The resemblance to the swirl of a flower in the air is just the beginning of the fascinating history of Brazilian dancer Thiago Soares
No hummingbird, nor butterfly. Man. In the air, so still, so light, descends like a flower that gives off the branch on a soft and magical whirl until it touches the ground. A spectacle that few are given time to watch. Unlike Thiago Soares that now, as a principal dancer of the Royal Ballet of London, all eyes are glued to every little move he makes.
A man whose boyish dream eventually became a global reality. Before dance, what he wanted, was that simple desire certainly shared by most of us: attention. That same attention that his brother, a member of a semi-professional group of street dance had in Vila Isabel, Rio de Janeiro, where they lived.
The boy's eyes shone, because, after all, they were the kings of the parties, admired by all. His desire, he said one day, was not dance but to be noticed. But as fascinating stories happen in such an incredible way, dance was chosen. And like that, he became absorbed by that single childhood thought.
At the time, only 12 years old, he remained as the class’s mascote. But the boy's body, the way he danced, the way he learned choreography was different. It was talent in its purest essence.
Thiago landed in the Rio de Janeiro Dance School. As girls were too many and boys were just a few, the looks were all for him. But this, was not yet his big step. The boy grew up without access to the stage and had doubts. Prejudice. The pink ballet shoes available, he did not use. He trained wearing sweatpants and socks. It was the beginning. A matter of time.
But it wasn’t long. Two years later, he received an invitation to join the Ballet Group of the Municipal Theater in Rio. In 2001, he won the Gold Medal at the International Ballet Competition of the Bolshoi. The achievement, earned him an internship at the legendary Kirov Ballet. Thiago became the second foreigner to join the company in 100 years of history.
The following year he accepted an invitation from the Royal Ballet of London to start at the lowest position of ballet hierarchy, despite having already achieved an outstanding position in Brazil. But the spotlight had already reserved his space: in 2006, he became the company's first dancer. Today, at 34 years old and in full artistic maturity, Thiago boasts a career as structured as his body, whose ideal symmetry for ballet, impresses even those who understand much of it.
We are in 2015, the year in which the dancer celebrates a 15 year career outside Brazil. Called “Passion”, it is one of the original pieces that celebrate this anniversary, on tour in through several countries. Signed by choreographer Deborah Colker, it has been shaped by both with hard falls. A dance in which the chemistry of both explores conflicts and caresses, where bodies collide and stand up. The contemporary style of Colker, internationally recognized, was chosen by Thiago because what he seeks today are collaborations with people who have some sense to him. Here, the two were standing applauded for five minutes.
But let’s go back in time a little. One day, dancing in London, he was told that the British royals watched the show. Tension was in the air. He had been instructed not to say a word, to be still when they were presented to the Queen at the end. But the Brazilian - who to this day feel the goose bumps by the gaffe - reached out to His Highness and said "Hi!". For a moment he thought his world was about to collapse. And the queen responded to his gesture.
In the Community of Quilombola, in the countryside of the state of Minas Gerais, Brazil, the Mozambique Guard celebrates an ancient history. My celebration took place in November 2011
Of dirt, by leaps and bumps, the road seems longer. Under the noonday sun, forget it. I knew almost nothing of what was about to happen. It was when they arrived.
Who moved the weather and the wind? It was the drums, the guitar, the rosy pink or the smile of his mistress, who danced tapping her foot on the floor?
To preserve the memory of Congado is to be moved by such plural colors, songs, instruments and cultural elements that are still alive, a story that comes from afar. From father to son, son's son, his son's son's son. The captain is in charge, and he can be identified by a cane that belongs only to those men.
The roots are in Africa. In Congado, the ancestors, the souls of slaves, the founder of the brotherhood, kings, queens and captains deceased are remembered and revered. The “congadeira” culture is faithful to the ancestors. Every identity has a history, and mine, no longer was a picture ID in the wallet. Somehow, I felt part of the whole.
The Moçambiques, traditional congadeiros, sing songs of faith. Around their feet, they tied cans. Represent the people left behind by the sea called the Lady of the Rosary, singing songs without giving back.
When I made my way back, it was impossible to turn away from this amazing reality.
