Theatre’s Black Nativity. Marciano quickly gained recognition for the high quality of his professional work. He was named “Best Dancer” by City Pages in 2009 and “one of the most graceful movers on any Twin Cities stage” by the Star Tribune in 2010.

Over the past couple years Marciano has received support for his choreographic work including a Jerome Foundation Travel & Study Grant in 2010 to research the intersections of contemporary dance and capoeira and a Metropolitan Regional Arts Council Arts Activities Grant in 2011 to produce his first-full length work, Motirô, for Contempo Physical Dance. In June 2011 he was selected by the Cowles Center to attend the Minnesota Dance Lab, a part of the National Dance Project’s Regional Dance Development Initiative, at the College of St. Benedict. Through his extensive research, Marciano has developed a distinct and irresistible fusion of Afro-Brazilian dance, capoeira and contemporary dance. His movement style has been named an "original dance language." He utilizes this style as artistic director and choreographer for Contempo Physical Dance, and his style continues to grow. Marciano’s artistic philosophy is that contemporary dance is an art of movement, and that movement ideas should be developed at every instant. He is interested in constantly pushing the limits of human physicality and challenging the body with vibrant new movement and detailed sensibilities. In addition to the work with his company, Contempo Physical Dance, Marciano also teaches Afro-Brazilian contemporary dance for the University of Minnesota dance program, and offers workshops and residencies at various educational institutions.

Jenny Pennaz, Managing Director

Jenny Pennaz

Graduated from the University of Minnesota with bachelor degrees in biology and dance and completed a post-baccalaureate certificate in Contemporary Studies in Dance from the Federal University of Bahia in Brazil. She has also trained with Capoeira Berimbazu at the Federal University of Espirito Santo in Brazil. She is a licensed K-12 dance teacher and holds a Masters of Arts in Teaching from Hamline University. She has been dancing for Marciano since 2009 and is thrilled to be a co-founder of Contempo Physical Dance.

Slideshow Image 1 Slideshow Image 2 Slideshow Image 3 Slideshow Image 4 Slideshow Image 5 Slideshow Image 6 Slideshow Image 7 Slideshow Image 8