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Frevo and the Contemporary Dance Scene in Pernambuco, Brazil

Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UFE0021237/00001

Material Information

Title: Frevo and the Contemporary Dance Scene in Pernambuco, Brazil Staging 100 Years of Tradition
Physical Description: 1 online resource (158 p.)
Language: english
Creator: Azoubel, Juliana P
Publisher: University of Florida
Place of Publication: Gainesville, Fla.
Publication Date: 2007

Subjects

Subjects / Keywords: anthropology, armorial, art, artists, bale, brazil, brazilian, caboclinhos, capitalc, capoeira, carnival, cavalo, ciranda, classical, coco, contemporary, country, dance, democray, development, entrudo, ethnology, frevo, history, identity, mambembe, maneuvers, maracatu, modern, movement, music, nascimento, north, northeast, olinda, pernambuco, pilates, popular, portuguese, quilombo, racial, recife, regional, regionalist, samba, slavery, sociology, south, state, symbol, theatre, world
Latin American Studies -- Dissertations, Academic -- UF
Genre: Latin American Studies thesis, M.A.
bibliography   ( marcgt )
theses   ( marcgt )
government publication (state, provincial, terriorial, dependent)   ( marcgt )
born-digital   ( sobekcm )
Electronic Thesis or Dissertation

Notes

Abstract: This research analyzes the formalization and development of frevo, one of the most important Brazilian popular music and dance traditions, in the streets and theatres of the metropolitan area of Recife, the capital of the state of Pernambuco. Historical analyses and ethnographical research demonstrate the contribution of selected popular artists in the development of frevo as a dance tradition from 1907 to 2007. My participation in frevo classes and informal interviews with members of popular and contemporary dance companies allowed the collection of specific dates, pictures and video materials about frevo contests and the creation of teaching methods. Information gathered on the work of popular artists Coruja and Nascimento do Passo, and dance companies of Pernambuco illustrate the different interpretations artists have had of this tradition in the twenty-first century. My investigation focuses on the development of frevo as a popular dance tradition and its influence on theatres and dance companies in Pernambuco. This work addresses controversial ideas that are the nurturing elements of Pernambuco?s contemporary dance scene. It investigates the influence of regionalist movements, the ideology of the dominant class, and Freyre?s racial democracy on the placement of frevo as a symbol of identity for Pernambuco and as a core element for the state?s contemporary dance scene. I argue that, as Pernambuco celebrates '100 Anos de Frevo' (100 years of frevo), frevo is linked to the nationalist ideology of 'mesti?agem' in twentieth century Brazil, associated within Brazil with the mixture of the 'three races.' I show the reflection of this ideology on the formalization of the tradition and on the tension between dancers and choreographers as they perform frevo and try to understand its formalization process. These dancers view this process through the eyes of the dominant class, mostly composed of European descendents, who often denies the Afro-Brazilian influence in Pernambuco's cultural traditions. I recognize the interest of scholars and tourists in frevo as a musical style and show the influence of frevo in the dance scene of the state, but emphasize that little scholarly attention has been paid to frevo as a dance form. The view of scholars (and performers) of frevo as an 'urban expression,' a symbol of identity for the 'mixed population' of the city of Recife, has, to a certain extent, focused little attention on the formalization of the tradition, much less on the popular artists who contributed to that key process. As a researcher, teacher and performer of frevo, I intend to provide a historical background in which to place the new generation of frevo dancers, and to give recognition to the people who have dedicated their lives to preserving the tradition. I investigate the influence of several key artists in the current dance scene, when public spectacles, in this case, the staging of frevo, become the source of inspiration for contemporary dancers and choreographers. I believe my experience as a frevo dancer, born and raised in the state of Pernambuco, and my close association with the people involved in the tradition (frevo dancers, teachers, members of popular and contemporary dance companies) give me a unique perspective on this research.
General Note: In the series University of Florida Digital Collections.
General Note: Includes vita.
Bibliography: Includes bibliographical references.
Source of Description: Description based on online resource; title from PDF title page.
Source of Description: This bibliographic record is available under the Creative Commons CC0 public domain dedication. The University of Florida Libraries, as creator of this bibliographic record, has waived all rights to it worldwide under copyright law, including all related and neighboring rights, to the extent allowed by law.
Statement of Responsibility: by Juliana P Azoubel.
Thesis: Thesis (M.A.)--University of Florida, 2007.
Local: Adviser: Crook, Larry N.

Record Information

Source Institution: UFRGP
Rights Management: Applicable rights reserved.
Classification: lcc - LD1780 2007
System ID: UFE0021237:00001

Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UFE0021237/00001

Material Information

Title: Frevo and the Contemporary Dance Scene in Pernambuco, Brazil Staging 100 Years of Tradition
Physical Description: 1 online resource (158 p.)
Language: english
Creator: Azoubel, Juliana P
Publisher: University of Florida
Place of Publication: Gainesville, Fla.
Publication Date: 2007

Subjects

Subjects / Keywords: anthropology, armorial, art, artists, bale, brazil, brazilian, caboclinhos, capitalc, capoeira, carnival, cavalo, ciranda, classical, coco, contemporary, country, dance, democray, development, entrudo, ethnology, frevo, history, identity, mambembe, maneuvers, maracatu, modern, movement, music, nascimento, north, northeast, olinda, pernambuco, pilates, popular, portuguese, quilombo, racial, recife, regional, regionalist, samba, slavery, sociology, south, state, symbol, theatre, world
Latin American Studies -- Dissertations, Academic -- UF
Genre: Latin American Studies thesis, M.A.
bibliography   ( marcgt )
theses   ( marcgt )
government publication (state, provincial, terriorial, dependent)   ( marcgt )
born-digital   ( sobekcm )
Electronic Thesis or Dissertation

Notes

Abstract: This research analyzes the formalization and development of frevo, one of the most important Brazilian popular music and dance traditions, in the streets and theatres of the metropolitan area of Recife, the capital of the state of Pernambuco. Historical analyses and ethnographical research demonstrate the contribution of selected popular artists in the development of frevo as a dance tradition from 1907 to 2007. My participation in frevo classes and informal interviews with members of popular and contemporary dance companies allowed the collection of specific dates, pictures and video materials about frevo contests and the creation of teaching methods. Information gathered on the work of popular artists Coruja and Nascimento do Passo, and dance companies of Pernambuco illustrate the different interpretations artists have had of this tradition in the twenty-first century. My investigation focuses on the development of frevo as a popular dance tradition and its influence on theatres and dance companies in Pernambuco. This work addresses controversial ideas that are the nurturing elements of Pernambuco?s contemporary dance scene. It investigates the influence of regionalist movements, the ideology of the dominant class, and Freyre?s racial democracy on the placement of frevo as a symbol of identity for Pernambuco and as a core element for the state?s contemporary dance scene. I argue that, as Pernambuco celebrates '100 Anos de Frevo' (100 years of frevo), frevo is linked to the nationalist ideology of 'mesti?agem' in twentieth century Brazil, associated within Brazil with the mixture of the 'three races.' I show the reflection of this ideology on the formalization of the tradition and on the tension between dancers and choreographers as they perform frevo and try to understand its formalization process. These dancers view this process through the eyes of the dominant class, mostly composed of European descendents, who often denies the Afro-Brazilian influence in Pernambuco's cultural traditions. I recognize the interest of scholars and tourists in frevo as a musical style and show the influence of frevo in the dance scene of the state, but emphasize that little scholarly attention has been paid to frevo as a dance form. The view of scholars (and performers) of frevo as an 'urban expression,' a symbol of identity for the 'mixed population' of the city of Recife, has, to a certain extent, focused little attention on the formalization of the tradition, much less on the popular artists who contributed to that key process. As a researcher, teacher and performer of frevo, I intend to provide a historical background in which to place the new generation of frevo dancers, and to give recognition to the people who have dedicated their lives to preserving the tradition. I investigate the influence of several key artists in the current dance scene, when public spectacles, in this case, the staging of frevo, become the source of inspiration for contemporary dancers and choreographers. I believe my experience as a frevo dancer, born and raised in the state of Pernambuco, and my close association with the people involved in the tradition (frevo dancers, teachers, members of popular and contemporary dance companies) give me a unique perspective on this research.
General Note: In the series University of Florida Digital Collections.
General Note: Includes vita.
Bibliography: Includes bibliographical references.
Source of Description: Description based on online resource; title from PDF title page.
Source of Description: This bibliographic record is available under the Creative Commons CC0 public domain dedication. The University of Florida Libraries, as creator of this bibliographic record, has waived all rights to it worldwide under copyright law, including all related and neighboring rights, to the extent allowed by law.
Statement of Responsibility: by Juliana P Azoubel.
Thesis: Thesis (M.A.)--University of Florida, 2007.
Local: Adviser: Crook, Larry N.

Record Information

Source Institution: UFRGP
Rights Management: Applicable rights reserved.
Classification: lcc - LD1780 2007
System ID: UFE0021237:00001


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FREVO AND THE CONTEMPORARY DANCE SCENE IN PERNAMBUCO, BRAZIL:
STAGINTG 100 YEARS OF TRADITION

















By

JULIANA AMELIA PAES AZOUBEL


A THESIS PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL
OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT
OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF
MASTER OF ARTS

UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA

2007






































O 2007 Juliana Amelia Paes Azoubel





























To my parents Inez and Geraldo Azoubel, who nurtured my love for dance, to my students, who
have inspired me daily, and to the people of Pernambuco
In memory of the dancer and friend Henrique Figueir8a and the capoeirista and friend Aladin









ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

This research would not have been possible without the support and help of a great many

people. I thank everyone who agreed to interview and sat down or danced for several hours while

expressing the meaning of their art and their love for frevo. In Brazil, I owe a lot to Nascimento

do Pass who deeply inspired the nature of this work, and to Werison Fidelis, Bruno Henrique

and Deyvson Vicente, mestre Joho Pequeno, Mago and Rosane Almeida for participating on the

interviews, to Telma Andrade (ACAAPE) for furnishing information on frevo artists in PE, and

to Alexandre Mac~do and Barbara Heliodora for opening the Escola Municipal de Frevo Maestro

Fernando Borges for my research.

I am indebted to many people and institutions for their support during the research and

writing portion of this thesis. The Center for Latin American Studies, the Center for World Arts

and the Department of Theatre and Dance provided me with financial assistance. My academic

adviser Dr. Crook and my committee members Dr. Jeffrey Needell, Dr. Elizabeth Ginway and

Professor Joan Frosch shared valuable insights regarding the thesis and guided my work. I owe

Dr. Needell and Dr. Ginway an enormous debt of gratitude for their enthusiasm, motivation and

unfailing intellectual stimulations.

I wish to thank the Center for World Arts, Dr. Crook, Joan Froach and Welson Tremura for

the opportunity to teach, dance and choreograph through the World Music Ensemble Jacare

Brazil and for allowing me to found the Brazilian Dance Ensemble Jacare Dangante a great

venue for the dance of Pernambuco at the University of Florida and great source for my

investigation. I wish to thank my tango partner and friend Andrei Sourakov, as well as Dr.

Martin Simpson and Amy Robinson for revising the early stages of this work. I thank Dr.

Charles Wood for the valuable insights regarding research methods.










My dance students and friends in Gainesville have inspired and helped this journey. I wish

to thank my "Russian group" Sergei and Irene Zolotukhin, Segei and Tatiana Klimenko, Sergei

and Elena Kurenova, Dj ennet and Alex Matveevski, and several people in the US and in Brazil

who have inspired my research and have contributed in ways they often little suspect: I thank

Ralph and Joannie Glaeser, Mary Mingon, Pat Wade, Kemel Kalif, Bill Rohan, Lilli Wiggins,

Geraldo M. Silva, Libby Brateman, Renata de Godoy, Diogo Costa, Maria Cecilia Cabral de

Melo Lins, Luis Nogueira, Sergio Valentim, Olyvier, Fred Monteiro, Joho do Pife, Edileusa dos

Santos, Claudia Soares, Kleber Azevedo, Gilberto Trindade and Luis Claudio P. Symanski.

I wish to thank my brothers Andre Azoubel and Luciana Godoy, and Gustavo Azoubel and

M8nica Quaresma, as well as my godparents Jose Arthur and Celia Paes, and Esther Azoubel

and Genario Sales for their support. I also thank my uncle David Azoubel for hosting me in Sho

Paulo during part of my fieldwork.

My greatest thanks and deepest gratitude are reserved for my parents Inez and Geraldo

Azoubel for a lifetime of unconditional love, support and inspiration. I thank my father for

teaching me the love for music and history, and my mother, for teaching me the love for dance

and for my country.












TABLE OF CONTENTS


page

ACKNOWLEDGMENT S .............. ...............4.....


LI ST OF FIGURE S .............. ...............8.....


LIST OF OBJECT S .............. ...............9.....


LIST OF TERMS ................. ...............10......___ ....


AB S TRAC T ............._. .......... ..............._ 13...


CHAPTER


1 INTRODUCTION ................. ...............15.......... ......


Frevo, Dance Ethnography and Contemporary Dance ................. .............................17
The Significance of this Study ............... ... ...............30.......... ....
The Data Collected and Research Methods ................. ...............34...............
The Structure of the Thesis............... ...............39.


2 FREVO: "BOILING" IN THE LAND OF RACIAL DEMOCRACY ................. ...............43


From Entrudo to Carnival .................. ...... ........ ...... .......... .. ... ........4
Guarding the Nation, Maintaining Order, Controlling the Society ................. ...............51
Pernambuco Beyond Carnival .............. ...............56....
Regionalism and Frevo ................. ...............59........... ....
The M ovimento Armorial................ ..... .. .. ... .. .......6
Frevo Contests, Nascimento do Passo, Coruj a and Pernambuco's Dancing Scene ................64

3 FROM THE STREETS TO THE STAGE .............. ...............66....


Nascimento do Passo: A Life Dedicated to Frevo ................. ...............68..............
The Frevo Steps by Nascimento do Passo............... ...............74.
Frevo Costum es ................. ............... ...............97.......

Coruj a: The Image of All Northeastern Rhythms ................. ...............102.............

4 FREVO TODAY: FROM THE POPULAR TO THE CONTEMPORARY. ................... ....114


Movimento Armorial and Frevo ................. ........... ...............123 ....
Bale Brasilica: Transforming Popular Dance ............ ................. ............... 127....
The Escola Municipal de Frevo Maestro Fernando Borges Today ..............._ ................. 130
The Contemporary Dance Scene: Frevo Beyond its Folkloric Expression ................... .......136
The Deconstruction of Frevo ................. ...............142...............


5 CONCLUSION............... ...............14












LIST OF REFERENCES ................. ...............154................


BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH ................. ...............158......... ......











LIST OF FIGURES


Figure page

1-1 Nascimento do Passo' s Booklet "Proj eto 50 Anos de Frevo no Pe" .............. ... ........._...42

3-1 The Ten Commandments of Frevo by Nascimento do Passo ................. ................ ..109

3-2 Passista Bruno Henrique performing a frevo step that for the people of Pernambuco
resembles a Russian dance ................. ...............110...............

3-3 Capoeira outfits ................. ...............110................

3-4 Frevo costumes of today ................. ...............111.......... ...

3-5 Maracatu costumes ........._._.._......_.. ...............111....


3-6 Caboclinhos costumes by Bale Popular do Recife ........._..._......_._ ........._.......112

3-7 Nascimento do Passo wearing one of his frevo costumes ..........._.._. ........__ .......... 112

3-8 Coruj a ................. ...............113................

4-1 Female and male passista............... ...............14

4-2 Escola Municipal de Frevo Maestro Fernando Borges Dance Company .......................144

4-3 Passista Bruno Henrique performing one of the frevo steps, the Carpado ................... .. 145

4-4 Fervo in "Do Frevo ao Fervo" ............ ...............145.....

4-5 Fervo in "Do Frevo ao Fervo" ............ ...............146.....

4-6 Teatro Santa Isabel in Recife, one of the main sites for staging frevo ...........................146










LIST OF OBJECTS


Object page

1-1 Video of Nascimento do Passo performance of the drunken step ................ ................. 87

4-1 Video of the piece "Recifervendo" ............. ...............115...._._._....

4-2 Video of Mestre Joho Pequeno dancing frevo ................ ...............117.............










