It was at the Teatro de Dança Galpão, in São Paulo, in the 1970s, that the talent of dancer Ismael Ivo (1955-2021) began to attract attention. Paulistano da Vila Ema, he defines himself as a street dancer since he discovered the desire to express himself through dance. He was a choreographer, director and curator, creating shows that moved audiences not only in Brazil, but on stages in New York (he has received accolades from the New York Times since his first solo performance, in 1984), and throughout Europe. In Vienna, he founded ImPulsTanz. He was curator of the Venice Biennale and directed the dance company of the German National Theater.
One of its most striking features was its strong scenic presence, with an expansive gesture influenced by expressionist dance. On his return to Brazil in 2017, he took over the direction of the Ballet of the City of São Paulo, in which he had already established himself in the early 1980s. Infected by the coronavirus, Ismael Ivo did not resist. He said goodbye to the stage – and to life – in April of this year, after a month in hospital Sírio-Libanês.
Brazilian artist of humble origins who conquered the world facing all kinds of prejudice, he is honored in 2021 in the Troféu Raça Negra, an award that is part of the activities of Afrobras, a non-governmental organization founded in 1997 dedicated to promoting information, training, training, qualification and affirmative actions for the insertion and visibility of black Brazilians.
The trophy is awarded annually as part of the National Day of Black Awareness (November 20th) and brings together black and non-black national and international personalities and authorities who have contributed to deepening and expanding the appreciation of the black race. It is a fair and timely recognition of those who have constantly contributed to the struggle for racial equality. In the case of Ismael Ivo, in addition to artistic glory, his career as a manager was marked by an episode of racist connotation.
In August 2020, allegations of members of the Ballet of the City of São Paulo accusing Ismael of moral harassment became public. An internal investigation process was conducted by the Odeon Institute, at the time administrator of the Municipal Theater. Although the investigation found no evidence of any misconduct and, therefore, acquitted Isamael Ivo, he ended up being dismissed from the dance corps. An internal movement of officials challenged the dismissal, claiming that the charges against him were “flight and unfounded”, made by people “who did not feel represented by a black man”.
As in previous years (except in 2020, when it was virtual, due to the pandemic), the delivery of the Raça Negra Trophy will be held at a ceremony for guests at Sala São Paulo, on Sunday (21). Ismael Ivo’s sister, Vera, will receive the award on behalf of the honoree. Christian Gebara, CEO of Vivo, and Frederico Trajano, CEO of Magazine Luiza, will also be awarded.
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