Internationally Acclaimed Brazilian Dance-Theater Group Companhia Urbana de Danca brings two of their most celebrated dance-theater works to OZ Arts Nashville, Nov 14, 16, 17

Nashville audiences can experience this irresistible explosion of choreography mixing contemporary dance, hip-hop, Afro-Brazilian traditions, and the raw energy of Rio de Janeiro street dance.

“So wonderful that it seems miraculous…promised a blend of hip-hop, urban and contemporary dance and knocked the ball out of the park.”
— The New York Times

“Classic hip-hop moves are visible — the rippling of arms, the rolling on backs — yet they have been stretched and shaped into something new.”
— The New York Times

“Forget the pedigree. For raw, edge-of-your-seat tension, this is the one to beat.”
— San Francisco Chronicle

“Tour de force of hip-hop dance-theatre.”
— Financial Times

NASHVILLE, TENN. – Nov. 4, 2019 – The audacious, vigorous, and highly inventive Brazilian dance ensemble Companhia Urbana de Dança is famed for burning up the stage in an irresistible explosion of breakneck bravado, exuberant, high-speed energy, and powerhouse athleticism. Choreographer Sonia Destri Lie and nine performers deconstruct the thrilling kinetics of Rio de Janeiro street dance, seamlessly fusing together hip-hop, samba, capoeira, and contemporary forms.

“Companhia Urbana de Dança is a groundbreaking and profound inspiration,” says OZ Arts Artistic Director Mark Murphy. “Choreographer Sonia Destri Lie and her remarkable dancers create sophisticated dance-theater productions that also have all of the thrilling energy of hip-hop and street dance forms. Her background in South American, U.S., and European dance allows her to collaborate with the beautiful young dancers to create something truly fresh. She is inspired by some of the important dance world icons who trained her, ranging from legendary German choreographer Pina Bausch, as well as groundbreaking U.S. artists Twyla Tharp and Alwin Nikolais. The result is a thrilling and deeply satisfying evening of movement, music, and stagecraft.”

OZ Arts presents the program on Nov. 14, 16 and 17 and it features the group’s signature work ID: ENTIDADES, which won a prestigious “Bessie Award” (New York Dance and Performance Award) and was named one of the “Ten Best” dance performances of the year by Time Out New York. Inspired by the life stories of the company dancers, the high-velocity production pulses with raw adrenaline to a high-voltage score by Brazilian composer Rodrigo Marçal. They also explore the joyful influence of pop culture and sizzling social dance in the critically-praised Na Pista, which prompted The New York Times to write that the company “is so wonderful that it seems miraculous.”

Gia Kourlas, dance writer for Time Out New York and The New York Times, wrote that “the group demonstrates a particularly spiritual brand of hip-hop; in works like ID: ENTIDADES, Lie creates a landscape for the dancers—young men from the favelas, or slums, of Rio de Janeiro—in which the vocabulary of hip-hop movement is deconstructed and ultimately reborn.”

Companhia Urbana de Dança is one of the most renowned dance companies in Rio de Janeiro today. This performance takes Brazilian cultural roots and combines it with contemporary trends in urban dance, resulting in a powerfully rich visual and choreographic experience for audiences of all backgrounds.

Contemporary dance is featured prominently in this season at OZ Arts, which included the September performances by Tokyo-based choreographer and video installation artist Hiroako Umeda; an upcoming special co-presentation with TPAC of a new work featuring the “greatest American contemporary Ballerina” Wendy Whelan, in a collaboration with cellist and composer Maya Beiser, famed choreographer Lucinda Childs, and composer David Lang; renowned African-American choreographer Ronald K. Brown and his company, EVIDENCE; and new projects featuring Nashville artists and ensembles New Dialect, Jana Harper, Shackled Feet Dance, and, of course November’s, high-velocity Brazilian dance company Companhia Urbana de Dança.

For more information about Companhia Urbana de Dança, visit:

For a video teaser of Na Pista, visit: Na Pista video teaser

For a Time Out New York interview with Sonia Destri Lie, visit:

Tickets to Companhia Urana de Dança’s Na Pista at OZ Arts Nashville, Nov. 14, 16 or 17, range from $25-$40 and are on sale now at

About the Company:

Founded in Brazil in 2004 by dancer Tiago Sousa and choreographer and Artistic Director Sonia Destri Lie, Companhia Urbana de Dança is an ensemble of street performers working to foster the human experience through dance. Destri’s experiences traveling through Europe for work in theater, films exposed her to hip-hop and b-boy techniques. Highly influenced by Brazilian street forms, she began to integrate these techniques into her already established contemporary movement sensibility. Pulling from the favelas of Rio where many of her company members grew up, Companhia Urbana de Dança aims to transcend cultural boundaries, while showcasing eclectic skill sets. 

