Conspiracao, Brazil’s multi-Emmy nominated powerhouse indie, is poised to make “Pas de Deux,” a drama series about Bethania Gomes, the first Brazilian prima ballerina of the Harlem Dance Theatre and a current dance instructor there.
Story pivots around the relationship and lives of Gomes and her mother Maria Beatriz Nascimento, a controversial historian and forerunner of the Black feminist movement of ‘70s Brazil who was killed for intervening in a friend’s domestic dispute.
The series could not be more timely given the Black Rights Matter movement that begun in the U.S. and sparked similar protests across the globe.
“Brazil is still very racist even though Blacks comprise around 50% of our population,” said Juliana Capelini, Conspiracao’s Kids & Family executive director who serves as executive producer along with the company’s head of international, Ramona Bakker. It is telling that the Rio de Janeiro Municipal Theater Ballet has not had a Black Prima Ballerina since Gomes left it 30 years ago.
The eight-hour series is currently in development with writers room sessions being conducted via three-hour zoom calls every day, thanks to COVID-19 restrictions.
“Pas de Deux” will weave the lives of the mother and daughter’s respective struggles in white-dominated societies 20 years apart.
Gomes grew up in Brazil and danced in the U.S., France, South Africa and elsewhere. She danced with the late pop icon Prince and performed for Nelson Mandela and Bill Clinton. The plan is to shoot the series in those countries. “We’re hoping to find the right partners in each territory,” said Bakker.
“Pas de Deux” dovetails with Conspiracao’s global ambitions. “We’re seeking bi-lingual or tri-lingual projects that have international appeal,” Bakker pointed out, adding that the company is currently developing eight international projects and has optioned 12 others.
Among the ones completed or in post are “Anitta,” a docu series in partnership with Netflix about the young Brazilian music phenomenon Anitta, dubbed the Queen of Funk Carioca, as she preps for her biggest and most ambitious gig.
Conspiracao’s first Amazon Prime Video original, action thriller “DOM,” is a father-son story against the backdrop of the cocaine trade in Rio de Janeiro.
The company was the first to introduce the issue of COVID-19 in a medical drama, “Under Pressure,” which is now airing on Brazil’s leading broadcaster, Globo. “We were shooting with masks and protective gear, which served as props and also complied with current health and safety protocols,” Bakker said.