LIST OF TERMS


Baiho


Blocos camavalescos

Bumba-meu-boi


Brinquedos

Caboclinhos



Candomble


Cangaceiros

Capoeira

Capoeira Angola

Capoeira Regional


Cavalo-marinho



Carimb6

Ciranda

Coco


Congadas



Clubes Pedestres


Fandango


Syncopated dance music from the Northeast first popularized by Luiz
Gonzaga

Carnival groups of Recife

folklore tradition that combines music, dance and comedy blending
Portuguese, Afro-Brazilian and Amerindian tradition

Designates popular traditions that combine music, dance and drums

Type of Recife Carnival groups that dress in stylized Indian outfits and
feature music with a small flute, metal shakers and a drum, and fast paced-
dance performances

Afro-Brazilian religion found especially in Pemnambuco and Bahia and
characterized by the syncretism of Catholic and African beliefs

Outlaws of the Brazilian Northeast

Afro-Brazilian martial-arts dance and music form

Capoeira style created by mestre Pastinha in 1941

Capoeira style based on physical fitness and inspired by other martial arts
created by mestre Bimba in the 1930s

Popular tradition of the Brazilian Northeast, characterized by a
combination of music, dance and drama, cavalo-marinho is the Portuguese
for sea-horse

Circle dance and music of the North of Brazil

Circle dance of Portuguese influence in the Brazilian Northeast

Circle dance of participants who sing and play percussion instruments,
closely related to samba

Popular festivals in which white-clad dancers playing guitars and
tambourines parade along the seafront accompanied by a figure of St
Benedict in a decorated boat

Working-class pedestrian clubs in Recife that influenced the development
of frevo in the early years of the twentieth century

Brazilian popular dance and music tradition of European Influence










Urban northeastern-style music played by ensembles with accordion,
triangle and zabumba drum and danced in pairs

Syncopated dance music from Recife's carnival

Type of frevo played in a slow rhythm and usually performed by female
choruses in a melodic and lyrical style, and accompanied by string and
wind bands in the Blocos Carnavalescos of Recife

Fast instrumental frevo highly syncopated and played by brass, wind and
percussion instruments. Often the favorite style for the performance of
intricate frevo steps

Solo song frevo popularized in the 1930s in Recife

Literally, rocking back and forth in capoeira. It is accomplished by
maintaining both feet shoulder-width apart and moving one foot back and
then back to the base, describing a triangular step on the ground. Popularly
used to express a special way of moving



Important historical figures who were outlaws of the Brazilian Northeast

Ability to fool in capoeira, and used in frevo as a characteristic of the
"authentic frevo," the "street frevo"

Music Movement that emerged in the 1990s in Recife

Afro-Brazilian music and dance form that developed in the carnival of
Recife

Dance of the North of Brazil

A Brazilian sentimental song form that derives from Portuguese heritage

Name of powerful male orixa in the Candomble religion

The generic term for Afro-Brazilian deities in Candomble

Professional bands that perform frevo in Recife

Name of female orixa in the Candomble religion

Brazilian tambourine used in different types of music

Frevo dancer, the term is also used for chosen dancers of samba schools

Christmas time dance and drama enactment


Forr6


Frevo

Frevo de bloco



Frevo-de-rua



Frevo-cangho

Gmnga




Lampiao

And Maria Bonita

Malicia


Manguebeat

Maracatu


Marabaixo

Modinha

Ogum

Orixa

Orquestra de frevo

Oxum

Pandeiro

Passi sta

Pastoril










Polka-marcha


Prato-e-faca

Rabeca

Reisado


Samba de roda


Saudade


Violio

Xaxado


Zabumba


A hybrid march rhythm of the early twentieth century in Recife that
influenced the beginning of frevo

Kitchen utensils (plate and knife) played as percussion in samba de roda

Folk violin of Iberian influence found in the Northeast of Brazil

Catholic popular tradition of Portuguese origin common in the Northeast
especially during the period before Christmas

Round dance involving small ensembles and instruments such as the
atabaque, pandeiro, agog8, cavaquinho and viola

Portuguese expression for longing, frequently used to express the feelings
related to missing home

Brazilian acoustic six-string guitar with nylon strings

Dance tradition from the interior of the Northeast, often associated with
the historical figures of Lampiho, Maria Bonita and the cangaceiros

A double-headed bass drum used to play forro and baiho music









Abstract of Thesis Presented to the Graduate School
of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the
Requirements for the Degree of Master of Arts

FREVO AND THE CONTEMPORARY DANCE SCENE IN PERNAMBUCO BRAZIL:
STAGING 100 YEARS OF TRADITION

By

Juliana Amelia Paes Azoubel

December 2007

Chair: Larry Crook
Major: Latin American Studies

This research analyzes the formalization and development of fr~evo, one of the most

important Brazilian popular music and dance traditions, in the streets and theatres of the

metropolitan area of Recife, the capital of the state of Pemnambuco. Historical analyses and

ethnographical research demonstrate the contribution of selected popular artists in the

development of frevo as a dance tradition from 1907 to 2007. My participation in frevo classes

and informal interviews with members of popular and contemporary dance companies allowed

the collection of specific dates, pictures and video materials about frevo contests and the creation

of teaching methods. Information gathered on the work of popular artists Coruj a and

Nascimento do Passo, and dance companies of Pernambuco illustrate the different interpretations

artists have had of this tradition in the twenty-first century.

My investigation focuses on the development of frevo as a popular dance tradition and its

influence on theatres and dance companies in Pemnambuco. This work addresses controversial

ideas that are the nurturing elements of Pemnambuco' s contemporary dance scene. It investigates

the influence of regionalist movements, the ideology of the dominant class, and Freyre' s racial

democracy on the placement of frevo as a symbol of identity for Pernambuco and as a core

element for the state's contemporary dance scene.










I argue that, as Pernambuco celebrates "100 Anos de Frevo" (100 years of frevo), frevo is

linked to the nationalist ideology of "mestigagem" in twentieth century Brazil, associated within

Brazil with the mixture of the "three races." I show the reflection of this ideology on the

formalization of the tradition and on the tension between dancers and choreographers as they

perform frevo and try to understand its formalization process. These dancers view this process

through the eyes of the dominant class, mostly composed of European descendents, who often

denies the Afro-Brazilian influence in Pernambuco's cultural traditions.

I recognize the interest of scholars and tourists in frevo as a musical style and show the

influence of frevo in the dance scene of the state, but emphasize that little scholarly attention has

been paid to frevo as a dance form. The view of scholars (and performers) of frevo as an "urban

expression," a symbol of identity for the "mixed population" of the city of Recife, has, to a

certain extent, focused little attention on the formalization of the tradition, much less on the

popular artists who contributed to that key process.

As a researcher, teacher and performer of frevo, I intend to provide a historical background

in which to place the new generation of frevo dancers, and to give recognition to the people who

have dedicated their lives to preserving the tradition. I investigate the influence of several key

artists in the current dance scene, when public spectacles, in this case, the staging of frevo,

become the source of inspiration for contemporary dancers and choreographers.

I believe my experience as a frevo dancer, born and raised in the state of Pernambuco, and

my close association with the people involved in the tradition frevo dancers, teachers,

members of popular and contemporary dance companies give me a unique perspective on this

research.










CHAPTER 1
INTTRODUCTION

On February 9, 2007, the Brazilian state of Pernambuco celebrated 100 Anos de Frevo"

(100 years of frevo). As a music and dance style originating in the street Camnivals in the sister

cities of Recife and Olinda, 1 frevo represents the social integration of the ethnic elements that,

when combined, form the identity of its people. Recognized by most scholars as an urban

expression of Euro- and Afro-Brazilian elements, frevo highlights individual expression and has

come to represent Pernambuco's identity within Brazil.

This research analyzes the formalization and development of frevo as a dance style in the

streets and theatres of Pernambuco from 1907 to 2007. Historical analyses and ethnographical

research are used to demonstrate the contribution of popular artists to the development and

preservation of this tradition. The work of popular artists COruja and Nascimento do Passo, as

well as popular and contemporary dance companies in Pernambuco, illustrates the different

paths taken by dancers and choreographers to express this tradition.

Unlike other dance styles of Pemnambuco, the heterogeneous and complex nature of frevo

is not representative of just one ethnic group, social class or religious tradition. It is often

associated with the mixed population of the street Camnival of the cities of Olinda and Recife, as



SAlthough frevo has been spread to the entire state, its origin is associated with the state capital, Recife, and its
surrounding area, that encompasses its sister city, Olinda. In this study I will refer to Recife, as the urban area where
the formalization of the style has taken place.

2 By the expression popular artists I refer to artists from the lower class of the society, who have their social origin in
the "povo," the Portuguese expression that in Brazil is used to describe the common people of the lower classes,
mostly associated with individuals who did not have access to formal schooling. From the Latin populis, the
expression "popular" is directly connected with the expression "povo," and is used to describe cultural expressions
of the lower stratus of the society, of the people who do not belong to the dominant class.

3 In Pemnambuco, the term popular dance is used to designate the dance style used by professional dance companies
that were founded after the Movimento 4rmorial during the 1970s to perform and thereby preserve folkloric
traditions. Contemporary dance companies are the groups that use modern and post-modemn dance as their core
dance technique.










they moved to the music played by marching bands. Valdemar de Oliveira wrote [my

translation] :

Because it was, in fact, in Recife that all this took place, in the Recife of the late nineteenth
century, and at the beginning of this century, when the music was emerging dictating the
dance, or could it be that, as the dance took shape, it dictated the music. It is impossible to
tell: if the frevo music brought about "o pass" [the step], or if "o pass" [the step] or
dance, brought about the frevo. (Oliveira 1985, 11)

[Porque foi, de fato, no Recife, que isso tudo aconteceu, no Recife dos fins do seculo XIX,
comegos d~ste, que a musica foi aparecendo, conduzindo a danga, ou a danga foi tomando
corpo, sugerindo a musica. E impossivel distinguir bem: se o frevo, que e musica trouxe o
pass, ou se o pass, que e danga trouxe o frevo.]

There is not a single historical event that can be pointed out as having stimulated the

development of frevo as a dance style. Rita de Cassia Barbosa de Arauj o has described frevo as a

symbol of identity for Pernambuco: "Originally a cultural manifestation in the Carnival of

Pernambuco, and born among the popular sector of the society, frevo started to be seen as

symbol of cultural identity for the people of Pernambuco" (Arauj o 1996, 21). [Manifestagio

cultural originada no Carnaval do Recife, nascida entire as camadas populares urbanas, o frevo

passou a ser visto como simbolo de identidade cultural para os pemambucanos.] The common

people have been its creators, its choreographers as they dance to frevo orchestras during

Carnival, and as they perform frevo in Pernambuco and beyond.

Today, people in Pernambuco are proud to have created a music and dance style of their

own. The expression "there are as many steps of frevo as there are people in the state of

Pernambuco," is a saying used by professional and non-professional frevo dancers and

choreographers to define the continuous development of frevo. New movements are created

every day by the common people of the street Camnivals inspiring new styles of teaching and

performing frevo, linking the streets of Recife to the contemporary dance scene as

choreographers investigate new ways of staging the tradition.









Frevo, Dance Ethnography and Contemporary Dance

In various parts of the world, scholars have investigated processes of formalization and

staging popular dance, and although Brazilian popular traditions have been studied, not much

attention has been paid to the participation of popular artists in the formalization of frevo. To my

knowledge, the impact of Nascimento do Passo' s pedagogical methodology and Coruj a' s

performance style on the contemporary dance scene of Pernambuco have not yet been studied.

Maria Goretti Rocha de Oliveira has investigated Nascimento do Passo's influence in the

staging of popular dance and acknowledged both Nascimento do Passo' s and Coruj a' s roles in

teaching frevo to the Bale Popular do Recife, the first company to stage popular traditions in

Pernambuco. In her Master' s thesis, Oliveira analyzed the process of formalization of popular

dance traditions in Pernambuco as they became public spectacles from 1970 to 1998.4 My

analysis extends this line of inquiry back to 1907, and covers the rest of the twentieth century

and up to the present day. My intention is to investigate the influence of several key artists in the

current dance scene, when public spectacles in this case, the staging of frevo become the

source of inspiration for contemporary dancers and choreographers.

Since the eighteenth century, Western intellectuals have become increasingly interested in

folk traditions. Influenced by romantic ideas, folklorists were the first to investigate the theme,

followed by anthropologists, who tried to interpret the cultures of the world' s "primitive people."

By analyzing the socio-cultural levels present in "complex" or "civilized" societies, researchers

tried to understand the societies by analyzing the folk traditions they assumed best represented

their national identity. In the twentieth century, anthropologists, sociologists, historians and

psychologists, among others, have been analyzing popular culture from diverse perspectives. The


SIn 1993, Oliveira's master thesis was transformed in the book Dangas Populares Como Espetciculo Priblico no
Recife de 1970 a 1988.










dominant cultural view on this theme has led popular culture to be understood as a rich source

for intellectual debate, but at the same time dance has been viewed as a topic not worthy

scholarly research.

In the area of cultural studies, more specifically in the dance realm, we encounter several

attempts to understand dance as a cultural expression. In Researching Dance: Evolving Modes of

Inquiry (1999), dance ethnographer Joan Frosch cites Kaeppler (1978), who states that in 1942,

Franz Boas, the pioneer of American anthropology, "laid a foundation for the possibility of

examining dance and responses to it in terms of one' s own culture rather than as a universal

language" (Frosch 1999, 251). But the discovery of"others" through dance finds resonance in

the early twentieth century as modern dance was starting to flourish. The famous Russian

choreographer Fokine created over twenty "Oriental" ballets for American Isadora Duncan.

American choreographer and dancer Ruth St. Dennis took some of her choreographic

inspirations from a poster advertising Egyptian deities cigarettes, and later, with her partner Ted

Shawn, she toured and traveled widely, taking complete dances and hundreds of films from

travels in Australia and India back to the US.

At this period, although non-European dance research was being done, it was somewhat

marginalized. According to Frosch, in 1947, African-American Katherine Dunham, primarily

renowned as a performer, choreographer and dance teacher, published her research on Haitian

dance "Las Danzas de Haiti." The book was published in French in 1950 and for the first time in

English in 1983. But it was not until Kurath' s essay in 1960, "Panorama of Dance Ethnology,"

that the threads of cultural research in dance originated what became later known as dance

ethnology (Frosch 1999, 251-252). The new ideas of researching dances of other cultures

resulted in the necessity to find a name for the new area of study. For instance, Kurath









considered the term ethnic controversial and suggested that a "culturally complete picture"

should include "all dance," as ballet, jazz, and modern creative dance. She created a method on

researching dance through culture and detailed it in "Research Methods and Background of

Gertrude Kurath," which included the preparation and various stages of Heldwork, laboratory

study and search for stylistics characteristics, graphic representation of body movement,

formations, music and words, theoretical conclusions and comparison with other cultures.

Although Kurath is one of the early researchers to consider native experts as collaborators, her

research process was criticized as too detailed and difficult to be understood by other researchers

and descendents of the collaborators.

The ephemeral and performative nature of dance explains the fact that dance research has

not yet been considered a serious obj ect of study and even the name of the study continues to be

a subj ect of confusion, which makes it difficult for the works to achieve fair recognition.

Keali'nohomoku considers the term "dance ethnology" to imply "a limitation of the study to

cultural parameters, particularly "descriptive," and instead, she makes use of the term

"anthropology of dance" or "ethnochoreology" suggested by Kurath as an analog to

ethnomusicology (Frosch 1999, 257).

The new Hield of study, now widespread in the U.S. is being referred to as dance

ethnography. From the Greek ethnos, folk, people; and graph, write; it is descriptive in nature

and is comprehended by the "participant observation," the participant of the researcher, in the

"Hield." The subj ect has not yet achieved great recognition in Brazil. As a result, the investigation

of Brazilian popular dance is spread among several Hields: folkloric studies, sociology,

anthropology, history, ethnomusicology and tourism. In order to understand the background of

my Hield of study, American works on dance ethnography have informed my own research.










Beginning in the early twentieth century, Brazilian folklorists investigated the emergence

of frevo in general studies of Carnival. Traditionally analyzed as a combination of music and

dance, frevo caught the attention of renowned folklorists and music scholars who included the

topic among several works published. Among these scholars are the modernist Mario de Andrade

(1934), and the folklorists Cimara Cascudo (1954), Katarina Real (1990), Mario Souto Maior

and Leonardo Dantas e Silva (1991).

However, until the mid-twentieth century, the literature written on the subj ect was

restricted to the investigation of the origin of the style, focusing primarily to its musical aspects,

only rarely mentioning dance. Since the 1930s, other scholars have registered the presence of

frevo in their works as folkloric expression. As it is typical of the time, these critics tended to

have a highly romanticized view of cultural traditions, frevo included. In this period, frevo is

mentioned in the works of Mario de Andrade (1934), Gilberto Freyre (1941), Cimara Cascudo

(1954), and Hermilo Borba Filho (1951), as the central popular expression representing the

social integration of Brazilian people in the urban center of Recife. For these scholars, frevo is

representative of the mixed population, and as a counterpoint to samba, represents Pernambuco' s

version of Brazilian social and racial democracy.

Historian Ruy Duarte, in his Historia Social do Frevo (1968), investigates the social

aspects of the tradition. In the preface of his book he states [my translation]: "Frevo is not a

dramatic dance. It is not folk-music, it is not related to blacks, indigenous people nor to the

Portuguese, it may even not be folklore. What the heck is frevo?" (Duarte 1968, 13) [O frevo nio

e danga dramatica. N~o e folk music, nio tem parentesco com pr~tos, indios e lusitanos, e capaz

ate de nem ser folclore. [Que diabo e frevo finalmente?] Duarte was among most scholars of the

period who tried to explain and find justifications for the diversity present in Brazilian culture as










they followed the trends of European supremacy present in Brazilian society. Duarte disagrees

with all other attempts to find the origin of frevo in the Afro-Brazilian community. Although I

disagree with Duarte' s denial of the Afro-Brazilian influence on the origin of frevo, his book

made an important contribution to the debate at the time and expressed the dominant view of the

period.

