Seven dancers roll out a patchwork carpet on the stage of the Potsdam factory. It is made of colorful fabrics like those found in local markets in Brazil. The Brazilian choreographer Lia Rodrigues just made a guest appearance at the Potsdamer Tanztage with her production “Encantado”. This weekend she is coming to the HAU with her Companhia de Danças, which co-produced her piece.

In Berlin, Rodrigues most recently showed “Furia”, a dark piece in which her anger at Jair Bolsonaro’s regime was vented. “Encantado”, on the other hand, is very happy, the choreographer was inspired by the indigenous cultures. The title refers to ensouled beings that move between earth and sky, transforming them into sacred places. Rodrigues turns the myths into a game of transformations.

The dancers are naked as they take their place on the carpet. A woman slides under a cloth with a leopard pattern in wavy movements, the other ten performers follow her, covering their bodies or wrapping the cloths into turbans. Covering, revealing: the dancers are constantly designing new draperies from more and more textiles, transforming them into chimeras, hybrid beings of humans, animals and plants.

At first they move as if in a trance, but soon the scenes become grotesque. The performers grimace, make croaking or hissing sounds, sway in sweeping movements. They are accompanied by the traditional music of the Guarani people, whose ancestral territory is under threat. The Guarani also sang their songs at a protest march in Brasilia last year.

At first they are isolated, each one an island of their own, then duos and trios form. Three women mutate into friendly giantesses who dance with their hands. Later they gather up the piles of cloth and form a procession of rag pickers. Finally, the dancers throw off all covers until they are naked again. The choreography reflects the work phases during the pandemic: In the beginning, the dancers developed the material alone, later they rehearsed with partners, and in the third stage everyone came together.