A wide open smile, turned high-end luxury
Miracles happen. But, contrary to popular belief, the best and most deep miracles do not happen overnight, but slowly, very slowly. (excerpt from "To Mary of Grace" by Paulo Mendes Campos)
The loving peas farmer turned honorable restaurateur. It looks like newspaper headline. This is what happened, but not in a blink of an eye! It was what Juscelino Pereira wanted at 16 years old. No longer with the farming, but with his acclaimed restaurants in Sao Paulo, success of public and critics. For him, it seems the sky's the limit.
No college, or wealthy parents. The path for the rich harvest of this man, who studied up to the eighth grade, begins with the spread smile and continues with a surefire recipe. A mixture of affection, charisma and stubbornness.
His life has been told in a book, illustrated by images captured in Joanópolis, hometown; on the suburbs of São Paulo, the starting point; in northern Italy, the wine regions of Barolo and Barbaresco, where Juscelino was to choose the wines of his first restaurant. They show the day to day operation, customers and employees at work in Piselli, when his dream started to become reality. The images are organic such as the peas which he cultivated.
Let's do it by steps.
The script of this man’s life went through the wet dirt, down ravines, curves, climbed the hills to find its proper place. A story that is based on perseverance and love for good food.
Unsuccessful agriculture, he decided to try his luck in the big city. The first stop was at a diner on the suburbs of Sao Paulo. Handyman turned waiter. He wanted more. The compass pointed his will to Jardins, a select neighborhood in Sao Paulo, where people said it was "another world". It was.
Juscelino learned fast to taste and identify wines and it’s labels. When he arrived at Fasano, considered the mecca of São Paulo’s gastronomy, he did not care to go down a few steps and earn three times less. In the group he spent 12 years as Maitre, sommelier and manager.
He still wanted more. With a gastronomic repertoire not only from the restaurants that he worked, but also from the trips he made as a sommelier, on July 31, 2004, he opened the Piselli - pea in Italian. On that day, he turned 35 years old. The success of the restaurant opened many doors and he started to invest in other venues: the Zena Caffé, the Maremonti Group and La Cocotte. Recently opened Piselli Sud in Shopping Iguatemi, the center of the city for luxury consumption.
The teachings of his grandfather, the farmer Vicente Tavico, who was very close to him, are the basis for everything the businessman performs. He used to say that, at age 35, every man should have done something important in life. Another grandfather's adage: "Never lose your name in the business." Juscelino, who is trained as a sommelier by the Brazilian Association of Sommeliers (ABS); President of the Confraternity of Restauranteurs of São Paulo and director of the Restaurant Association of São Paulo (ANR) strictly follows his history.
The malt, hops, yeast and spices are some of the ingredients of this alchemy. At the factory, oak barrels mature the drink, the filling machines fulfill their function, the water treatment plant is a luxury.
Everything is in order: the machinery, the echoing sounds, engineering the whole thing, thoroughly adjusted.
But to make a golden and translucent beer as a lager - low fermentation and malty flavor and hoppy - there is a fundamental component.
From the brewmaster to the assistant’s assistant. People who tune the instruments of an orchestra that does not produce music, but sophisticated recipes.
Like that particular beer, matured with roasted Belgian cocoa, with white foam, velvety liqueur, dense body and complex aromas of chocolate, coffee, toffee and caramel.
Inside the factory there is some dreamlike feeling.
From the outside, dreams are for those who dream.
It can start like this: open bottle on the table, glasses full, empty cups, filled again. Inspiration comes slowly. And grows. It's Friday!
Could be Sunday, the 4th, it does not matter. What matters is the ritual. If the beer came ten thousand years ago, there is nothing in this world that it does not know too much.
They say that bread came first came. Soon after, what the Sumerians considered the "divine drink".
Two thousand years before Christ, in Mesopotamia, the Babylonians were producing about 20 different types of beer. Some with herbs, other with a little more honey or less of barley and wheat.
This here is the factory of Wals. A family history that began in late 1999. Coincidence or not, right at the turn of the millennium.
These four letters today form an empire under the command of the brothers Tiago e José Felipe, who now are part of Ambev, considered the world's largest beverage company.
You may drink a Wals in Uzbekistan soon. Wherever it happens, all of this millennial liquid has at its core what makes our planet turns: humanity.