About the Artistic Director & Choreographer:

Sonia Destri Lie is the artistic director and choreographer of Companhia Urbana de Dança. Receiving her degrees in both psychology and ballet has rendered her a unique perspective on human expression and human form. Destri had traveled throughout Brazil and Europe after completing her studies, working in dance, theatre, film, and musicals. It was then when she discovered hip-hop and b-boying dance. She had defined her unique and refreshing interpretation of these styles by infusing them with the rich cultural influences of Brazil and the favelas from within. Her works creatively embrace elements of hip-hop, b-boying, contemporary dance, and Brazilian social dances. Destri’s choreography has been cited as a significant contribution to the field of dance. She generates an entirely new genre that coincidentally returns a greater appreciation for existing dance styles and the significance of socio-cultural influences. Media and contemporaries’ reviews of her performances are nothing short of spectacular. She received the Best Script Award by the Ford Foundation, the Staging Award 2011 by the State of Rio de Janeiro for the show “Eu Danço”, the FADA Award by the City Hall of Rio de Janeiro (2012 and 2013), and the Best Choreography Award by Conseil International de la Danse (CID_Unesco). 

About OZ Arts Nashville’s 2019-2020 Season

The 2019-2020 season is the 7th season for OZ Arts and the first under its new Artistic Director Mark Murphy’s direction. This dynamic season of its signature “Brave New Art” features a unique blend of influential contemporary artists and ensembles from around the world, as well as groundbreaking Nashville-based artists, with a special emphasis on multidisciplinary performances, and work that highlights unique new uses of visual and audio technology. The season is made possible with generous support from season sponsor Advance Financial.

Murphy describes the new season as “a celebration of ingenuity and artistic vitality, highlighting artistic voices from around the world – and right here in Nashville – who are blazing the trail for contemporary culture. I am particularly excited that we are expanding OZ Arts’ international offerings, while also deepening the commitment to a wide range of diverse local artists in a variety of disciplines and forms – including some progressive and edgy collaborations that will ‘shake things up’ and engage a young and diverse audience.”

The number of performances at OZ Arts is increased by more than double in this new season, while the average ticket price is considerably lower to help make the work more accessible to a wide range of Nashville audiences.

Remaining Season Presentations Include:

  • Mellotron Variations featuring Medeski/Sansone/Kirkscey/Grant (Dec. 7, 2019)
  • The Longest Night by Portara Ensemble, Jeff Coffin, and Ciona Rouse (Dec. 20-21, 2019)
  • The Day featuring Wendy Whelan and Maya Beiser (Jan. 18, 2020)
  • Notes of a Native Song by Stew & Heidi with The Negro Problem (Jan. 31 – Feb. 1, 2020)
  • The Triangle by New Dialect (Feb. 20-22, 2020)
  • Plata Quemada (Burnt Money) by TeatroCinema – Chile (March 5-7, 2020)
  • Steal Away by Dave Ragland with Inversion Vocal Ensemble (April 17-18, 2020)
  • Grace and Mercy by Ronald K. Brown / EVIDENCE (May 8-10, 2020)
  • This Holding by Jana Harper (May 29-30, 2020)
  • Grand Magnolia by Jessika Malone and Collaborators (June 10-21, 2020)

One-minute highlight reel of 2019-2020 Season: OZ Arts 2019-2020 Season Highlight Reel

About OZ Arts Nashville

Since opening in 2014, OZ Arts Nashville, a 501(c)(3) contemporary arts center, has changed the cultural landscape of the city. Housed in the former C.A.O. cigar warehouse owned by Nashville’s Ozgener family, OZ Arts, under the artistic leadership of Mark Murphy, brings world-class performances and art installations to the city and gives ambitious local artists opportunities to work on a grand scale. The flexible 10,000 square-foot, column-free venue, nestled amidst five acres of artfully landscaped grounds, is continually reconfigured to serve artists’ imaginations and to challenge and inspire a diverse range of curious audiences.

OZ Arts regularly engages the community for participation with visiting artists and artworks – either directly, through school visits, workshops, masterclasses, school performances and/or curated programs led by local teaching artists. In addition, OZ Arts founded a program called OZ School Days, a daylong, multi-arts program presented in partnership with Centennial Performing Arts Studios that aims to engage students aged 5 – 15 years old on days when Metro Nashville Public Schools are out of session (ex: Columbus Day, Presidents Day).

For more information, please visit

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Media Contact
Amy A. Atkinson
Amy Atkinson Communications on behalf of OZ Arts Nashville
Cell – (615) 305-8118
Photos and interviews available upon request