Internationally recognized, Brazilian is a victim of the covid-19 at 66 years. Artist has performed in Europe for more than three decades, having directed the German National Theater in Weimar and the dance section of the Venice Biennale.

The Brazilian dancer and choreographer Ismael Ivo, at the age of 66, died this Thursday (08/04), due to complications of the covid-19. Internationally recognized, he was admitted to the Hospital Sírio Libanês, in São Paulo. 

Ivo’s staff announced that the artist had been hospitalized for a month and was intubated in the ICU. Still according to the staff, Ivo got better and went to a room. But his condition worsened in the early hours of Thursday. Ivo had suffered two strokes (strokes) in June 2020 and recovered without sequelae.

The artist had humble origins, having been born and raised in the East Zone of São Paulo, where he was raised by his mother, who was a domestic worker.

After obtaining scholarships in dance schools and acting as a solo dancer in Brazil, Ivo shone abroad, having worked in the United States and later in Europe for more than three decades.

In 1983, he was discovered by the American choreographer Alvin Ailey during a performance in Bahia, which invited him to act in New York. In the city, Ivo worked as a choreographer and dancer. In 1984, a solo performance by the Brazilian was reviewed in The New York Times , which highlighted his strong presence on stage.

More than three decades in Europe

After New York, Ivo moved to Vienna, where he was one of the founders, in 1984, of ImpulsTanz, which would become one of the biggest dance festivals in Europe.

Between 1999 and 2004, Ivo worked with the famous Brazilian dancer and choreographer Márcia Haydée, as a partner in joint works and in creations for groups around the world. He also worked on joint projects with big names like Marina Abramovic and Heiner Müller.

In Germany, Ivo was director of the dance company at the German National Theater in Weimar between 1996 and 2005, having been the first black and the first foreigner to perform the role.

Another highlight of his career was the direction of the dance section of the Venice Biennale, which he exercised between 2005 and 2012. Ivo was the one who introduced the Golden Lions in the dance category.

Since 2017, the dancer directed the Ballet of the City of São Paulo, having been the first black to occupy the position. In 2010, he was awarded the Order of Cultural Merit in Brazil.

In the Itaú Cultural Encyclopedia, Ivo is described as an artist as a projection career. His creations were marked by an expressionist character and he was concerned with “building his works based on personal memories and experiences”.


Ismael Ivo’s death caused a stir on social media. On Twitter, the governor of São Paulo, João Doria, lamented the loss, describing Ivo as “one of the greatest contemporary choreographers”.

Alê Youssef, Secretary of Culture of São Paulo, told the G1 portal that Ivo “had a brilliant career in art and marked a generation of national and international dance”.

The jurist and philosopher Silvio Almeida , author of the book Structural Racism , wrote: “Today Brazil lost to covid-19 Ismael Ivo, one of the greatest artists in our history. He was director of the Ballet of the City of São Paulo, Director of the Bienal de São Paulo. Vienna and the German National Theater. May our ancestors welcome you to a party. “

In Germany, Christian Holtzhauer, director at the Mannheim National Theater, described on Twitter the death of Ivo as a result of the covid-19 as unbelievable.

Amelia Warner– After graduating from NYU with a master's degree in history, She was also a columnist for many local newspapers. Amelia Warner mostly covers Entertainment topics, but at times loves to write about movie reviews as well.

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