As frevo caught the attention of people around the world, it was consolidated as a symbol

of identity of the state of Pernambuco, increasing scholarly attention on the subject. Local

intellectuals started to view the topic in the context of the society in which they lived. At the

invitation of musicologist Curt Lange, playwright and theater director Valdemar de Oliveira

wrote the book Frevo, Capoeira, e Pa~sso (1985), which was first published as an article in 1946

in the Boletin Latino-Americano de Muzsica. Although one of the most complete works about the

subj ect, Oliveira' s book includes an analysis of the musical and social dimensions of frevo, but

restricts the dance analysis to the historical aspects of the tradition. He argues that the origin of

frevo steps lies in interaction between capoeira~s5 and the marching bands in the Carnival of

Recife, an assumption that would be questioned throughout the following years.

Among the literature I consulted in this work, the only scholar I found who attempted to

place the origin of frevo outside of the state of Pernambuco was the former president of the

Brazilian literary academy, Alberto da Costa e Silva, in his Gm Rio Chama~do Atlcintico: A Afr~ica

no Bra~sil e o Bra~sil na Afcrica (2003). Costa e Silva disagrees with Oliveira on the origin of




5 Capoeiras in the nineteenth century were considered violent street thugs, and these Afro-Brazilian "gang"
members were often used for political violence (especially during elections), in exchange for political protection
with the police. It is important to distinguish the term capoeiras (street thugs of the nineteenth century), capoeira
(the art of playing/dancing/fighting), and capoeiristas (denomination given to people who play capoeira, after the
1930s, when the art is formalized with the creation of capoeira schools).










frevo, and questions the fact that frevo is considered an invention of the state of Pernambuco [my

translation] :

I heard and watched frevo in October 1972 in Yamoussoukro, in the Ivory Coast... It was
during a party for President Houphouet-Boigny. A small group of musicians, with sansa~s,
drums and fifes, dressed as panthers or leopards started to play and dance what was for
certain a [type of] frevo, and they told me it was a dance of senufo masks... We Brazilians
present did not hide our enthusiasm. This was so evident that Houphouet-Boigny invited a
military band to play the music again. With horns and wood instruments, the Ivorian frevo
became equal to the frevo of Recife. And we danced it! (Costa e Silva 2003, 187-188).

[Eu ouvi tocar e vi dangar o frevo, em outubro de 1972, em Yamoussoukro, na Costa do
Marfim ... Foi numa festa em homenagem ao president Houphouet-Boigny. Um pequeno
grupo de musicos, com sansas, tambores e pifanos, e de rapazes vestidos de pantera ou
leopardo comegou a tocar e a bailar o que era inubitavelmente um frevo e me disseram ser
uma danga de mascaras senufo. Os brasileiros presents nio escondemos o nosso
entusiasmo. Este foi tio evidence, que Houphouet-Boigny ordenou a uma banda military que
executasse de novo a musica. Com tar6is, metals e madeiras, o frevo marfiniano ficou
igual ao recifense. E caimos no passo]

Costa e Silva also addresses the disagreement of the origin of frevo by many intellectuals

of Pernambuco, including the writer Joho Cabral de Melo Neto. However, according to the

scholar Paulo Fernando de Moraes Farias (cited by Costa e Silva), a similar performance

occurred in 1966, in Abidj which convinced him that the origin of frevo was linked to Africa.

Costa e Silva believes that frevo was taken by the slaves from Brazil to Africa, "... in the same

way as the little donkey or the bumba-meu-boi6 tradition, the samnba, the Brazilian guitar, the

tambourine and the plate-and-knife'" (Moraes Farias, cited in Costa e Silva 2003, 188). [...do

mesmo modo que a burrinha ou o bumba-meu-boi, o samba, o violio, o pandeiro e o prato-e-

faca.]


6 Bumba-meu-bol is a folklore tradition that combines music, dance and comedy. It tells the story of death and
resurrection of an ox in a play of human, animal and fantastic characters inspired in Indigenous mythology, blending
Portuguese, Afro-Brazilian and Amerindian traditions. It started at the end of the eighteenth century in the coastal
plantations and cattle ranches of Northeastern Brazil and it spread to the North and South.

SThe prato-e-faca is an Afro- Brazilian use of European kitchen utensils (dish and knife) as musical instruments.
Usually played by women in the Afro-Brazilian tradition of the samba de roda, a continuous sound is produced by
the movement of the knife, as it is scratched on the edge of the dish.










The search for such origins is purely speculative and based on highly subj ective linking of

a similarity in sound and movement. Up to that point in history, the attention of scholars was

based on these types of assumptions. The works written by scholars born in Pernambuco tended

to follow the view of the dominant class to which most of them belonged. Music scholars began

to pay attention to frevo as the style was being exported from Pernambuco to other parts of

Brazil and to the world. As recognition of Afro-Brazilian culture increased inside and outside

Brazil, musicians, and later ethnomusicologists, started to write about frevo in tune with their

line of thought. In 2000, the j ournalist Jose Teles in his Do Frevo ao Manguebeat traced the

musical rhythms of Pernambuco starting from the development of frevo until the establishment

and repercussion of the movimento manguebeat8 during the 1990s. The information in this book

was not only central to my research, illustrating the musical aspects of frevo, but also placed the

tradition within the historical context of the state of Pernambuco up to the twenty-first century.

From the literary sources published outside of Brazil, I have drawn from the work of my

mentor, the ethnomusicologist Larry Crook, Brazilian M~usic: Northea~stern Traditions and the

Heartbeat ofa modern Nation (2005), in which he analyzes the entrance of frevo in the Brazilian

national consciousness through the country's newly formed broadcast industry centered in Rio de

Janeiro. His work also addresses the transformation of frevo into an emblem of racial and

cultural mixture, analyzing the changes which occurred in the musical style as a consequence of

modernization in Brazil, but which had experienced a certain degree of stagnation by the 1980s. I

also have drawn from the works of scholars Barbara Browning and Kenneth Dossar in their

analyses of capoeira.



SThe manguebeat was a movement that begun by the bands Chico Science & Nag~io Zumbi, Cascabulho, Mestre
AmbrC~sio, Ch~io e Chinelo, among others. They mixed the percussion-heavy local traditions of maracatu and coco
with funk, rock, metal, punk, rap and hip hop, reinterpreting and revitalizing the musical heritage of Recife.









The historical background of my investigation is taken from several sources related to

Brazilian history. Freyre's Casa Grande e Senzala: Formagdo da Familia Brasileira sob o

Regime de Economia Patriarcal (1933), Sobrados e M~ocamnbos (1936), Regido e Tradigdo

(1941), and Guia Pra~tico Historico e Sentimental da Cidadeddddddddddddddddd do Recife (1942) outlined the ideas

that led to the myth of social and racial democracy spread in Brazil since the 1930s. For a deeper

understanding of the context in which frevo finds itself in the state of Pernambuco and within

Brazil, I have drawn from the writings of the historian Robert Levine in his Pernamnbuco in the

Brazilian Federation, 1889-193 7 (1978), and several works of two of my professors Jeffrey D.

Needell, and M. Elizabeth Ginway, as well as the sources cited above, internet sources and

published newspapers.

Understanding the class structure and the appropriation of popular traditions by the upper

class was crucial to my investigation, and the works written on Brazilian Camnival were of utmost

importance. In Antologia do Carnaval (1991), folklorists Mario Souto Maior and Leonardo

Dantas e Silva collected the writings of several authors that were extremely useful. Among them,

Henry Koster's "O Entrudo" (1978), Jose Ramos Tinhorio's "O Carnaval no Romance

Pernambucano" (1991), Leonardo Dantas e Silva' s "O Frevo Pemambucano" (1990), and Mario

Mello' s "A Origem e Significado do Frevo" (193 8) contributed to my understanding of frevo in

the different historical periods of the Camnival tradition in Pernambuco.

I have drawn on Rita de Cassia Barbosa de Arauj o' s Festas: Mascara~s do Tempo;

Entrudo, M~ascarada e Frevo no Carnaval do Recife (1996), as she placed the Pemambuco

Carnival celebration in the context of Brazilian nationalism and identified it as one of the

elements that influenced the construction of state and national identity. The work of Felipe

Ferreira, O Livro de Ouro do Carnaval Brasileiro (2005), placed frevo within the broad national









context of Brazilian Carnival, and compared its development in Pernambuco with the Brazilian

national rhythm, samba, an analysis I found necessary for understanding the presence of

regionalist trends in Carnival.

In analyzing the development of frevo and its dance aspects, the work of Maria Goretti

Rocha de Oliveira, Dangas Populares Como Espeta~culo Puiblico no Recife de 1970 a 1988

(1993), provided important background for my own investigation of frevo. Oliveira' s interviews

with Nascimento do Passo, members of the Bale Popular do Recife, its director Andre Madureira

and the Grupo Folcl6rico Cleonice Veras served as important sources for my analysis of the

staging of frevo.

As a dance ethnographer, I also employed a combination of informal personal and group

interviews, participation in dance classes, and the investigation of an unpublished booklet

containing the main ideas of Nascimento do Passo' s teaching method, Projeto 50 Anos de Frevo

no Pe (50 years of frevo no pe9 prOj ect), (Passo, 1998, Figure 1-1), press materials, and

newspaper articles on the latest frevo productions. After the official celebration of "Cem Anos de

Frevo" (A Hundred Years of Frevo) began in February 2007, different ideas about dance and

identity have flourished in the society of Pernambuco, and I look forward to seeing more written

and choreographic material on the subj ect in the future.

While recognizing the importance of the literature produced on frevo, the main obj ective of

this work has been to give voice to the popular artists, who have dedicated their lives to frevo,

and to investigate the impact of frevo on the contemporary dance scene of Pernambuco. This

investigation allows for the increased understanding of the encounter, the mixing, and the re-

creation of frevo steps, facilitating different interpretations of the subject. Using contemporary


9 The expression frevo no pd, Portuguese for "frevo on the feet," is used to describe the act of dancing frevo.










ideas, the process of formalization of frevo is questioned, and movements are shown to be tied to

individual expression, linking the tradition to its double origin, of both individual and

spontaneous expression.

My contact with contemporary dance started in 1996, when I first traveled to the United

States. As a dancer, I worked with Jawole Willa Jo Zollar, and her dance company Urban Bush

Women 1o while they were in residence at the University of Florida. Ms. Zollar' s choreographic

philosophy brought me back to the frevo world to which I belonged, causing me an instant

identification with her choreographic material. Her requests for improvisation, the exploration of

movements based in previous choreographed material, and her emphasis on individual

expression made me familiar with the world I had just entered by dancing for a contemporary

company. The solos I performed in rehearsals reminded me of the frevo solos I used to perform

in Brazil. In every rehearsal and performance I found room for my own expression, for exploring

my creativity, and for challenging my improvisational skills. Soon after, in 1998, I started my

undergraduate studies at the University of Florida, and became more acquainted with modern

and contemporary dance.

The historical roots and the evolution of modern dance explain the desire of certain

individuals to replace the rules of classical ballet with the desire for self-expression. The

development of modern dance, dating back to the early twentieth century, was based almost

exclusively on dancers' self-expression. Breaking away from the rules of classical ballet, the first

generation of modern dancers inspired many followers, who later codified steps, creating their

own styles of teaching and performing.




'0 Founded in 1984, the Afro- American contemporary dance company Urban Bush Women is based in Brooklyn,
NY, and tours around the U.S.









Developed primarily in the United States and Germany during the twentieth century,

modern dance closely resembles modern art and music in its iconoclasm and experimentation. It

is typically conceptualized into three main historical phases. The first phase is characterized by

the breaking of old patterns established by the classical ballet technique. Known today as "the

first generation of modern dance," artists involved in this period included Isadora Duncan, Loie

Fuller, Ruth St. Denis and Ted Shawn, in the United States, and Rudolf von Laban and Mary

Wigman in Germany. These dancers rebelled against the rigid formalism, artifice, and

superficiality of classical academic ballet and each sought to inspire audiences to a new

awareness of inner or outer realities, a goal shared by all subsequent modern dancers.

The "second generation" of modern dancers was characterized by the codification and

formalization of the styles created by the previous generation. Among the dancers who

participated in that phase were Martha Graham, Doris Humphrey and Charles Weidman. The

third phase, the period that preceded and motivated the ideas of the contemporary dance of

today, was characterized by breaking away from the codification proposed by the previous

generation. The main names of this period were disciples of the "second generation" and

included Merce Cunningham and Lester Horton. Although differing from one another, these

distinct phases were a result of the dancers' necessity to express their individual needs and

visions. In contrast to folkloric and popular expressions, modern dance had no direct attachment

to ritual, religion or classical tradition; instead, individual expression inspired the movement

tendencies of dancers, who became known as the "fathers and mothers" of modern dance. 1

As a dance style, contemporary dance continued this process of rebellion from traditional

and pre-established movement patterns of modern dance. Individual expression became its main

'' Although some of these dancers investigated rituals of different cultures, most of their work was based on their
individual expressions, deliberately breaking away from previous classical ballet training.










core, and it is a source of inspiration for choreographers and dancers. Subj ective themes were

explored and human questions invaded the stages through movement. Consequently, traditional

movement patterns are analyzed, broken with, and replaced by the creative vision of the

choreographer who is believed to be constantly influenced by her or his surroundings. In this

period, the individual is seen as a product of the environment, as the one who constructs

occupied space. As a cosmopolitan form of expression, contemporary dance has traveled

through out the world, changing the dance scene of many countries that classical ballet had

influenced in the past.

Due to geographical and economic factors, Brazil received the first seeds of American

modern and contemporary dance much later than the so-called developed countries. Within

Brazil, the southeastern states of Rio de Janeiro and Sho Paulo were early centers of dance

activity. In Pernambuco, this new approach did not reach the dance scene until the late twentieth

century. These southern Brazilian states have had a stronger influence of European and

American formal dance, and welcomed the first ideas of modem dance. For many years, classical

ballet and American j azz dance were the two formal styles taught in dance schools and theatres

of Pernambuco. As a consequence of the exchange of dancers between dance companies of the

Northeast and the Southeast, modern dance gained in popularity, eventually initiating the

development of contemporary dance ideas in Pemambuco.

In contrast to dancers in other parts of Brazil, those raised in Pernambuco are somewhat

unique, since until now, most contemporary dancers of Pernambuco have not been trained in a

specific school of modern dance. Rather, their dance technique derives from their training in

classical ballet schools, American j azz, their experience in popular dance companies, or in a mix










of these dance experiences. In the dance realm, the M~ovimento Armoriall2 in Pernambuco played

a key role in motivating dancers and dance companies to mix popular and classical forms and to

incorporate popular dance vocabulary in their dance training.

In the 1970s, the M~ovimento Armorial pushed popular dance traditions to be staged as

theatrical spectacles. This phase is characterized by the creation of the Bale Popular do Recife,

influencing the founding of many other dance companies such as the Bale Brincantes,

Companhia Trapia de Danga, Maracatu NaCgo Pernambuco, and Bale Brasilica, just to cite a few.

These companies led to the founding of several other dance companies that specialized in

presenting the folklore of Pernambuco in forms of theatrical spectacles. Due to their dedication

to staging popular dance traditions, such groups started to be known as grupos para-

folcl6ricos" distinguishing themselves from the community groups, known as "grupos

folcl6ricos" (folk groups), which are the groups that originally invented the traditions that are

now being transformed and performed on stage. 13

When popular traditions are staged, they undergo a process of modification that is

motivated by the adaptation of that tradition to its new environment. Choreographers and dancers

of the "grupos folcl6ricos" or "grupos para-folcl6ricos" adapt these traditions for a new purpose:

audience entertainment. In Pernambuco, this process was motivated principally by the tourist

industry, leading to the creation of the Bale Popular do Recife, and the many other dance groups

soon after.




12 The Movimento Armorial was developed during the 1970s intending to blend erudite and popular culture.

13 This process can be compared, to a certain extent, to what happened in the dance scene of Bahia, where Afro-
Brazilian rituals are represented by dance companies in tourist events. The BalC Folcl6rico da Bahia is one of the
best examples. Although named BalC Folcl6rico da Bahia this group is considered a grupo or balC para-folcl6rico
due to its professional intention. Often groups that are by definition "grupos para-folcl6ricos," are known as "grupos
folcl6ricos."










Today, in addition to the founding of many popular dance companies, the state of

Pernambuco is also unique because of its contemporary dance companies, which are concerned

with using popular traditions as source of inspiration for their shows. As a result of their

attention to local traditions, a specific and unique vocabulary of movement developed among the

contemporary choreographers, and in blending popular traditions with contemporary concepts,

they have created a pattern firmly imbedded in the choreography and dance technique of the

state.

