I was taken out of myself, people often say of a theatrical experience. It’s an expression that acknowledges a feeling of awe, not always easy to express: there was the me who entered the theatre and the altered me who came out. The two exist simultaneously in a kind of ecstasy, a word that speaks of a powerful out-of-body experience.

Encantado not only seeks to provide that experience to an audience, it embodies it. In Portuguese, the language of Brazil, the word relates to enchantment and transformation. Many cultures – although rarely Western ones – understand that the dividing line between the physical and spiritual worlds is porous and undulating. It’s where the magic happens.

Encantado. Photo © Sammi Landweer

Encantado, which premiered in Paris in 2021, is the work of Lia Rodrigues, a Rio de Janeiro-based choreographer whose company operates from one of the city’s many favelas, or slums. That knowledge gives piquancy to Encantado.

It begins in semi-darkness with dancers rolling out what appears to be a jewel-coloured carpet. It is, in fact, an ingenious gathering of pieces of fabric of many shades and patterns, all of which will be...