Born in Brazil in 1956, Lia Rodrigues studied classical ballet in São Paulo, before founding Grupo Andança in 1977. Between 1980 and 1982, she came to France and joined the Compagnie Maguy Marin where she participated in the creation of 'May B'. She then returned to Brazil, where she settled in Rio de Janeiro and founded her company, the Lia Rodrigues Companhia de Danças in 1990. In 1992, she founded the annual Contemporary Dance Festival Panorama de Dança, which she ran until 2005.
Lia Rodrigues’ Company - Companhia de Danças - is recognized nationally and internationally, and is part of the movement which promoted contemporary dance in Brazil. Stimulating discussion, promoting debate forums, raising individual awareness to the issues of contemporary art, generating intellectual and festive encounters, supporting and investing in training and information for new audiences, are just some of the Company’s actions.
In 2004, invited by the Company’s playwright Sylvia Soter, Lia Rodrigues decided to invest a part of the city of Rio which was so far little known to contemporary artists, the favela of Maré. Lia Rodrigues' commitment to Maré is reflected in the daily presence and active involvement of her dance company here since it started, through the presentation of her shows and repertoire, as well as through educational and artistic projects which integrate the local Maré community. Lia Rodrigues also created, in partnership with the association Redes de Maré, the Centro de Artes de Maré in 2009 and the Free School of Dance of the Maré.
The French government awarded Lia the medal of Chevalier of the Order of Arts and Letters in 2005, and in 2014 she received the prize of The Prince Claus Foundation of the Netherlands. In 2016, she received the SACD Choreography Prize.