Among the traditional dances that have been staged up to today, frevo has been the one

that has influenced the contemporary dance scene the most. The formalization of frevo has

inspired the formalization of other dance traditions in the state, and at the same time, these other

dance traditions have consolidated a technique that is inspiring contemporary choreographers to

break new ground in the construction of their styles. It can be said that dancers in Pernambuco

have been highly influenced by frevo in their dance technique. Used in diverse ways, frevo

steps, along with technical nuances, are present in the numerous pieces, and are firmly rooted in

the dancers' unique body movement.

The Significance of this Study

As one of the most important Camnival traditions in Brazil, frevo was designated a

historical patrimony in 2007 by the IPHAN, the Instituto do Patriminio Hist6rico e Artistico

Nacional (Artistic and Historical National Patrimony Institute). However, most literature written

on frevo explores the music, giving little attention to the importance of dance and its influence

on theaters and dance companies. An investigation of the ideology that elevated frevo music and

dancing to a regional symbol will enhance our understanding of the tradition.

Throughout this work, I consider the literature written on racial mixture and the scant

literature written on frevo, arguing that frevo is linked to the nationalist ideology of









"mestigagem" in twentieth century Brazil. First and foremost, frevo is viewed as a regional

identity symbol for the state of Pernambuco. Second, frevo has been associated within Brazil

with the mixture of the "three races" (African, Amerindian and European). The ideology of

downplaying the Afro-Brazilian component in Pernambuco cultural traditions has been present

in the dominant class, mostly composed of those of European descent.

As a dance style, frevo is characterized by the contrast of individual versus group

expression. The individualized improvisational nature of frevo street performance is being used

by contemporary choreographers as inspiration for the formalization and staging of the tradition.

The steps once created by the common people in the streets become the inspiration for the

"tecnica" (dance technique) taught at frevo schools. Presenting the importance of these elements

for the contemporary dance scene of Pemnambuco, this work shows the development of frevo and

the influence of traditional tendencies, spread among the population, on the dance itself, and on

its tendency to constantly change.

Generations of musicians and dancers have consciously or unconsciously contributed to

the development of frevo. Frevo dancing has influenced the emergence of many other dance

styles, caught the interest of scholars, and given tourists the opportunity to experience its

significance in the streets of Pemnambuco' s Camnival. However, despite the pervasive influence

of frevo on the tourist industry and on the dance scene of Pemnambuco, little scholarly attention

has been paid to it as a dance form. As a teacher and performer of frevo, I intend to fi11 in this

void and provide a more accurate historical grounding for the new generation of dancers, giving

more recognition to the people who have developed and maintained the tradition.

The informal interviews presented in this study allowed me to collect specific dates, photos

and video material on the participation of popular artists, including children, in the creation of










methods of teaching and staging frevo. Through my participation and observation in frevo

classes, and my experience as a frevo dancer, I compared the pedagogical methods and

choreographic approaches used by dancers during frevo performances. Archival research visits to

the Museu do Frevo, Museu do Homen do Nordeste, Casa do Carnaval, and many Carnival

associations in the cities of Recife and Olinda were helpful for the collection of relevant written

material such as books and newspaper articles on the subj ect.

I intend that the recordings and written material resulting from my field work contribute

not only to the process of formalization and development of frevo, but also to the consolidation

of the "professional frevo world," through the inclusion of frevo dancers in the j ob market.

Although being formalized and staged, frevo has been preserved mainly through street

performance, surviving as a popular tradition in the Carnivals of Pernambuco. While the

presence of frevo during Carnival has continued to popularize the dance, it has decreased the

acceptance of professional frevo dancers in the j ob market. The association of frevo with

Carnival to some extent has influenced the acceptance of frevo in the professional dance scene of

the state, making it harder for frevo dancers to be recognized as professional dancers. For some

formally trained dancers, frevo is not considered suitable for the stage.

In Pernambuco, professional frevo dancersl4 Struggle to make a living, which leads them to

perform other dance styles as a way out of their dire socio-economic condition. Because of the

nature of frevo as a dance tradition, one that includes the street Carnivals and the stages, it is

hard to distinguish an amateur from a professional dancer of frevo. For the purpose of this study,

I consider frevo dancers who are paid to perform as professional. I find it useful to separate

them in three groups, since different orientation and background link frevo dancers to class


14 As frevo dancers I refer to dancers who have taken the performance of frevo as a profession, most often known as
"passistas."









issues illustrating the complex nature of frevo: 1- dancers who have learned frevo through their

street experience and today perform in tourist events; 2- dancers who have learned frevo by

attending a school and/or performing for a popular dance company; 3- dancers who have been

trained in contemporary or classical dance, and today perform the new interpretations of frevo, as

the style is being staged by contemporary choreographers.

Most dancers who best represent frevo are living in the slums surrounding Recife.

Although their dedication to frevo facilitates their inclusion in society, for these dancers,

performing frevo can not yet be considered a lifetime career. Recognizing the importance of

frevo for the people of Pernambuco and its ability to reach the lower classes of the society (since

it originated from the "povo") will eventually allow frevo dancers to survive as professionals. As

one young frevo dancer described [my translation]:

Most of the teenagers who live in the same slum I do are looked on as criminals and are
feared by everyone. I am different because I dance frevo, so they look at me as "the artist,"
and I am proud of that... the problem is that I never make money when I perform, so I will
have to find something else for me to do... God knows what. (Werison Fidelis,
interviewed on 07/16/06)

[A maioria dos joyens, que vive na mesma favela que eu vivo, e vista como bandidos ee~
temida por todo mundo. Eu sou diferente porque eu dango frevo, entio eles olham pra mim
como "o artista, e eu tenho orgulho disso... o problema e que eu nunca fago dinheiro
quando eu dango, entio eu vou ter que achar outra coisa pra mim fazer ... sabe Deus o
que.]

Werison Fidelis is among the hundreds of young pa~ssista~s who daily face the dire poverty

of Pernambuco. Through this work, I analyse the process of formalization of frevo within the

socio- realities of the dance scene in the twenty-first century. The popularity of frevo is

incongruous with the poverty of the dancers, and since I see dancing as a tool for education and

change, it is my hope that by providing more information on the topic, I will make progress

toward facilitating this change. My research is intended to inform scholars and others about the









development of frevo, and recognize the efforts of individuals who have invested their lives in

the preservation of this important dance tradition.

The Data Collected and Research Methods

In 1998, right before I traveled to the U.S. to pursue a career as a professional dancer, I

visited Nascimento do Passo. He was teaching frevo in the Escola Municipal de Frevo, a school

sponsored by the city of Recife. I had previously studied under Nascimento do Passo in a public

school, and had learned the steps he created as I worked for the dance companies, but I had never

intended to research frevo formally.

With the intent to take my last frevo class with Nascimento do Passo before I left my home

town, Recife, I spent the entire day at the school. With the knowledge of my plans to travel, we

agreed on a special class, in which we spontaneously danced and discussed the steps he was

teaching that day. As we danced for many hours, he explained his teaching methods to me, and

he mentioned his dream of having frevo taught in all schools and universities. Before I left the

school, he presented me with a booklet he had put together with the multi-media artist Antinio

N6brega on his method of teaching, Projeto 50 Anos de Frevo no Pe (50 Years of Frevo no Pe

Project), mentioning his dream that the booklet was translated into English. He emphasized that

my trip to the U.S. might turn out to be an opportunity to accomplish that, entrusting me to do so.

At the time, the booklet added to my understanding of the steps he had created, thereafter

inspiring my dancing career in the U.S.

After taking his class, he insisted I videotaped a combination of steps he had catalogued, so

that, in his words, "you do not forget them and can teach what you know to the foreign people

you will encounter" (Assim voc6 nio esquece eles e pode ensinar o que voc6 sabe para as

pessoas estrangeiras que voc6 vai encontrar.) Nascimento do Passo seemed to understand my










desire to teach frevo abroad, but he did not realize how much his philosophy would influence my

dance career, and how much it would inspire my dance research.

Growing up in the 1980s, I had always known Nascimento do Passo as a famous frevo

teacher in Recife. He distinguished himself from other frevo teachers by wearing frevo costumes

every day of the year, not only during Carnival or performances, and he was known for having

taught the best frevo dancers in the state. Although popular dance had been always part of my

background (I grew up dancing also other northeastern popular dance traditions, such as pa~storil,

maracatu, ciranda, coco, xaxado, bumba-meu-boi, etc.), my interest in frevo, other than in

Carnival, began when I joined the dance company Brasiliana directed by Marcos and Ana Melo

in 1990.

This dance company rehearsed in the neighborhood of Afogados, in the suburbs of Recife,

and was composed mostly of professional dancers who had studied under Nascimento do Passo

and/or danced for the Bale Popular do Recife. While participating in the Brasiliana I first learned

a new way that frevo could be performed on stage. The company was composed of dancers with

little formal education, with origins in the lower classes, who intended to stage popular dance to

take it abroad. Our choreographic method consisted of using frevo steps taught by Nascimento

do Pass and Coruj a, or participating in street Carnivals.

Our philosophy was to incorporate people trained in classical ballet into the company, in

order to add more "technique" and "quality" to the performance. My own formal training led to

my inclusion to the company. By technique we meant a degree of performance quality that

required formal dance training, the ability to memorize dance steps, and to perform them in a

certain order. We intended to dance for the audience' s expectations, instead of improvising, as

frevo dancers do during Carnival or in performance for hotel lobbies and tourist events. We










thought that only classical ballet training could teach that type of performance quality. Our

intention was to show frevo on stage, for this reason we emphasized synchronism, virtuosity,

endurance, and performance quality.

Our view was that frevo did not belong exclusively to Carnival nor did it serve only as a

tourist attraction, instead, it functioned as a source of inspiration for new choreographic

creations. Although the Bale Popular do Recife had staged frevo among other popular dances, in

our opinion, their productions showed similar characteristics to frevo performances for tourists.

In fact, that company's financial survival depended of performances for tourists. They intended

to preserve what had become known by the people of Pernambuco as the "authentic frevo."

After j oining the dance company Brasiliana, my interest in performing popular dance, and

in the adaptation of folkloric expressions to formal stage settings increased. Soon after, I joined

the Gr-upo Folcl6rico de Canto e Danga de Olinda (1991), a folkloric group directed by Carlos

Ivan de Melo. This company aspired to show Portuguese and Brazilian dance traditions and to

reduce the cultural distance between Brazil and Portugal. Most of our shows aimed at tourists

and events for middle-class audiences in Brazil or Portugal due to its tourist approach, in this

group, frevo was purposely shown as a folkloric expression of Pernambuco.

Gradually, the name and frevo steps of Nascimento do Passo and Coruj a became part of

my professional life. My friendship with the pa~ssista (frevo dancer) Henrique Figueir8a, and

dancers of the Companhia Olindanga (a popular dance company I directed), also motivated my

interest in investigating this dance style more fully."





15 The passista Henrique Figueir~a died in 2006 for lack of financial condition for health treatment. His
determination to have frevo as his lifetime career deeply inspired my work with the dancers of the Companhia
Olindanga.









At this point, the careers of several frevo dancers inspired me. While Nascimento do

Pass' s booklet serves as a tool for the analysis of the formalization of frevo, it is my sincere

hope that by writing this study, I can continue to fulfill part of his dream of having frevo taught

in formal settings. I write this work in Coruj a' s and Henrique Figueir8a' s memory, and I wish to

dedicate it to Nascimento do Passo as a way of thanking him for his generosity and dedication to

frevo, which has been an inspiration to me in my professional dance career.

Frevo dancers in the state of Pernambuco are numerous, but my own personal experience

and data collection led me to focus on the influence of Nascimento do Passo and Coruj a on the

state's dance scene, which made the gathering of material about their lives the starting point of

my research. In fact, some of the data collected for this work dates back to a time before I started

my Master' s degree at the University of Florida in 2005, such as Nascimento do Passo' s booklet,

and several of his quotations which date back to 1998.

The information from archives retrieved during my Hield work in 2006 confirmed the

influence of Coruj a and Nascimento do Passo on Pernambuco' s dance scene. This led me to

interview former students of Nascimento do Passo, professional dancers, and choreographers of

popular dance companies, who, through their dancing and choreographic creations reflect

Nascimento do Passo's and Coruj a' s influence and impact of frevo on the popular and

contemporary dance scene.

For the purpose of this work, I chose to investigate the teaching methodology applied at

the Escola Municipal de Frevo Maestro Fernando Borges, which I consider to be one of the most

important sites for the development of contemporary frevo. It was there, when the school was

still named Escola Municipal de Frevo, that Nascimento do Passo developed his own unique

method of teaching frevo.










Today, in Pernambuco and beyond, dancers and choreographers from diverse dance

backgrounds are exploring different ways of staging frevo. Different approaches, dance training,

and socio-economic factors lead choreographers to search for new dance styles, thereby

influencing the staging of frevo. In my view, the use of individual expression emphasized by

Nascimento do Passo has directly influenced today's choreographic creations. It is my wish that

other dancers, choreographers and dance companies of Pernambuco, although not specifically

highlighted in this study, also be recognized by this research. Hence, the limited time for field

work and the nature of my work forced me to narrow my line of inquiry to these basic issues.

While investigating the influence of frevo on the contemporary dance scene of the state,

my experience with the Bale Brasilica, (which originated from the Bale Popular do Recife) led

my choice to write about this dance company specifically. Aditionally, I found the choreography

of Valeria Vicente to be the most accessible and directly related to my research. This is not to

say that other contemporary dancers and choreographers have not contributed to the influence of

frevo in the contemporary dance scene, but the limited nature of this study does not allow me to

delve into all of them. 16

Besides the importance of Nascimento do Passo and Coruj a in Pernambuco, one event

guided my work. As I returned to Recife in July 2006 for my field research, I learned that

Nascimento do Passo had been accused of a crime. Shocked by the news, I had to overcome the

difficulty of gathering information on a topic which people were avoiding. Most people, dancers

and non-dancers alike, were hesitant to inform me about his life due to the fact that he had been



16 The works of M~nica Lira (Grupo Experimental), Maria Paula Costa Rigo (Grupo Grial), Cl~udia S~io Bento (Cia
dos Homens), Raimundo Branco (Compassos Cia de Danga), Meia-Noite (Grupo DaruC Malungo), Trajetos Cia de
Danga (Kleber Azevedo), Marilia Hammer and Mari~ngela Valenga (Cia de Danga Artefolia), Christiane Galdino,
S~rgio Valentim and Olyvier, and my own choreography, among several others, are examples of the interaction
between popular and contemporary dance.










fired from the school he had founded, and was being prosecuted, while the school had been taken

over by the governmental authorities, which prohibited Nascimento do Passo from returning.

Every effort I made to communicate with Nascimento do Passo was frustrated by people's

fear of being associated with criminal activity. Newspaper articles reported the situation from the

perspective of a mother of the student who claimed to be sexually harassed by Nascimento do

Pass. Although I will always have Nascimento do Passo as a mentor, in this study, I hope to

remain without bias, and I will not attempt to judge the accusation.

I cannot help but note, however, the impact of this scandal. The fact that this first impeded

my research, illustrated to me the type of situations that are linked to the impoverished life

conditions of most frevo dancers, offering a sociological dimension to my study. Up to this point,

none of the accusations have been proven, but Nascimento do Passo has lost his j ob. Since the

time of the accusation, he has been living on the island of Itamaraca, near the outskirts of Recife;

he has suffered a stroke, and has stopped dancing and teaching frevo. It seems unjust that

somebody who had always worked towards the preservation of frevo would end up spending his

twilight years in such dire conditions. How many people inside and outside of Pernambuco have

benefitted from his dream of formalizing and preserving frevo? How many are making profit

from the method he invented? Nascimento do Passo's decline and economic difficulties inform

the socio-economic background of this study. The data gathered in this study illustrate

Nascimento do Passo's contribution to frevo, and the living conditions of poverty of most people

in Pernambuco, not to mention frevo dancers who suffer from social prejudice and

discrimination.

The Structure of the Thesis

This thesis is divided into 5 chapters. The major purpose is to investigate the development

of frevo, and the influence of popular artists in the contemporary dance scene of Pernambuco. In










the previous pages, I have explained my research methods, the data collected, the objectives, and

relevance of the study, and I provide the literature review on the topic. It investigates the

previous studies on frevo and addresses the idea that most scholarship about frevo is written by

Brazilians scholars (not dancers) in Brazil.

Part of my own motivation to undertake this research came from the "saudade"

experienced when I moved to the U.S. As a Brazilian frevo dancer from Pemnambuco, living

outside her native land, I have tried to contrast the information written by scholars with my own

views and personal experiences.

