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ONION FEST: Open Rehearsal: SenZalma by Contempo Physical Dance

ONION FEST: Open Rehearsal: SenZalma by Contempo Physical Dance

Onion Fest is DreamAcres' annual harvest festival celebrating the stories of a multi-layered society through a multi-layered vegetable. Come on down to the farm to enjoy multi-layered cuisine and multi-layered entertainment.

SenZalma is “transcendent” with bounding leaps, sounds of water, drums and capoeira rhythms and painterly images of the starry sea. This full-length work explores the universal human struggle toward freedom from an Afro-Brazilian perspective. Inspired by the poem,
O Navio Negreiro (The Slave Ship) by renowned Brazilian author Castro Alves, SenZalma is a combination of the words “senzala” (slave quarters) and “alma” (soul). The work is both a lamentation and a celebration of the human spirit.

“Wrongs cannot be undone, but survival is about transcendence, and this work achieves it.” – Caroline Palmer, Star Tribune

Conceptually, SenZalma is inspired by the poem O Navio Negreiro (The Slave Ship) by 19th Century Brazilian abolitionist and poet Antonio de Castro Alves. The title SenZalma is a powerful play on words: Senzalas were large living quarters built for African slaves in Brazil, whom Portuguese rulers believed had no souls. Alma is the word for soul. It juxtaposess enz, meaning certainly, and senza, without.

Artistically, SenZalma is built on Silva dos Santos’ dynamic movement fusion of Afro/Brazilian dance, capoeira, and contemporary dance, blending forms and cultures to create a distinctive new aesthetic.


Founded in 2011 by Marciano Silva dos Santos and Jenny Pennaz, CONTEMPO PHYSICAL DANCE is recognized for their dynamic contemporary Afro-Brazilian dance fusion. Contempo’s mission is to create a vibrant new dance form that ignites intersections of contemporary dance and traditional movement forms of the African diaspora, and to perform work that challenges human physicality while it invigorates audiences. We translate this mission into groundbreaking new movement approaches, innovative choreographic design, and stunning performances.

Contempo Phyiscal Dance is recognized for our fusion of Afro/Brazilian and contemporary dance, richly layered with the grace of ballet and the intense physicality of capoeira. We create work that speaks to cultural dynamics of the Afro/Brazilian Diaspora, and our aesthetic is unique in Minnesota and in the region.