NEW YORK — Brazilian music has always made people want to dance, but to design?
Apparently so, considering the designer triumvirate that turned out for Tuesday’s opening of DanceBrazil’s 26th season at the Joyce Theater on Eighth Avenue here.
After 90 minutes of watching dancers lunge, leap and dash across the stage, Narciso Rodriguez, Nicole Miller and Mary Jane Marcasiano said they were inspired to stretch their design talents.
“I’m a big Brazilophila. There was so much beautiful energy and the costumes were great,” Rodriguez said. “I was sitting in there thinking of every person I could tell to run and see this show.”
Having suited up Brazilian choreographer Andrea Lerner’s dance brigade a few years back, Rodriguez said he would love to work with dancers again.
Marcasiano, DanceBrazil’s costume designer, outfitted the coed troupe with Carnaval-colored, swimwear-inspired outfits. The dozen dancers had three or four costume changes in each of the two acts. Bikini tops, tiered miniskirts, floral-paneled pants and makeshift grass skirts were among the more memorable pieces.
“When I design for dance, I get so inspired that it spills over into my other designs,” Marcasiano said. “This season, I wanted to design new pieces — very modern streetwear — that an urban kid in Brazil would wear.”
The first piece’s use of muted tones to reflect the drudgery of slaves working in sugarcane fields and the second act’s dependency on brights for a more festive mood earned points with Miller.
“Mary Jane is very good at knits and swimwear is really an extension of knits,” Miller mused.
But designing garments that could stand up to the twists and kicks of capoeira was not Marcasiano’s only challenge. She arranged for half the costumes to be made in Brazil, but that took some time.
“In Brazil, ‘amanhã’ is the Portuguese word for tomorrow,” she said. “Everything was amanhã. There’s a whole other pace in Brazil. That was tough to take for someone coming from New York City’s garment district.”
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