Chapter 2 focuses on the historical context for this study. I begin by presenting some

general information on the history of Camnival in Pernambuco, and then I analyze the issues of

class and race, which led to the early manifestations of Carnival imposed by the upper class. The

founding of working class Camnival associations in Pernambuco (chibes pedestres) is then

analyzed in parallel to the beginning of the elite masquerade ball tradition. This chapter reveals

the tendency of the state to control public celebrations, illustrating the rivalry among the military

marching bands which began the history of frevo. Discussing the historical process after the

proclamation of the Republic, I argue that issues of national and regional identity, exemplified by

frevo contests and regionalist movements, illustrated the struggles of the society in the

production and reproduction of the frevo tradition.

Chapter 3 illustrates the life histories of two popular artists, Coruj a and Nascimento do

Pass, as they worked towards the preservation and transformation of the tradition. Nascimento

do Pass' s methodology for teaching frevo is contrasted with Coruj a' s attempt to stage it. The

process of taking their life experiences as street dancers to stage the tradition is explained by

information gathered in newspaper articles and through personal interviews. The histories of the










elements that constitute today's "authentic frevo," such as the frevo costumes, are also present

and illustrate the collaboration of popular artists in the development of the dance. It also

addresses the basic elements of Nascimento do Passo's teaching methodology.

Chapter 4 focuses on the development of Nascimento do Passo's teaching philosophy

based on individual expression. Frevo is compared to contemporary dance, and personal

experiences are used to explain the contribution of the individual expression shared by these two

dance forms. I illustrate the influence of the M~ovimento Armorial in staging popular traditions of

Pernambuco and of the Northeast, explaining the singular influence of frevo in the dance training

of the Bale Popular do Recife in the past decades. I then analyze the work of contemporary

artists of Pernambuco, illustrating the tendency toward both innovation and preservation through

research on the historical roots of the tradition, noting how they break away from the concepts of

authenticity embedded in frevo as a folkloric expression. These data are placed into the historical

context presented in the previous chapters through informal interviews and my own participation

in dance classes.

In chapter 5, I conclude that the individual expression of frevo is an essential element for

the contemporary dance scene of Pernambuco illustrating its influence in the works of the new

generation of contemporary dancers and choreographers. To understand Pernambuco's

contemporary dance scene and the unique style of its dancers and choreographers, we must trace

its historical roots and recognize the influence of frevo and popular artists in the streets, dance

classes and theatres of Pernambuco.
























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Figure 1-1 Nascimento do Passo' s Booklet "Projeto 50 Anos de Frevo no Pe." Photo by Juliana
Azoubel









CHAPTER 2
FREVO: "BOILING" IN THE LAND OF RACIAL DEMOCRACY

Although frevo is promoted through innumerable TV and radio commercials, music

albums, and tourist events as a symbol of identity for the state of Pernambuco, only a very

small portion of the population of Pernambuco is aware of the historical and cultural roots of

frevo. The first documented usage of the term "frevo" appeared in 1907, in the newspaper O

Pequeno. Recife's population, however, had already been using slang terms derived from the

mispronunciation of the Portuguese verb ferverl7 (to boil over) to describe the animation and

effervescence encountered in the crowds of the Carnival. In this chapter, I will investigate the

historical roots of frevo in the nineteenth century and then trace the development of frevo from

the turn of the twentieth century to the present.

In order to understand the dance elements of frevo, it is important to comprehend the

context in which the first steps of this popular tradition took place. While 1907 is formally

recognized as the beginning of frevo, the development of the dance techniques and musical

repertoire began much earlier. The influence of the European marching band tradition and the

Afro-Brazilian fight/dance capoeiram8 are crucial to understanding the origins of frevo.

Additionally, Brazilian colonial history contributed to the context in which frevo originated.

In O Folklore no Calrnaval do Recife (Recife's Folklore in Carnival), American folklorist

Katarina Real describes Brazilian colonial society and the socio-cultural environment in which

frevo groups emerged in the Carnival of Recife (Real 1990, 8). Citing French anthropologist



'7 The verb ferver was often mispronounced as forever, which is said to be the origin of the word frevo.

1s Considered an art-form, "Capoeira originated among Afro-Brazilians as a mechanism of both direct and indirect
resistance to the oppressive controls and violence of Brazil's slave culture in the country's colonial era." (Crook
2005, 181)










Roger Bastides' s reference to Carnival in Recife she writes: "to the folklorist observing Recife

during Camnival, it seems clear that this Camnival is a type of music school of old habits and

tradition" (Bastides 1945, 199, cited in Real 1990, 8). [Para o folclorista que observa Recife

durante o Camaval parece, com grande nitidez, que esse Carnaval e uma especie de

conservat6rio dos antigos habitos e tradiCaes.]

The elements found in the Carnival of Recife are symbols of cultural identity of many of

today's ethnic and social groups present in Pernambuco. From the perspective of mid-twentieth-

century scholars, frevo and Camnival itself represented traditions of the past. Indeed the frevo

tradition was constructed around the notion of representing and preserving the authentic culture

of the people of Pemambuco, people of mixed origin, represented by the word "povo." Despite

the appropriation of the tradition by the upper class, the origin of frevo has always been linked to

the "povo," the lower stratum of society.

From Enztrudo to Carnival

One of the groups particularly relevant for this analysis is mentioned by Pereira da Costa in

the book Folclore Pernambucano. Da Costa refers to a group of blacks from Recife, who formed

the companhias (companies) of dockworkers, and who traditionally participated in the urban

festivities of the period called entrudos (Costa 1908, 23 8). Derived from the Latin introitus, the

entrudo was a three-day-long celebration that anticipated the Lenten season of Catholicism.

Present in Brazil since the beginning of the colonial period in Pemambuco, the entrudo was

characterized by the mixing of different social classes and playful games, songs and dances.

The first time the term entrudo was used in a formal document in Brazil was in a text of

November 10, 1553, found in the DenunciaCges do Santo Oficio in Pernambuco (Silva and Souto

Maior 1991, XIV). Sociologist Felipe Ferreira wrote [my translation]:









It was even common during the period before Lent for the big land owners and the small
farmers to leave their rural homes to go to the nearest villages to participate in the
festivities called "fat days," [days before the penitence of Lent] that were for a long time,
similar to the festivities of Portugal. (Ferreira 2004, 80)

[Era inclusive comum que durante o period anterior a Quaresma os grandes fazendeiros e
os pequenos lavradores deixassem suas habitaC~es rurais e se dirigissem as vilas mais
pr6ximas para participarem das diversies dos chamados "dias gordos", que, durante muito
tempo, foram similares as acontecidas em Portugal.]

Following the model of the urban cities of Portugal, Pernambuco was hierarchically

divided into many social groups during the colonial era. Despite these class divisions, the entire

population participated in public, religious or civic events. Afro-Brazilianns comprised the

overwhelming maj ority of the poor population.

Following this period, two types of entrudos emerged. The entrudo familiar featured

primarily middle-class Euro-Brazilian population and took place inside of the house, and among

family and friends. The other entrudo, the entrudo popular, involved the poor population of

slaves, and ex-slaves and took place mainly in the streets. The entrudo familiar was a private

occurrence organized by young men and women of the middle class. The entrudo popular was a

public celebration characterized by the participation of the economically marginalized

population, who often resorted to physicality to assert their participation in festivities.

During most of the year, members of the middle class avoided leaving their homes at night,

fearing the risk of robbery and personal assaults, safeguarding themselves in the streets in transit

by using carriages or strolling in groups. Many scholars have argued that this fear caused the

streets to be dominated almost exclusively by slaves. According to Ferreira [my translation]:

Taking advantage of these moments of pleasure provided by the festive atmosphere of
freedom, the black slaves not only participated in the customs of throwing water, but also
held festivities in their own manner. During the days of the entrudo it was not rare to see
groups of slaves showing themselves off in processional parades, with dance and music
known as congos or cucumbis. (Ferreira 2004, 93)










[Aproveitando-se desses mementos de regozij o e do relaxamento dos costumes provocado
pela atmosfera de liberdade festival, os negros escravos nio somente se entregavam as
molhagas, mas tambem realizavam festas a sua maneira. N~o era raro ver-se, durante os
dias comemorativos do Entrudo, grupos de escravos exibindo-se em cortejos processionais,
com dangas e musicas, chamados de Congos ou Cucumbis.]

The separation of lower and upper class manifestations of Carnival was not an official

policy, but governmental forms of control were clearly aimed at the entrudo popular, not the

entrudo familiar. As a reaction to these public displays of anarchy, Brazilian elite families used

their influence to curtail the street parties of the entrudo popular. Ironically, attempts to prohibit

the popular festivities never fully succeeded because members of the elite also began to

participate in the street entrudos. At the same time, when participating in the entrudo popular,

the members of the elite maintained their own social standing. For example, the throwing of

dirty water at people, one of the common customs, illustrates this division, since the poor were

not allowed to throw water back at the members of the upper class. This practice goes against

some analyses of Carnival, which considers it a time of inversion of social categories (Bakhtin

1968, 15).

After the abolition of slavery in the late nineteenth century in 1888, the population of ex-

slaves formed a sizable portion of the new working class in Recife. They comprised the maj ority

of people who participated in the public entrudo, which, since the seventeenth century, had been

associated with disorder and social anarchy. Since the beginning of the century, Brazilian society

was changing rapidly in all areas. The year of 1808 marked the year that the Portuguese

monarchy established itself in the Americas escaping Napoleon. The Portuguese Royal Court,

having moved from Portugal to Rio de Janeiro, began administrating the Portuguese Empire

from Brazil. With the arrival of about 15,000 new inhabitants in Rio, the Brazilian capital was

transformed by the influx of customs of European cosmopolitan culture (dominated by French

ideals). For instance, in 1816, D. Joho VI brought the Missio Francesa (the French Mission) to










Brazil with the intention of bringing high culture to the Brazilian people (Ferreira 2004, 104).

This mission began to draw and document the flora and fauna, as well as the urban centers of

Brazil.

The ideals of freedom, associated with French Revolution, which later influenced Brazilian

Independence, were brought by the new European inhabitants. After Brazil achieved

independence in 1822, when Pedro I became Emperor of Brazil, French cultural influence

increased. Portugal was viewed as old-fashioned, while France was considered the center of the

modern world by the Brazilian elite, which was comprised of merchants, planters, governmental

workers and the royal court. By 1830, the Brazilian elite considered the Portuguese-related

entrudo unfit for a country that aimed to be equal to the more civilized countries of the world.

This extended to Pernambuco. Writing in the Recife's newspaper O Carapuceiro, in 1834, Padre

Lopes Gama stated, [my translation]:

For what reason, imitating the more cultured countries, do we not eliminate the barbaric
and rude celebration of the entrudo? In truth, what does it mean to make a population crazy
for three days every year, imitating all excitement of the Bacchae,19 in that unhappy pagan
time? Men and women mixing together, getting all dirty and muddy, playing all types of
crazy games! (Gama, Padre Lopes in O Carapuceiro, cited by Araujo 1993, 154)

[Por que rasio imitando as naC5es mais cultas, nio eliminamos o barbaro, e grosseirissimo
divertimento do Entrudo? Em verdade, o que quer dizer enlouquecer todos os annos huma
populaCio inteira por tr~s dias, imitando todos os devarios, e furores das Baccantes, nos
tempos desgragados do Paganismo? Homens e mulheres baralhados, todos suj os, enla
[mea] dos e fazendo toda laia de desatinos!]

In the attempt to separate themselves from the "mess" of the "povo" represented by the

popular entrudo, the elite developed their own exclusive Carnival balls, which were elegant,

formalized, and civilized celebrations, inspired by Parisian etiquette and by the Carnivals of the

Italian and French cities of Venice and Nice. In the social space designed for the elite, members


19 The expression Baccantes is used here to address the people who followed the traditions of the Roman god Bacco
(Dionysus), the god of wine and pleasure, according to legend.










of the lower class were not permitted to participate. Throughout urban Brazil, Camnival balls

"civilized" and "controlled" the pre-Lenten festivity of the upper classes. In Pernambuco, there

was a desire on the part of the elite to Europeanize themselves, leading to masquerade balls

becoming an important Camnival tradition. Soon after that, they moved from private homes where

they initially began, to exclusive clubs, theatres, and other commercial public establishments. For

instance, in 1847, two local sites of elite Euro-Brazilian culture in Recife, the Teatro do Parque

and Teatro Apolo, held public Camnival balls for the elite.

In short, by the 1850s, the population of Recife had transferred to Carnival the same rules

imposed by colonial society in general, separating people according to their social standing. The

lower class continued the "dirty games" of the entrudo popular, while in the masquerade balls of

the private clubs and theatres, the members of the ruling class followed contemporary European

cultural models. At private balls, the use of masked costumes became fashionable while

surviving as an indispensable way for the elite to control entry and participation in such events

by the poor who could not afford such elaborate costumes.

By the end of the nineteenth century, contemporary European social dances (waltzes,

polkas, schottisches and quadrilles) became an important part of these masquerade balls. Around

1850, the cancan 20 entered the balls, bringing the French popular style of dancing to Brazilian

ballrooms. In the beginning of the twentieth century, the influence of North American culture

also made its way into the elite balls when the one-step and the ragtime were introduced as dance

styles. At the same time, a rhythm known simply as march, conceptualized as typically

Brazilian, invaded the streets of Brazilian urban centers.


20 Originated from the cachucha, a Spanish dance popularized in Paris in the beginning of the nineteenth century,
the cancan was originally danced by couples, as a popular quadrille. As the dance entered Brazilian ballrooms, the
couples would split and freely dance, inventing several steps, including the most popular, the lifting and swinging of
the legs, that characterizes the dance up to today.









In Rio de Janeiro, the Carnival marcha was characterized as a mix of polka, one-step, and

ragtime, having its origins in the marcha-rancho popularized by Chiquinha Gonzaga' s21

composition "O6 Abre Alas." The effect of marcha~s was two-fold as Tinhorio portrays in this

way [my translation]:

By adopting the formation of religious processions, ranchos brought a measure of
discipline to the chaos of Carnival. Chiquinha Gonzaga' s main motif of her march of
1899, "O Abre Alas," was openly inspired by the rhythms that blacks used in their parade
music, as they went along singing their "barbaric" songs. (Tinhorio 1991, 119)

[Foram os ranchos que ao adotarem a formaCgo das procissies religiosas, instituiram um
minimo de discipline em meio ao caos do camaval, sugerindo desde logo a maestrina
Chiquinha Gonzaga, em 1899, motive para a march 'O abre alas', declaradamente
inspirada na cad~ncia que os negros imprimiam a passeata, enquanto desfilavam cantando
suas musicas 'barbaras.']

In Recife, the seeds for the beginning of the effervescent rhythm of frevo were planted by

the marcha-fr~evos, which coincided with the compositions of the first samnba~s of Rio' s Carnival.

However, Brazilian folklorist Cimara Cascudo has stated [my translation]:

The Camnival of the groups and ranchos of the samba schools of Rio de Janeiro is not like
that of the Camnival of Recife, where there is popular participation, a human wave that
moves, turns and vibrates in the choreography, in the specific and personal time of frevo,
suggested by the irresistible and unique marcha~s-frevos of Pemnambuco. (Cascudo 1962,
186)

[O camaval dos grupos e dos ranchos, das escolas de samba do Rio de Janeiro nio e o
carnaval do Recife, o carnaval da participagio coletiva na onda humana que se desloca,
contorce e vibra na coreografia, a um tempo pessoal e geral do frevo, com a sugestio
irresistivel de suas marchas-frevos pemnambucanas, insubstituiveis e unicas.]

In agreement with Cimara Cascudo, later scholars have emphasized popular participation

as one of the core elements of frevo in the Carnival of Pernambuco. The reference to the

"personal time of frevo" leads to the analyses of the urban scene of Recife, which, influenced by

modernization, began in Camnival groups of urban workers. Emerging out of a colonial society of

21 After listening to rehearsals of the Carnival group Rosa de Ouro, Chiquinha Gonzaga composed the first march
of Brazilian Carnival. It is said that up to that time, members of Carnival groups of the elite paraded reciting verses,
without any musical accompaniment.









slavery and patriarchy, Pernambuco was divided into several social classes that gave rise to the

origin of the Carnival associations and later to its unique social mixture during Carnival.

Although in the nineteenth century the urban population consisted mostly of African

descendents (in 1839, Afro-Brazilians made up almost 60% of the population), only with the

abolition of slavery in Brazil (1888), and the advent of the Brazilian Republic (1889), did newly

free blacks of Recife j oin the Carnival groups formed of urban working class workers. These

Carnival groups were formed based on specific occupations. Nonetheless, in 1869, as a result of

modernization, the foundation of the first working-class clube pedestre or walking club, known

as the Clube dos Azucrins, had officially began the tradition of Camnival associations, inspiring

new groups. These clubes pedestres provided one of the first opportunities for the development

of frevo as a music and dance style.

Within the walking clubs, membership cut across racial lines and included a mix of

working class blacks, mestigos, mulattos, and whites, who worked as ironworkers, street

cleaners, dockworkers, etc. Their presence in the streets of Recife and participation in Carnival

associations challenged the elite control of Carnival, and was thus seen as a return to the "mess"

of the entrudos populares.

