In a defiant riposte to president Bolsonaro and intolerance, performers at São Paulo’s international theatre festival are reclaiming the rights to be seen and to be different

If ever there were a city where disrupting traffic felt like a political act, it would be São Paulo. Its 15 million inhabitants routinely take an hour to drive across town and can waste a month per year just getting to and from work. So when the dancers of Cia. Les Commediens Tropicales step in front of the moving vehicles on Avenida Paulista, sashaying in their bright party dresses and sombre suits to a jazzy Brazilian beat, it feels like an act of defiance.

In a street-theatre intervention entitled (See[]Have) Adrift, they lie on the tarmac, flirt with drivers and hitch lifts on the sides of trucks, turning the cars into reluctant dance partners. It’s the same when they snog on the pedestrian crossing in same-sex couples (with a nod to Banksy’s kissing coppers) as hooting taxis squeeze past.

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