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RIO and Island Carnival Groups unite in Unlimited Ways!

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The New Carnival Company is playing host this month to an internationally significant project which could change the face of integrated and disability-led carnival in this country.

In a ground breaking new programme, backed by Unlimited, a British Council and Arts Council England funding scheme which supports the development of disabled artists across the country, a delegation of world class carnival artists and dancers from Rio are visiting the Company’s base in Ryde. Their project, called ALEGRIA, is to devise and co-produce a showcase piece of carnival performance, samba style, which will tour nationally and internationally throughout the summer. The showpiece will be premiered on the Island at the New Carnival Company’s Mardi Gras parade on June 30th.

The Rio delegation comprises award-winning designer and costume maker Levi da Silva Cintra, lead dancers Lu Rufino and Lincoln Periera, a sensational samba dancer and top Rio TV presenter Fernanda Honorato and Paul Davies who is the Director of the world’s greatest disability carnival project – Embaixadores da Alegria. 50% of the team have some form of disability. Embaixadores da Alegria present 3000 people of mixed ability and disability at carnival in Rio each year.

The new piece of work will feature elaborate Brazilian-style costumes and dance moves and will be created and performed by 70 adults of mixed abilities drawn from the Island’s VIVA integrated Carnival Club, RAW Samba and students from Isle of Wight College Performing Arts. The piece is entitled ‘Mata Atlantica’ (the Atlantic Rain Forest) which highlights the plight of endangered species and diminishing natural environment caused through deforestation and over-exploitation by humans. It will feature costumes inspired by exotic birds, flowers, animals and plants, embellished with traditional characters from Afro Brazilian folklore such as Gaia the Mother Earth and Oxossi the Keeper of the Forest.

Significant national interest in this scheme has prompted two other professional carnival organisations, Emergency Exit Arts from London and Brouhaha International from Liverpool, to send their creative teams down to the Island to join the programme. Frankie Goldspink, creative director of the New Carnival Company said:
“By working alongside other leading carnival organisations across the country we aim to build a model of totally inclusive carnival of the highest quality and standard which will be a beacon for other carnivals and outdoor events to follow. Whilst carnival is generally regarded as a people’s popular culture, open to all and free to spectate, there is a huge range of barriers which can prevent people with disabilities from taking part. Our project addresses these barriers and shows how we can all work together to create great art for everyone.”

The New Carnival Company is organising a Welcome Reception for all its visiting artists on Monday 22 January at The Coaching House in Union Road Ryde. The Reception will run from 6pm to 7.30pm. Guests will include Henry Adams, Mayor and Malcolm Ross, Deputy Mayor of Ryde and Clare Mosdell, IW Council’s portfolio holder for Adult Social Care.

A fully inclusive programme of costume making and dance workshops are taking place throughout the artists’ residency and local production and rehearsals will continue through to June. Pease contact us for more information and further media opportunities.

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