The term volta do entrudo (the return of entrudo) became a recurring theme in the press of

the period, not only in Recife, but in most Brazilian urban centers. The particular way in which

the society of Pernambuco reacted to this struggle for the public space contributed to the unique

nature of the Camnival in Recife. During this period, the upper classes in Rio imported Parisian

cultural models, and their counterparts in Recife also borrowed these and imported French

models directly, which led to the creation of both national and regional identities in Recife.










Guarding the Nation, Maintaining Order, Controlling the Society

Here I will tie in the role of the military to frevo. After the Proclamation of the Republic,

in 1889, the military, which once served to preserve order in the nation, re-asserted its control in

the provinces, reflecting the policy of the central government, became responsible for

maintaining local order and for constructing the image of a "civilized society." As part of the

military, marching bands were created to accompany civic celebrations. In Pernambuco, bands

played an important role in developing the frevo music. They became part of the public

performance context of Carnival in which frevo was created, mainly through the clubes

pedestres.

The two principal military bands of the time in Recife, O Quarto and Espanha, became

known for transforming their dobrados and polka- marcha~s into a faster rhythm. The street

Carnival and social clubs, called clubes de rua (street-clubs), incorporated their compositions

and changed their tempo to match the movements of the people in the streets. This process gave

rise to the marcha pernambucana (later called marcha-fr~evo), which, by 1905 had all the

characteristics of the rhythm known today as fr~evo-de-rua (street-frevo). Among the pedestrians

who moved along in the "wave" in the streets, were the capoeira~s, who followed the bands and

interacted with the frevo music, spontaneously moving and creating the dance that became

known as "o passo."22

Here, I use the word capoeira~s to refer to the people who played capoeira during the

nineteenth century. The practice of capoeira had started in the slave quarters of Brazil's



22 Valdemar de Oliveira was the first author to distinguish frevo dance from frevo music. According to Oliveira, "O
pass is the set of steps that characterizes the soloist dance performance in the streets of the Carnival of Recife,
under the metal sounds of a frevo orchestra (Oliveira 1985, 61)."

[O pass 6 o conjunto de passes que caracterizam o bailado solista executado, nas ruas carnavalescas do Recife, sob
o estridor met~lico de uma orquestra de frevo].










plantations as a way for the slaves to confront bush captains and overseers. Following the

confrontations, slaves would run seeking refuges in communities which they named quilombos -

African runaways slave communities in Brazilian territory. For camouflage, music and dance

was incorporated to the practice which allowed it to be passed from generation to generation. As

stated by Kenneth Dossar:

...slavemasters were not entirely deceived. Throughout most of its history, capoeira
remained outlawed... The fighters in a swing back toward the more frankly aggressive
version of the ritual had in instances become trouble makers and gangsters. They were
physically uncontrollable, and at one point laws were passed establishing two special
colonies for capoeiristas [capoeiras]. (Dossar 1988, 39)

Although the practice of capoeira was prohibited throughout Brazil, its censure was not as

strong in Pernambuco when compared to the states of Rio and Bahia. In Recife, the capoeira~s

were feared by the police and were actually hired by clubes pedestres to provide protection

during encounters with rival clubs. Capoeira~s used their strength and agile movements,

characterized by a combination of precise and tricky steps, to fight their rivals and protect their

groups. In the streets, the capoeira~s were recognized by the weapons they used and for their

love of music. Authors have claimed that no party took place in Recife without a musical band

and the presence of the capoeira~s. According to Valdemar de Oliveira, [my translation]:

Wherever there was a "folguedo" [public celebration], there was the capoeira, either
participating, or watching; it could be bumba-meu-boi, pa~storil, cavalo-marinho,
fa.ndango,~~~~dddd~~~~ddd coco, or any other "brinquedo."23 Music was a constant in their life. The
military band functioned as a center for crystallization, j oining together the "cafaj estada"
around it. (Oliveira 1985, 83-84)

[Onde havia um folguedo, ai estava o capoeira, dele participando ou a ele assistindo, fosse
o bumba-meu-boi, o pastoril, o cavalo-marinho, o fandango, o coco, ou qualquer
"brinquedo". A musica era uma constant em sua vida. E a banda military funcionava como
um nucleo de cristalizaCio, aglutinando a sua volta, a cafaj estada.]


23 The Portuguese word brinquedo, which translates to toy, is often used to refer to popular traditions that combine
music, dance and drama. The bumba-meu-boi, pastoril, cavalo-marinho, fandango, and coco, are all forms of
brinquedos, reflecting rites and rituals of rural life.










Cafajestadattt~~~~~~ttttt is a pej orative Portuguese term that refers to acts resulting in a mess,

misdemeanor, or general confusion. Oliveira uses this term to describe a group of lower class

males who misbehaved, according to the eyes and rules of the elite. Clearly the behavior of the

capoeira~s was not only condemned by the higher social class, but was also persecuted by the

police.

When accompanying marching bands the capoeira~s were divided based on the rivalry

between the bands. This period featured a particularly intense rivalry between the two main

military bands mentioned above: the Companhia da Guarda Nacional (the National Guard Band,

known by the capoeira~s as Espanha, or Spain, after its director the Spaniard Pedro Garrido) and

the 4o Batalhio da Artilharia (the Fourth Artillery Battalion's, known as O Quarto, the Fourth).

The capoeira~s who accompanied these groups always fought each other (Silva and Souto Maior

1991, 195).

In 1860 and 1864, the newspaper Diario de Pernambuco described two of these battles in

which capoeira~s on both sides were hurt. The prohibition of capoeira during a later period did

not affect frevo. On the contrary, it served to solidify the use of Carnival as the period for its

action. However, the police prohibited the capoeira~s from using knives or sticks in the streets of

Recife. Although contested by recent authors, Waldemar Valente states that the use of umbrellas

in frevo was introduced by capoeira~s when weapons were banned [my translation]:

...Not being able to walk with weapons or canes, the capoeira~s used chapeu-de-sol
[umbrellas], even if old, pretending to avoid the bad weather. That way they fooled the
police. And the umbrella was remained up to today. (Valente, in Silva and Souto Maior
1991, 373)

[...N~o podendo conduzir cacetes ou bengalies, valiam-se do chapeu-de-dol, mesmo
escangalhado, pretextendo livrar-se do mau tempo. Com o qud ludibriavam a policia. E o
chapeu de sol ficou.]









In Pernambuco, only by the end of 1880 did the practice of capoeira become legal, and the

social context was ready for frevo to be officially "born" and to spread to other cities. Despite

persecution by the police, capoeira continued to exist. According to Crook, "In Recife, police

repression resulted in camouflaging of capoeira, under the guise of a new dance form- the frevo"

(2005, 184).

Although the precise origin of frevo is still in debate, folklorist Valdemar de Oliveira, as

early as 1946, linked the origin of frevo to the interaction between the military bands and the

capoeira~s, the latter identified mostly as blacks and mulattoes. Later, in his Frevo, Capoeira e

Pa~sso, Oliveira referred to frevo dance as "o pass" [my translation]:

I believe the origins of the pa~sso to be like a nebulous wave that surrounded the military
bands, which, for more than 100 years moved along the streets of Recife, distinguished by
the movements of blacks and mulattoes, either playing or fighting. Little by little, these
movements would define the shape [of the pa~sso], continuing to develop after Abolition,
the declaration of the Republic and of the Provisional Government, and the Navy Revolt, a
period known in Brazil as the "belle epoque." (Oliveira 1985, 66)

[Acredito que as origins do pass se inserem numa nebulosa onda, as frentes as bandas
militares que ha mais de cem anos passados percorriam as ruas do Recife, ja se distinguiam
vultos de negors e de mulatos, brincando ou brigando. Pouco a pouco, essas sombras
viriam a definir seus contornos, ate que apC~s a fase dificil da Aboligio, da Reputblica, do
Gov~rno Provis6rio, da Revolta da Armada, do Encilhamento, comega, tambem para o
Brasil, uma "belle epoque."]

According to Oliveira, the development of frevo is associated with the spontaneous

interaction (playing, dancing, fighting), the defense and attack movements of the capoeira~s, the

military bands, and the clubes pedestres (walking clubs) of the working class. The influence of

the clubes pedestres is reflected today in the names of the Carnival associations established at the

time, which alluded to the work routine of their members: Vassourinha~s (city sweepers), Pas

(dustpans), Lenhadores (woodcutters), Espanadores (dusters), Abanadores (fanners),

Verdureiros (vegetable sellers), Empalhadores do Feitosa (Feitosa's chair caners), just to

mention a few. The members of these clubs also influenced the naming of "passos de frevo"










(frevo steps). This influence is seen to this day, with the steps tesoura (scissors), ferrolho

(doorknob), paraft~so (screwdriver), dobradiga (hinge) and locomotive (locomotive), named after

the work tools used by members of the walking clubs steps which are still performed by frevo

dancers.

At the turn of the twentieth century, the chtbes pedestres, with their origins and mixture of

European and Afro-Brazilian elements are symbolic representation of cultural and social

differences in Recife. By opening up the space for popular participation in the Carnival

celebration that the elite had previously tried to control, there was an initial lack of interest by the

media or the bourgeousie in these clubs, not to mention the police repression which, supported

by the press, first decided to prohibit the parades in 1904.

During that time, official status and support of the press was offered by governmental

institutions to the groups that obeyed certain rules and that adapted themselves to the standards

set by the ruling class. In 1907, the term frevo first appeared in the press as a label for the chtbes

pedestres. By this date the chtbes pedestres had become known as grupos de fr~evo (frevo

groups). By the 1930s, the press and official Carnival associations of Pernambuco tried to

integrate frevo into the Brazilian national Carnival by creating contests for frevo composers and

exporting frevo to Rio's Carnival. These latter attempts were unsuccessful, due to the strong

regional associations of this dance and music.

Frevo was developed as the lower class urban population occupied the public space in the

streets of Recife during Carnival. It reflected the social changes and alteration of the relations of

power, symbolizing the ultimate expression of the popular Carnival in Pernambuco. As Crook

has stated:

...frevo became an emblem of the racial and cultural mixture that was emerging as a
unifying element of Brazilian identity. However, the frevo represented not the national but









rather a regional expression of this idea. Unlike the samba, the frevo was never a viable
candidate to fulfill the role of the unifying emblem of Brazil's national consensus culture.
Rather it served as a variation on the theme of Brazilianness, as a regional musical
counterpoint to the centralizing discourses involving Brazil's national cultural essence.
(Crook 2005, 170)

The development of frevo in the Camnival of Pernambuco made it a symbol of that state.

The analyses of frevo as symbol of identity for Pernambuco must be carried out in this context

taking into account the specific historical period in which its development took place.

Pernambuco Beyond Carnival

Since the Proclamation of the Republic in 1888, Brazil has tried to build and maintain

national unity. Indeed, since the 1870s, the identity and direction of the nation were the matters

for public debate. By the end of the nineteenth century, many intellectuals concluded that the

economic and social problems of Brazil, frequently referred to as "Brazilian backwardness,"

were a result of its mixed racial heritage. One solution proposed was to increase the number of

European immigrants in an attempt to achieve racial "whitening." As part of the same concern

with Brazil's African heritage, everything that was linked to the mixed population was looked

down upon, especially anything related to Africa.

However, some of the intellectuals of this period, influenced by the book Os .Av rill'

(1902) by Euclides da Cunha, tried to use the racially mixed people of the interior of Brazil as a

counterpoint to the "whitening" discourse which was spreading throughout the rest of the

country. According to the romanticized ideas of these intellectuals, the people and culture of the

Brazilian backlands played an important role in the construction of national identity. Not until

the mid-1920s and 1930s did the cultural diversity of the country and its non-European

descendants become recognized as a central part of modem Brazilian identity.

At the start of the twentieth century, constructing a Brazilian national identity prompted

many elite artists to incorporate popular themes into their work, as is the case of Villa-Lobos,










who combined traditional instruments of congada~S 24 with classical instruments during the

performance of his orchestra in Sho Paulo' s Week of2~odern Art in 1922.25 Nonetheless, this

example of the cultural exploration of Brazil's non-European roots remained relatively marginal

to elite tastes and preferences. In fact, most modernist artists looked to the European Vanguard

(Futurism, Dadaism, Surrealism, etc.) for cultural models. As stated by Brazilianist M. Elizabeth

Ginway, "Although Brazil's Modemist Movement centered on the formulation of national

identity, critics such as Amaral (1970), Teles H. Martins (1973), and Eulalio (1978), among

others, have acknowledged the movement' s ties with the European Vanguard" (Ginway 1992,

543). At the same time attempts to "civilize" the Carnival reflected the transnational ideas of the

elite, who maintained that the European influence in their Camnival balls and parades throughout

Brazil were means to "civilize" Brazilian society.

Meanwhile, in Pernambuco, chibes de fr~evo (frevo clubs) promoted frevo as a rhythm and

dance form which made its way into the elite's festivities, finally breaking with the elite's

Eurocentric preferences, thereby contributing a new factor to the emerging ideology of Brazil as

racially mixed. Yet, the elite of Pemnambuco did not embrace frevo simply to embrace the idea

of mestigagem; instead, they attempted to adapt it in order to make it acceptable within European

aesthetics. The fact that frevo was present in both worlds is unique. It was present in the Euro-

Brazilian tradition through the marching bands, and in the Afro-Brazilian tradition through the

participation of the capoeira~s. While the black and indigenous populations were viewed as exotic

by members of the elite during Camnival, the influence of Afro-Brazilian heritage in the rhythm

24Congadas are important popular festivals, celebrated at the end of the year, in which white-clad dancers playing
guitars and tambourines parade along the seafront are accompanied by a figure of St Benedict in a gaily decorated
boat.


25The Week of Modern Art, in S~io Paulo, broke boundaries and innovatively blended popular subject matter with
European vanguard-form.









of frevo was still downplayed. The social mixing resulting from frevo as a music and dance

form, transformed the Camnival of Pernambuco, making it distinct from other states in Brazil.

This deeply held "integration" has been romanticized by the elite and scholars of this

period. Araujo, who argued that the iconography of the time exemplifies the association of

Carnival with nationalistic ideas, stated that, for the first time the Brazilian press showed

indigenous and black people symbolically sharing the space with the European-white in

newspapers photography of Camnival [my translation]:

The section 'Camaval' of the Jornal Pequeno always included many pictures related to
Carnival traditions, which usually showed European Carnival costumes and characters:
pierrds, harlequins, dominos, ladies, gentlemen and medieval costumes. However, before
the Carnival of 1910, the same section offered four new pictures: one caboclo, two black
men and one black woman. (Araujo 1996, 389- 390)

[A seCio 'Carnaval' do Jornal Pequeno, era acompanhada por inumeras pequenas gravuras
relatives aos folgares carnavalescos, que, geralmente, evocavam personagens do Carnaval
europeu: pierr8s, arlequins, domin6s, damas e cavalheiros, figures em trajes medievais.
Entretanto, as vesperas do Carnaval de 1910, a dita seCio estampou quatro novas gravuras:
um caboclo, dois negros e uma negra.]

At the same time, the inclusion of local exotic tradition is not equal to the embrace of

national mestigagem. The dominant worldview of this period was still largely Eurocentric.

Things did not change until the 1920s, when Gilberto Freyre' s ideas contributed to the

recognition of African influence in the formation of the Brazilian identity. The publication of his

Casa-Grande e Senzala (1933), which became a manifesto for the nationalist movement,

strongly influenced the intellectual discourse of the period. Freyre' s ideas were also used in the

creation of the Brazilian myth of racial democracy, a national narrative characterized by racial

harmony and social mobility despite racial difference. In Pernambuco, this myth was paralleled

by the creation of an urban myth of frevo, characterized by the inclusion of all levels of Recife' s

society. While samba was consolidated as a national rhythm, frevo was consolidated as a symbol

of identity for Pernambuco, as stated by Crook:









The most celebrated Carnival music of Recife that came to symbolize this intercultural and
racial mixing was the frevo... It is important to note that by the 1930s, the frevo had
already entered Brazil's national music industry as a form of regional counterpoint to the
samba and the Carnival march from Rio de Janeiro. (Crook 2005, 156)

Regionalism and Frevo

Regionalist movements have played an important role in the history of Pernambuco and its

society. They have given value to local cultural traditions and established ideas of authenticity,

rooted in idealized representations of the state' s population.

The population of Pernambuco is characterized by a mix of European, Indigenous, and

Afro-Brazilian peoples. In the urban center of Recife, the higher socio-economic classes tend to

be composed of mostly European descendents, while the "mestigos" (mixed race) tend to occupy

the lower strata of the society. The popularity of regionalist ideas started around the 1920s,

when intellectuals such as Gilberto Freyre tried to explain the formation of the society of

Pernambuco by analyzing historical data with anthropological and sociological concepts.

Popular cultural symbols were appropriated to represent the "harmonious" interaction of

antagonistic segments of Brazilian society.

