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Dancing the pain away

What we cannot say in words may be expressed in other ways. Months after losing his father, the artist Diogo Granato talks about his grieving experience, lived in intimacy and also on stage
Sofia, Diogo e Ivald Granato
Sofia, Diogo and Ivald Granato Photo: Patricia Cividanes

Imagine living in a family where, in the face of a child’s school difficulties, the parents decide that … She should study dance so she doesn’t get so stressed! It was like this in Diogo Granato’s family – the story happened to his sister. Son of the artist Ivald Granato, Diogo grew up in a creative universe where the most diverse forms of expression coexisted. His father, a pioneer in performance art, made paintings, drawings, music and produced objects and performances acclaimed by the public and critics. Diogo followed his footsteps and became an award-winning creator and interpreter of dance-theater solos. When Ivald died in July, this year (2016), Diogo was able to find in art a means to elaborate grieving.

We met Diogo because of a performance staged at Primaveras Cemetery, in Guarulhos, the night before the Day of the Dead. He and his group starred an adaptation of Guimarães Rosa’s tale among graves – “Nothing and our condition” -, in a mix of dance, circus, theater, parkour and improvised texts in which the actors-dancers told their own experiences of grieving. Performing in a cemetery, walking among graves, was not a strange condition for the director, who associates cemeteries much more with peace and memory than with morbidity.

The day of the dead performance at Primaveras Cemetery, in Guarulhos.
The day of the dead performance at Primaveras Cemetery, in Guarulhos.

In a general way, the ones who make art have more means to process anxiety and usually face taboos. After all, whatever it is we can’t express with words, may be expressed in other ways. In a video series we show here, Diogo talks about the grieving process, an experience that may inspire other people. Now, Diogo Granato:

Part 1 – Signifying the grieving process                                                             

Part 2 – From goodbye to the memorial ceremony: Is it possible to be prepared?

Part 3 – Dying: A new point of view