Dilo Paulo: Contemporary Angolan Dancer
Updated: Mar 7
Dilo Paulo is a phenomenal Angolan dancer residing in Brasil. His movements convey emotions that are captivating to watch. Having watched and admired Dilo for several years, we knew we had to collaborate with him, once we launched.
We connected with Dilo to better understand his dance and how Afro movements/dance connects to his methodology of dance.
Dilo founded and manages his own contemporary dance company Corpus Entre Mundos (IG @corpusentremundos) and facilitates cultural exchanges between Brazil and Angola through his Idaeb initiative (IG @Idaeb_official)
AFROCONEX: First, thank you so much for your collaboration with AfroConex. We are thrilled to feature you and help in spreading awareness of your dance and initiatives. Can you share with the audience a little bit about your background, like where you are from and where you are currently living?
DILO: Yes, thank you so much. I am from Angola. I was born in Ambriz--Bengo, and now I reside in Brazil--in Brasilia.
AFROCONEX: Tell us a little about your beginnings as a dancer. Did you always know you wanted to be a dancer and when did you identify the style of dance you wanted to practice?
DILO: At the age of twelve the passion for the arts started to emerge and I decided I wanted to become a professional dancer, as I was very good. I saw that dancing was the right way to talk about everything I dreamed, everything I felt, and everything I observed. And so I started to run after my dreams. I was always interested in learning different dance styles. There were many styles that were present in my daily life, like Kizomba, Semba, Tarraxinha, Kuduro and traditional dance. And with the influences of TV shows, I started to develop my research within hip-hop and contemporary dance.
AFROCONEX: Your movement is superb, we know practice makes us better, but can you share with us how you achieved mastering your craft ? And do you have any advise for aspiring dancers ?
DILO: Every day I discover new possibilities for movement; new paths. I always try to seek more knowledge without erasing my identity. The advice I leave to other dancers is never to give up on your dreams, no matter how difficult it is. It is better to live doing what we love and doing it the best way we can. Continue to evolve and always seek more knowledge. Research on origins and of course a lot of training and at the right time things will happen.
AFROCONEX: You moved to Rio to pursue your studies and career as a dancer. How would you describe that experience, and are there any similarities in culture to Angola ?
DILO: I arrived in Rio de Janeiro in 2012 after being one of the winners of the 2011 Angola Bounce Contest. I was part of the group of professionals from the company Deborah Colker, who participated 4 times in the carnival of Rio de Janeiro. I did a post graduate in teaching methodology in arts, and was invited several times by tv Globo to present the dance Kuduro. Currently I am a pursuing post graduate studies in MBA Commercial Management and Digital Marketing in the Global Market.
I started to develop my own dance company: Corpus Enter Mundos and together with Brazilian Ballerina Lenna Siqueira we developed the Angola and Brazil Dance Exchange Idaeb (IG @Idaeb_official) So being in Brazil has provided me with incredible moments and everything I learn I always find a way to share with other artists and in workshops in Angola. There are many similarities between Angola and Brazil, especially the Northeast of Brazil and Bahia. There is similarity in the food and in the energy of the music. There are also many words of the dialects spoken in Angola that are present in the Portuguese language in Brazil.
AFROCONEX: You are involved in several projects (@idaeb_official) whose goal is to promote cultural exchanges between Angola and Brazil, why did you feel the need to create these exchanges?
DILO: From the first day in Brazil, this idea of an exchange between these two countries, that are sisters began to emerge; At the same time that they are so close, they are also very distant. There is a difficulty within the art world for people to travel and work elsewhere. There are many problems with information on the part of culture; information about habits, origins and customs. Lenna Siqueira (IG @siqueira_lenna) and I saw that holding this festival would also be helping other people who seek this information. And making new paths emerge from it, both in the professional and personal environment of each one who is crossed/connected by the meetings at the festival.
AFROCONEX: In the theatrical dance world there appears to be a hierarchy placed on dance forms: ballet and contemporary movements appear to be more valued than Afrocentric movements; what has been your experience ?
DILO: This is certainly an old system, that every day, as dancers we are struggling to break. We need to understand that all forms of art, including dance, has its importance. So that we will be using dance as a means of communicating knowledge for transformation. Knowing where I come from and understanding the power that exists in my dance makes people appreciate my work.
AFROCONEX: We can tell from your work that you value the urban dance culture of Angola. What is it about kuduro and Afrohouse that inspires you and what do you say to Angolans who do not see value in Kuduro and Afrohouse dance ?
DILO: What inspires me with Kuduro and Afro House, besides the dynamic and infinite possibilities of movement, is the joy that arises when you start dancing or listening to a song. It is also your identity, your way of being unique. Each person is special and it becomes clear that the person lives these styles of dancing in a positive way. Unfortunately, all this freedom means that many people end up making dance a little trivial and many Angolans do not value it either. People who do not appreciate, should look beyond dance, beyond music and try to understand the story of each person. The message that that person is bringing in each movement, in each rhythm and they will understand the value and importance of that style, that culture.
AFROCONEX: We know that 2020 has been a very difficult year for performance artists like yourself; how have you coped during the pandemic and what are things you had to change to navigate the new reality ?
DILO: Like many artists, I had a hard time accepting this universe that was emerging. I stayed for a while doing nothing and then the desire to connect with my students and people began to emerge and that's how our dance found another way for me and Lenna Siqueira. We developed a dance show platform, documentaries, music and video lessons available at www.dilolenna.com and we were able to breathe again even in the face of all the chaos that is happening in the world.
AFROCONEX: Outside of the difficulties the pandemic has brought on, in general, is life as a professional dancer difficult in Rio ? What are some of the difficulties?
DILO: I am currently living in Brasilia on the river for more than eight years. I can say that there are advantages and disadvantages. A great advantage is that the city is very beautiful and inspires creation and there are always many dance meetings, but there is little support to live art. There are always the same groups of people receiving sponsorships for their maintenance and development.
AFROCONEX: What things would you change about how dance is valued ?
DILO: I think that all of us need to understand what the real power of dancing is in the world. We have to seek more knowledge within the style we practice. Even though people do not understand that dancing is a profession, we have a duty to always show that, yes, it is a profession. And to show that other dance related careers, such as a choreographer, a researcher, tester, director, teacher, these all require investment and deep study, and should be valued.
AFROCONEX: What is next for Dilo ? What dreams and aspirations do you have that you would like to see realized ? And what will it take to have them realized ?
DILO: There are many dreams and projects. At the moment I am looking for support and sponsorships to strengthen my dance company to be able to hire people from all over the world. I would like to develop the dance exchange project between Angola and Brazil to help in the professionalization of dancers in Angola and build more social projects in Angola.
AFROCONEX: Are any of your past work available online for the audience to check out ?
DILO: People can follow my work directly on the website www.dilolenna.com or on instagram @dilopaulol and through my youtube channel.
AFROCONEX: What are 2 videos you have seen lately that inspired you?
DILO: Besides nature, there is a lot that always influences me to create. I watched a super inspiring series not only for artists but for everyone--The series "MOVE" that is available on netflix. And the dance show of the exchange between Angola and Brazil:
AFROCONEX: What are the top 5 songs you are playing on repeat currently?
DILO: I am currently listening to a lot of music from the following artists
Bonga, Yuri da Cunha, Emicida, Projota, Elza Soares