Freyre's idea contributed to the recognition of the African influence and the relation of

Afro-Brazilians to the formation of Brazilian society, which became the foundation for the

creation of the myth of racial democracy. Intellectuals and artists supported these ideas.

Although they contributed to the relation of power established by the dominant class and paid

recognition to popular culture, their analyses were distorted by their origin in the middle-class

with its Afro-phobic discourse. These intellectuals were caught between two contrasting worlds

that they tried to reconcile: that of the official, formal culture, and that of popular culture. The

creator of the M~ovimento Armorial, the writer Ariano Suassuna, is one of the most prominent

examples of this tendency. As an intellectual who came from a traditional Euro-Brazilian family,










deeply involved with the government in Pernambuco, he nonetheless followed Freyre's ideology

and struggled to bring about the acceptance of popular culture by the upper classes of the society,

concepts rooted in the culture of "modernism" of the 1920's and 1930's. As stated by historian

Jeffrey D. Needell:

The younger generation of Brazilian intellectuals associated frenchfied culture of Brazil's
belle epoque with the sagging facade of the social and political status quo... Regionalism
and Sho Paulo's modernismo were reactions against what was increasingly seen as an
imitative, official high culture divorced from Brazilian reality. (Needell 1995, 9)

By the 1950s, the attempt to valorize popular culture made its way into frevo contests,

which were organized by these intellectual cultural mediators involved in the state government.

The contests can be considered as the first attempt of codifying frevo steps, and in this context

the elite paid homage to popular artists, who, through their performances, began their traj ectory

toward formalizing the tradition. In Antologia do Carnaval do Recife, the folklorist Leonardo

Dantas Silva has written [my translation]:

The "Concursos de Passo" [frevo contests], developed by the press and later by the TV and
radio stations, came to motivate the creativity of the passistas [frevo dancers]. That was
how Egidio Bezerra, who has since passed, but who was known as the "Rei do Passo" [the
king of frevo], along with "Sete Molas," "Nascimento do Passo" (Francisco Nascimento
Filho), and "Coruj a" (Amaldo Francisco das Neves), came to be well known, to the point
of founding dance schools. They taught "Pipoca" (Antulio Madureira), "Meia- Noite," and
many other representative artists of the new generation of passistas [frevo dancers]. (Silva,
in Silva and Souto Maior 1991, 204)

[Os chamados "Concursos de Passo", desenvolvidos pelos jomais e posteriormente pelas
emissoras de radio e televisio, vieram incentivar a criatividade dos passistas. Assim
despontaram, chegando a fazer escola, Egidio Bezerra, hoje falecido, mas em sua epoca
conhecido como o "Rei do Passo," "Sete Molas," Nascimento do Passo" (Francisco
Nascimento Filho), "Coruj a" (Arnaldo Francisco das Neves), que vieram a ser professors
de "Pipoca,"(Antulio Madureira), "Meia- Noite," e tantos outros representantes da nova
geraCgo de passistas.]

Although the elite understood that frevo had developed via various elements of all social

classes in Pernambuco, they tended to downplay the participation of the Afro-Brazilian

community. Inspired by the nationalistic discourse in the country, the regionalists looked to










popular creations as the basis for the formation of the culture of Pernambuco. Yet, these popular

creations were viewed as being representative of Brazil's racially mixed culture. In most cases,

attention was focused on the mixture of its cultural identity of European and indigenous

elements, avoiding and denying the importance of the African heritage.

In 1961, intellectuals, artists, actors, musicians, and students founded the M~ovimento de

Cultura Popular (MCP-Popular Culture Movement), which was based on the ideas of Paulo

Freire, who was recognized for his socially conscious pedagogy. Paulo Freire wrote Educagdo e

Atualidaddddddedddddddddd Bra~sileira where he conceptualized education outside the institution. As he stated, "..

it is precisely, an education like this, that going beyond the walls of the institution, need to be

adopted" (Freire 1958, 85). [... e precisamente uma educaCgo assim que, ultrapassando as

paredes das escolas, precisa ser incrementada entire nC~s.] The M~ovimento de Cultura Popular

was aimed at the education of children and adults and, as stated by Telles, [my translation], "the

increase of the cultural level of the students in order to improve their capability of acquisition of

social and political ideas...broadening the process of political understanding of the masses, and

motivating social initiatives" (Teles 2000, 77). [Elevar o nivel dos instruendos (sic) para

melhorar sua capacidade aquisitiva de ideias socials e politicas...e ampliar a politizaCgo das

massas, despertando-as para a luta social.]

Supporters of Paulo Freire' s ideas included the writer Ariano Suassuna, the playwright

Hermilo Borba Filho, the sculptors Francisco Brennand and Abelardo da Hora, and the future

Mayor of the city of Olinda, Germano Coelho. This group of elite intellectuals used popular art

for didactic purposes, creating a department for cultural development (Departamento de

FormaCio da Cultura) in an attempt to "interpret, develop, and systematize popular culture."

They chose six public plazas of the suburb of Recife to use for performances of folkloric groups










with the idea of promoting interest in popular culture among the population. The Recife-based

movement greatly influenced other national ideas, and was supported by the political left wing of

the country, such as the Student National Union, UNE (Uniho Nacional dos Estudantes), and the

Brazilian Communist Party, PCB (Partido Comunista Brasileiro), (Teles 2007, 77).

After the military coup in 1964, the ideas of the movement were prohibited and several of

its militants arrested.26 In Order to pursue their leftist ideals, the playwright Hermilo Borba Filho

and the writer Ariano Suassuna founded the Teatro Popular do Nordeste (Northeastern Popular

Theatre). Eventually there were ideological differences between Ariano Suassuna and Borba

Filho, who accused Suassuna of making use of popular culture to serve political ends. After their

disagreement, Suassuna started planting the first seeds for another regionalist movement which

flourished in the 1970s, namely the M~ovimento Armorial.

The Movimento Armorial

Suassuna' s Movimento Armorial aimed at the creation of a northeastern literary art, based

on the mix of classical and popular traditions. The movement started largely as an opposition to

North American cultural hegemony in Brazil. The impact of Suassuna's initial ideas attracted

other artists and intellectuals to the movement, which expanded its artistic expression to include

painting, sculpture, music, theatre and dance. However, the beginning of the movement was

characterized by Suassuna' s struggle to achieve his main obj ective: to introduce a better

understanding of the popular culture of the Northeast to the Brazilian population in general.

For the new industrial Brazil of the South and Southeast, the cultural and economic

backwardness of the Northeast impeded the acceptance of northeastern cultural richness. With

26In June 1964, Freire was imprisoned in Brazil for 70 days. After a brief stay in Bolivia, he lived in Chile for five
years working in the Christian Democratic Agrarian Reform Movement. In 1967 he published Education as the
Practice ofFreedom, and in 1968 he wrote his famous Pedagogy of the Oppressed, published in Spanish and
English in 1970, and in Brazil in 1974 (Bentley, 2005).










the folhetos de cordel (cordel literature), 27 as its main inspiration, the M~ovimento Armorial had

to break historical, cultural, and regional boundaries that were historically constructed, including

the ones imposed by the previous regionalist movements, and the growing distance between

"economically developed" Southeast and the "backward" Northeast. As stated by Crook:

From the nineteenth century on, Brazilians increasingly conceptualized their country as
one divided into northeastern and southeastern regions, each area endowed with distinct
attributes and characteristics. The notion of the indelible differences between the South (as
culturally progressive, industrialized and modern) and the Northeast (as culturally
conservative, rural and traditional) was an important part of the way Brazil emerged as a
modern nation. (Crook 2005, 13)

The M~ovimento Armorial officially started on October 18, 1970 with a concert in front of

the Igrej a de Sho Pedro dos Clerigos titled "Tris Seculos de Musica Nordestina: do Barroco ao

Armorial" (Three Centuries of Northeastern Music: From the Baroque to the Armorial), and an

art exposition in the Patio de Sho Pedro, in the downtown of Recife. With the intention of

creating a Brazilian art based on the mix of classical and popular culture, Suassuna gathered

musicians with a classical background willing to incorporate and play popular music. This public

event united hundreds of people from all levels of Recife' s society.

The concert served to connect the musical and literary elements present in the ideology of

the movement. Armorial art was defined as an art that portrays the realistic spirit and the magical

elements of the cordel literature of the Brazilian Northeast. Inspired on the definition of the word

Armorial used as an adj ective for things related to heraldry or heraldic arms the movement

tried to revitalize the medieval troubador traditions of Luso-Brazilian culture of that region,

which was represented by the relationship between the music played by the viola, the rabeca,



27 The cordel literature is composed of little booklets of popular poetry that are sold in the street markets in the
Northeast of Brazil. They are composed of popular artists' verses that are developed from themes related to life in
the Northeast, often mentioning historical figures like Lampi~io and Maria Bonita, or important happenings related to
local politics.









and the fife that accompanies the verses of cordel literature, as well as by the spirit and format of

the popular spectacles that are related to this type of literature (Suassuna, 1974).

According to Suassuna, cordel literature represented the aspirations of the northeastern

people and of the Brazilian spirit. It initially combined three artistic expressions: popular poetry,

drawings (that illustrate the covers of the booklets), and music, which represents the way popular

artists recited their poetry. In this popular tradition, the reciting of the verses is usually

performed by the same person who writes them, and then plays the rabeca, a folk violin

originated from the Iberian influence in the region.

Although successful in praising popular culture, the ideology of Pernambuco' s regionalist

movements, including the M~ovinento Arntorial, did not greatly value the local traditions based

on African heritage. Frevo has been always considered by the middle-class intellectuals and

artists involved in these movements as symbol of identity for lower class mixed population of

Pernambuco, downplaying its African influence. Since they tended to minimize the African

influence in the culture of Pernambuco in general, they also denied the influence of African

culture in frevo. In such a context, frevo went through a similar process of "whitening" that

influenced the history of Carnival, the same process that also sought to "civilize" the entrudo.

From the police repression of the capoeiras to the process of formalization of the tradition

motivated by the regionalist movements, there was a constant attempt to "clean up" the dance

and to make it more appealing to "white" eyes.

Frevo Contests, Nascimento do Passo, Coruja and Pernambuco's Dancing Scene

Yet even before the flourishing of the M~ovinento Arntorial, frevo continued to be

developed by the common people in the streets of Recife. In the 1950s, the state of Pernambuco

(official Carnival associations, radio, TV stations, and the press) created contests to acknowledge

the year' s best frevo dancer. This was one more attempt to control the Carnival of Recife.










Inspired by the contests of the samba schools in Rio de Janeiro, the "concursos de passes" (frevo

contests) motivated the creativity of frevo dancers. 28 Although the contests stimulated new

interest in frevo, the constant attempt of the elite to control Carnival and its popular traditions

was also behind the creation of such events.

The contests held in the Patio de Sho Pedro during the 1950s and 1960s had the objective

of controlling the violence of frevo on the streets. While the poor part of the crowd was "under

control" as they watched the virtuosity of frevo dancers, the upper classes enjoyed Carnival in

social clubs, and felt safer in their automobile parades, known as the corsos. 29

The emphasis on European notions of beauty and virtuosity was a pre-requisite to win

these contests. These qualities served as inspiration for the people on the streets who then

imitated the performance style of frevo contest winners. Gradually, the dance that was once the

expression of anger and fear during the fights between chtbes pedestres was now being adapted

to the competition rules set by the institutions controlled by the elite. Performance quality rather

than self- defense was the key to winning the competition. In these contests, two dancers, Coruj a

and Nascimento do Passo, became known for their frevo performances, the latter creating a

method for teaching frevo, and the former creating the first performance group dedicated to

frevo. These popular artists have taken their experiences of the street to the stages of

Pernambuco, contributing to the preservation of a popular tradition.









28 At the time, a parallel competition for frevo music compositions was also established in Pernambuco.

29 The corsos were automobile parades of the middle and upper classes where prizes were given for best costumes
and best car decoration during Recife's Carnival.









CHAPTER 3
FROM THE STREETS TO THE STAGE

The origins of frevo are compelling and yet hard to understand. Official authorities have

usually failed to support popular frevo artists, due to the socially marginalized roots of frevo' s

historical tradition. This lack of support has also served, ironically, to inspire these popular

artists to preserve frevo. I argue that while masquerading within the colors of Camnival, frevo, as

a social phenomenon, represents the constant struggle of the lower classes for social space and

integration into the wider society of Pernambuco. This chapter describes the role of key

performing artists in this struggle.

As people dance frevo on the streets during Camnival, they are unconsciously contributing

to the preservation of this tradition. As I write about frevo, I would like to acknowledge dancers,

tourists, and unrecognized people for their spontaneous contribution towards the evolution of the

dance style. However, two popular artists, who believed in the teaching and performance of

frevo as tools for social change, carried out work essential to the preservation of frevo. The

dynamic lives of Nascimento do Passo and Coruj a reveal their ascending paths from disciples of

street Carnival to masters of a dance style.

Their life stories illustrate the motivation behind the preservation, transformation and

formalization of frevo as a dance style. Their lifetime dedication to the tradition is reflected in

today's performances in theatres around the world, and their style of dancing, developed in the

frevo contests, is now an integral part of the contemporary dance scene of Pemnambuco.

Brazilian writer, musicologist and folklorist Mario de Andrade, cited by Valdemar de Oliveira,

described the choreographic abilities of frevo dancers and their spontaneity in creating steps in

the following way [my translation]:

The sudden vibration of frevo is almost intimidating. It is a true allegro in a national
presto. It represents without any doubt, the enthusiasm and the ardent Dionysian orgy of









our national music. And that incredible dancer? How is it possible for a choreographer like
him to be ignored by the theatres and other dancers? How beautiful! What admirable
fluidity!i Such talent is a very rich source of inspiration. He deserves a true title of glory,
but the country ignores his talent simply because there are so few among us who truly
believe in our own culture. (Mario de Andrade, cited in Oliveira 1985, 119)

[A vibraCgo paroxistica do frevo e realmente uma coisa assombrosa. E, enfim, um
verdadeiro allegro num presto national. E sem duvida, o entusiasmo, a ard~ncia orgiaca,
mais dionisiaca de nossa musica national. E aquele rapaz que dangou! Mas sera possivel
que uma coreografia assim ainda se conserve ignorada dos nossos teatros e bailarinos? Que
beleza! Que leveza admiravel! E uma fonte riquissima. E um verdadeiro titulo de gl6ria,
que o pais ignora, simplesmente porque entire nC~s ainda sho muito raros os que t~m
verdadeira convicCio de cultural ]

When Andrade describes the "incredible dancer" as a choreographer who goes

unrecognized by the official theatres and dancers, and that his fluidity is as a rich source of

culture, he makes clear reference to one of the many unknown frevo dancers who spontaneously

performed frevo steps during Carnival. The dancer's improvisational skills, as he choreographed

his own performance, caught Andrade's attention at the time, and the style continues to attract

the attention of tourists and people around the world today. When Andrade asked why such

talent remains unappreciated, he was recognizing the intricacy of frevo movements

spontaneously performed on the streets, while predicting how little financial and artistic support

official authorities would provide to frevo dancers during the following years.

During Pernambuco' s celebration of 100 years of frevo in 2007, the media attempted to

recognize the contribution of popular artists such as Coruj a and Nascimento do Passo in

preserving the dance style. However, the difficult lives of both artists illustrate that the society

of Pernambuco is still a long way from truly recognizing their contribution to the tradition. It

appears that the traditional mentality of the slaveowners in the patriarchal social order of

Pernambuco is still present in today's society: the entertainment of the privileged becomes the

j ob of the less fortunate, who must live in a constant struggle for recognition of their work as

arti sts.










The lives of these two popular artists were dedicated to the dream of preserving the

tradition they considered to be the cultural heartbeat of their city. Their countless hours of work

never matched their income, which led them to suffer from a constant financial struggle.

Coruj a' s death in 1996 ended his dedication to northeastern traditions and frevo, leaving his

family in dire financial straits, despite the fact that his sons, who are musicians, tried to

perpetuate the cultural legacy he left behind. Nascimento do Passo is still alive, but his story as a

frevo performer and teacher has been also characterized by financial struggle and sadly criminal

prosecution.

The lives of Nascimento do Passo, Coruj a, and many others popular artists illustrated in

this study exemplify the reality of the dance world in Pernambuco. These dancers have struggled

to pursue their dreams in a society that uses a forced happiness to cover up its problems, and uses

the colors of Carnival to mask its deep social inequalities. The pedagogy created by these

popular artists to preserve frevo can be seen a subversive response to the exclusionary society

they live in.

Nascimento do Passo: A Life Dedicated to Frevo

Francisco do Nascimento, or Nascimento do Passo as he is known in Pernambuco,

considers frevo as the key to his long life. In dancing frevo he finds the strength to face his daily

problems. In his words [my translation], "it was thinking about the people of Pernambuco, and

understanding their memory of a suffering past that inspired me to create the special formula for

teaching frevo" (Foi pensando no povo de Pernambuco, e entendendo a mem6ria de um passado

sofrido que eu me inspire a criar uma formula especial de ensinar frevo.)

