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Deborah ColkerDeborah Colker

Deborah Colker: ‘I love people’

(Rio de Janeiro, brpress*) - Brazil's most celebrated choreographer on Rio2016 opening ceremony: “The expectation lights a fire under me. We [more than 6,000 volunteers] are working with a lot of passion.”

(Rio de Janeiro, brpress*) – It may be the biggest single challenge in the long and glittering career of Deborah Colker, Brazil’s most celebrated choreographer: managing the more than 6,000 volunteers who will dance in the opening ceremony of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, on August the 5th. 

Colker and her company have won countless international awards and received rave reviews from some of the world’s most demanding dance critics. Making huge secret on what the public will see at Maracanã, Deborah talked to on the experience to prepare a cast of thousands to perform in front of a global audience of billions. 

At a rehearsal in a secret location near the Maracanã, Colker asked  some of the volunteers taking part: “Do you know my reputation? I like to work and I’m very demanding. Sometimes I won’t even stop for a bathroom break.” Rehearsals started at the end of May. 

Even before the first rehearsals, Colker selected more than 100 professional dancers, stylists – such as the Italian costume designer Silvia Aymonimo, who “dressed” four Olympiads, including London 2012 –, performers, plus 15 assistants, to help get the show ready for its one and only night.

There will be 6,000 volunteers in the opening ceremony. Have you ever choreographed so many people?

Deborah Colker – No. And I’m not scared. I love people. Everyone is different, everyone brings their own experience of life, their own social and emotional conditions. I have already worked in large-scale shows. It is a challenge to talk to people from the whole world, of all ages and languages. We have to demonstrate what we want with body movements. 

Rio 2016 – There is always a lot of expectation for a Deborah Colker show. You are well known for challenging our ideas of space and the body. Do you feel under pressure?

Colker -. The expectation lights a fire under me. When I used a vertical wall in one of my shows, I was questioning the relationship between movement and space. Inventions happen when you question existing laws. I like to question the laws of physics and gravity.

Which aspects of your questions on the relationship between space and movement will be brought to the stage in Maracanã? 

Colker – I am bringing a lot from the studies that I had been carrying out. There will be new things, a new space that I have invented and that we are working on here. I think it will be a masterpiece. We are producing very good results. I love it when we manage to tell a story in a new, totally unexpected way. The ceremony is full of protocol but I am very proud of what we are doing. We are working with a lot of passion.  

How did the first rehearsals go?

Colker – It was very cool. We worked on various segments, such as the colonisation of Brazil. We will tell this story without being didactic, in an artistic way.

How was working with volunteers?

Colker – Sometimes volunteers respond better. They don’t have bad habits, stereotypes, clichés. They bring naturalness, spontaneity and the desire to be involved in an artistic experience. They may be firemen, cleaners or maids, without the chance for artistic expression in their daily life. It is very inspirational to work with volunteers. You have to break moulds. Sometimes you can get stuck in a rut as a dancer; everything has to be perfect. Working with people from outside that world gives you the chance to learn a new way of doing things. 

You seemed quite demanding when you spoke to the volunteers. How are you finding the relationship?

Colker – Everyone has been telling me that I need to win over the volunteers, that we can’t lose anyone, that I have to be grateful. I believe that we have to win over the volunteers by challenging them. Of course, we have to be respectful, polite, friendly. But I think that discipline is freedom. The more discipline you have, the more you will be able to achieve what you want. We will enter the Maracanã with calm confidence and enjoy what we are doing without fear of failure.

(*) Original content from .