The information in the paragraphs to follow was taken from his booklet in frevo and an

interview I conducted with Nascimento do Passo in 1998. The booklet represents a wealth of

knowledge which he had been compiling ever since he started to dream of a frevo school of his










own. It presents the main obj ectives for the formation of the Escola Recreativa Nascimento do

Pass (Nascimento do Passo's Frevo School), which was created not only [my translation]: "..

to assure a solid learning process and developing in the students the physical ability to perform

frevo, but also to spark their interest in becoming frevo dancers" (...assegurar um bom process

de aprendizado e desenvolver nos alunos nio s6, a habilidade fisica de dangar frevo, mas o

interesse em se tornar passistas.)

Born in the state of Amazonas, Nascimento do Passo lived in the city of Manaus before

dedicating his life to frevo. He places great importance on his experience in the folklore of the

northern state of Amazonas and believes that this experience has influenced his unique style of

dancing frevo. In Manaus, he lived by Praga 14 (Plaza 14), located close to the house ofBoi

Caprichoso (Caprichous Ox). The boi is an important dramatic dance tradition of Amazonas.

Composed of many theatrical roles, the boi is a community presentation which is named after the

most important character of the tradition, the ox. From age seven through thirteen, Francisco do

Nascimento lived in the neighborhood of Cachoeirinha, close to the Boi Corre Camnpo. Also

known as Gibi among the children of his neighborhood, Francisco do Nascimento played every

role in another boi, the Boi Malhado.30

Nascimento do Passo's participation in this tradition symbolizes his connection with

popular culture while growing up, revealing his artistic abilities, as well as his humble social

condition. Coming from the poor sector of the society, Nascimento do Passo experienced an

instant immersion in this popular tradition. According to Nascimento do Passo, he was part of





30 Since the 1930s, due to the influence of the folklorist Mgrio de Andrade, the boi has been considered the most
characteristic dramatic dance in Brazil. It has been considered one of the most complete and important cultural
expressions in Amazonas.









the boi "because everyone was," explaining how common it was for kids of his age and social

background to be involved in traditional form of popular culture.

Nascimento states that "besides having the dance in my blood, I also had an adventurous

spirit" (Alem de ter a danga no sangue, eu tambem tinha um espirito aventureiro.) At the age of

thirteen, he traveled from Amazonas to Benj amin Constante in a boat that took him to the state of

Pernambuco. On his way back, he took the ship Almirante Alexandrino in 1949, arriving in

Recife, where he decided to stay and begin life in the big city. The young Francisco do

Nascimento had to eamn his living, and when he received his first pay check from working as a

dockworker in the port of Recife, he rented a room behind the club house of the Carnival

association Vassourinha~s. Soon, he was watching the rehearsal of that Camnival association and

felt instantly attracted to frevo.

His love for frevo motivated him to participate in frevo contests, where he won some and

lost others. In 1950, he achieved his greatest moment as a frevo dancer in the Primeiro Concurso

de Pass (First Frevo Contest), sponsored by the Empresa Pemnambucana de Turismo (Tourism

Industry of Pernambuco) and Emissoras Associadas (Associated Radio Stations). The try-out

was directed by TV host Femnando Castelio, with the announcer Cesar Brasil, who first named

the young Francisco do Nascimento, "Nascimento do Passo," when he won first place in the

contest. On that occasion, he danced to the music of Nelson Ferreira, and in his own words, he is

still proud of being judged by Egidio Bezerra,31 who then had the title of the "Rei do Passo"

(King of Frevo).

The contests were pivotal in Nascimento do Passo's life. After winning the first contest in

1950, he received many invitations to perform at parties; he was featured in several Camnival


31 Egidio Bezerra was one of the first Pemnambucan passistas [frevo dancers] to dance frevo outside Pernambuco.










magazines, and became proud of popularizing frevo in Pernambuco. In 1966, after Egidio

Bezerra passed away (1962), Nascimento do Passo won the prize "Libano do Recife"32

sponsored by the AssociaCgo dos Cronistas Carnavalescos (Carnival Writers Association). In

1973, Nascimento do Passo founded his own frevo school, and in 1988, he received a medal

honoring his work from the Fundagio Joaquim Nabuco. For the occasion, he wore his innovative

frevo costume: colorful shirt tied around his waist, a pair of baggy pants, and a small colorful

umbrella. These articles of clothing would become important tools for his teaching method in the

following years.

Nascimento do Passo envisioned teaching frevo as part of a larger cultural movement. He

dreamed of a frevo school that would develop many human qualities in the students their

moral, intellectual, and aesthetic sensibilities in addition to their development of an awareness

and recognition of the cultural roots of frevo. His methodology envisioned the process of

learning frevo as a way to create educational and professional opportunities, motivating artistic

production, cultural appreciation and the historical heritage of frevo.

According to Nascimento do Passo, the school's obj ective was [my translation] "to give

the student the opportunity to express his cultural traditions through sound, movement and

feelings" (Dar oportunidade para o aluno expressar sua tradigio cultural atraves do som, do

movimento e do sentimento) Sociability and creativity were the main goals in structuring the

stage ability of the student. His motivation was based on the belief that frevo was the perfect

means to integrate lower-class teenagers into the educational system. Nascimento do Passo

claims that the performance elements of frevo embody key educational cultural values, and as a



32 The prize "Libano do Recife" was given to the best frevo dancers in the Carnival balls held at the Clube do
Libano (Libano Club), an elite club in the Recife neighborhood of Boa Viagem. The site of the contest indicates the
control of the event by the elite.









musical and dance style, frevo represents the tradition of a region and its people with its specific

characteristics and a specific way of life.

For many years, Nascimento do Passo did not have a place to teach his philosophy or the

frevo steps he created, but his ideal of preserving the tradition compelled him to continue his life

as a frevo teacher. Before 1998, when I visited the school in the Recife neighborhood of

Encruzilhada, Nascimento do Passo taught his classes in many poor neighborhoods of Recife

such as Casa Amarela, Vasco da Gama, Alto Santa Isabel, Alto do Mandu, Alto da Esperanga,

Alto N. Sra. de Fatima, Alto 13 de Maio, Alto do Eucalipto, Bomba do Hemeterio, CC~rrego do

Euclides, CC~rrego do Ouro in Visgueiro, and Morro da Conceigio. He also taught in five of the

municipal elementary and high schools: Escola Reitor Joho Alfredo, Escola Mario Melo, Escola

Ant8nio Heraclito, Escola Aderbal Galvio and Escola Vasco da Gama.

In these schools, he was employed as a freelance teacher, and during his free time, he

taught classes in the streets of the neighborhoods mentioned above for free. On many occasions,

his only compensation was to see the change in his students. In his words, "I knew that some of

my students were involved in muggings and fights, but they stopped when they started dancing

frevo. Some of them are even becoming frevo teachers" (Eu sabia que alguns dos meus alunos

tavam involvidos com roubo e briga, mas eles pararam assim que comegaram a dangar frevo.

Alguns deles ate viraram professors de frevo.)

Nascimento do Passo's teaching philosophy was based on his need to move from place to

place and his intention to have an impact on the life of kids from the poor neighborhoods of

Recife. He would go from street to street, from neighborhood to neighborhood and from school

to school to teach his art, in his words, "como um artist mambembe" (as a street actor).

Inspired in the European artists of the middle ages, who used to carry their whole lives on their









shoulders and move from town to town looking for performance venues, street actors in Brazil

used the term mamnbembe as an adj ective for their lifestyle. In the middle ages, the street actors

moved periodically from city to city, carrying their costumes, scenery and make-up because they

did not want to be restricted in their artistic expression, but were considered outlaws for that

reason. Their eagerness for artistic freedom resulted in a tradition banished by the church, which

looked down on theatre and performances.

According to Guzik (2007, 22), one hypotheses for the use of the term in Brazil, although

contested, is that the term originated from the African language (Quimbundo), designating

"distant" and then was appropriated in the theatrical practices as an adj ective for the actor or

theatre groups that moved from place to place to perform for financial survival and artistic

expression. In Pernambuco, governmental authorities have neither recognized nor supported

frevo enough, forcing teachers like Nascimento do Passo to move from place to place to teach

frevo. His ideas of institutionalizing the art of dancing frevo led him to dream of founding a

frevo school which would be the location for the development of his teaching methods. Speaking

about his financial condition and his dream of founding the school, Nascimento do Passo stated

[my translation]:

I realized that I could not afford to have my own frevo school. It was impossible, it was too
expensive. It was something that the government had to pay for. I started teaching in the
public school system in 1987, and I started to hassle the public administrators and
congressmen to help me create a frevo school. (Nascimento do Passo interviewed in 1998)

[Eu vi que nio dava pra ter minha pr6pria escola de frevo. Era impossivel, era muito carol.
Era uma coisa que o governor tinha que pagar. Eu comecei a ensinar em escola putblica em
1987 e comecei a aperrear os homes la, os deputados, pra me ajudar a criar uma escola de
frevo.]

Ideally, in his frevo school, Nascimento do Passo dreamed of a structure that would offer

the following classes: workshops, the history of frevo, the practical introduction to frevo, its

music, and dance training. Another important obj ective of his methods included the preparation









of frevo dancers for the j ob market, which later had a great impact on the contemporary dance

scene of Pernambuco. Nascimento do Passo summarizes his teaching methods, stating that in

addition to practicing all the frevo steps, students should follow "The Ten Commandments of

Frevo" (Os 10 mandamentos do Frevo, Figure 3-1).

According Nascimento do Passo' s "Ten Commandments of Frevo," performing the dance

is an exercise that develops all the senses. By dancing frevo one would improve vision, hearing,

taste, smell as well as cognition. There is also a connection between intuition and the reality of

life. Dancing frevo can lead one to a life of more love, and care, while also developing one's

mind; to leamn how to dance frevo is to have more energy. In Nascimento do Passo's words,

"Frevo is not Carnival, frevo is therapy" (Frevo nio e Carnaval, frevo e terapia).

It was this philosophy on which Nascimento do Passo based his method of teaching. For

Nascimento do Passo, frevo is taken beyond Camnival, and in addition to his experience as a

street dancer, made a point of incorporating concepts that went beyond the frevo tradition, which

later influenced his creative process of naming steps, with choreography resulting in the unique

style found in his students. The originality of the frevo steps Nascimento do Passo claims to

have created exemplifies his open mentality as a teacher.

The Frevo Steps by Nascimento do Passo

It is impossible to trace a chronological history for the creation of frevo steps. Most of

them were invented by unknown dancers in the streets of Pemnambuco. However, evidence

shows that Egidio Bezerra, Coruja and Nascimento do Passo were the dancers who first

attempted to formalize the tradition by giving names to frevo steps and by using this

nomenclature to teach frevo. More research would be necessary in order to trace the specific

contributions of Egidio Bezerra and Coruj a in this process. The following paragraphs will focus

on the method created by Nascimento do Passo, its influence in the popular dance companies of










Pernambuco, and the modifications this method has been undergoing with the new generation of

dancers and teachers as it reaches the contemporary dance scene of the state.

In his Historia Social do Frevo, Ruy Duarte makes an allusion to the dance of frevo as he

describes it [my translation]: "A male Eigure with his bare feet crossed, in a dance step, with his

body curved, wearing loose pants, in shirt sleeves with a torn-up umbrella, held in one hand up

over the head; this is the full body portrait of the traditional frevo dancer" (Duarte 1968, 3 5)

[Uma Eigura masculina com os pes descalgos e cruzados, em pass de danga, corpo meio

curvado, calga arregagada, mangas de camisa e um chapeu-de-sol, meio roto, seguro por uma das

m~os, acima da cabega eis o retrato de corpo inteiro traditional e caracteristico do frevo.]

The choreography performed by frevo dancers (passistas) in the streets or on the stages of

Pernambuco has maintained the same body language mentioned by Ruy Duarte. The people on

the streets and the capoeiras of the past with their bare feet continue to represent the essence of

frevo. But despite of this historical association, in reality, the frevo steps of today have almost

no resemblance with the movements played in the "games" of capoeira. Speaking of today's

capoeira, American scholar Barbara Browning has stated:

Capoeira is always played in a roda -The same circle formations that delimit all traditional
Afro-Brazilian dances. Two players enter the roda at a time, and their focus remains on
each other, while they may pivot either clockwise or counterclockwise throughout the
game. Motion is generally circular. Kicks and sweeps are more often than not arched or
spinning and they loop together in a series of near misses. The ideal is to keep one's eyes
Eixed in one' s opponent. At times, this necessitates having eyes in the back of one' s head.
But the relative placements of body parts or facial features seem to be constantly ridiculed
anyway. The capoeirista spends a good deal of time inverted, with hands planted firmly
like feet on the ground, feet slapping happily like palms in the air. (Browning 1995, 89)

In capoeira, the essence of the game, played in a circular motion, in a mixture of dance and

Eight, dictates the nature of the steps. In frevo, this essence is dictated by the main environment

in which the dance continues to develop: the street Carnivals. Capoeira, since its beginning on

the slave plantations, took the circular formation, which preserved the tradition and its people.









To a certain extent, the "roda" (circle) and the use of music in capoeira helped the survival of the

tradition, disguising its rebellious nature. Browning has stated:

The Portuguese tolerated the roda de capoeira because it was merely dance- perceived as
motion without purpose or effect, other than aesthetic. And with the circles, African in
Brazil trained like fighters in the art of dissimulation- how to grin upside down (Browning
1995, 92).

But this contradicts the historical records of the nineteenth century. In addition, by the time

capoeira~s accompanied marching bands, influencing the development of frevo, there was an

attempt to include them as part of society by the upper classes. This absorption benefited the

dominant class and asserted the affirmation of Afro-Brazilians, the capoeira~s, blending

ethnicities, at least during Carnival. The steps of frevo truly represent this blend, and found in

Carnival the most appropriate scenario for their development.

During Carnival the relation of power is challenged, different classes of Brazilian society

occupy the same physical space. Ideally, this is an "equality" desired by members of the lower

classes, but in reality it is a permanent struggle that can be as ephemeral as the nature of

Carnival. The mechanics of frevo steps are the best examples of that struggle. Frevo steps are

characterized by hybridity a quality that is appealing to dancers since they encompass a

great variety of agile squatting movements, jumps and leaps, involving the entire body and

challenging the laws of balance and musicality of the performer, exemplifying Camnival's ability

to mix social classes and ethnicities through j oy in the binary time of the frevo music.

The verb "pular" (to jump) defines best the action of a frevo dancer. But in dance, the verb

to jump has several meanings. From high lifts of the body, as in to leap, to lower squatting

motions and somersaults, or any motion that pushes the body weight against gravity. The

Portuguese dictionary also defines this verb in several ways. I found that an analogy of these

meanings to the mechanics of frevo steps could lead to the understanding of frevo steps as a










combination of performance and cultural affirmation. By performing frevo steps during the

street Carnival, the pa~ssista is combining the ability to spring off the ground, to move suddenly

in one motion, as in surprise, but also to move voluntarily (or involuntarily), as he responds

quickly to the pushes of the crowd. Metaphorically, the quick binary beat of frevo music and

the environment of Carnival push dancers against gravity as if to struggle to find their place in

society.

Going back to associating frevo steps with its capoeira heritage, the performance of frevo,

with the torso upright, among other characteristics has driven the body aesthetics of both

traditions away from each other. Browning's analysis of capoeira is done through the lense of

capoeira as a strategy of survival, and she uses the word maneuvers to describe the movements

of capoeiristas. She has stated, "Many of capoeira' s maneuvers are inversions, whether literal or

ironic, physical or linguistic." I would describe frevo by movements rather than by

"maneuvers," since frevo may be represented by a notion of exuberance and individual freedom.

Frevo has been providing social license, pushing members of the society to levels that they did

not originally belong, challenging the laws imposed by the ruling classes, and therefore, finding

the "balance" necessary to preserve a tradition. This individual freedom of frevo is illustrated by

the spontaneous and improvisational characteristics of frevo steps.

In the late 1950s, Felicitas, a dancer from Rio de Janeiro who researched indigenous

dances and Brazilian folklore, stated in her book Danga~s do Bra~sil [my translation]:

The frevo is rich in spontaneity and improvisation, allowing the dancer to create with his
inventive spirit and master the most varied steps, from the simplest to the most acrobatic
imaginable. And therefore, they even perform truly acrobatic steps that challenge the laws
of balance. (Felicitas 1958, 190-191)

[O frevo e rico em espontaneidade e improvisagio, permitindo ao dangarino criar, com seu
espirito inventive, a par com a maestria, os passes mais variados, desde os simples aos
mais malabaristicos, possiveis e imaginaveis. E assim, executam, as vizes, verdadeiras
acrobacias que chegam a desafiar as leis do equilibrio.]










Capoeirista~s often refer to their "upside-down movement," and the use of their hands on

the floor, as their way to find "balance" while fighting. Scholars have linked the use of hands to

ancestral connection. Ironically, this search for balance in frevo is represented by the position of

the torso (upright), and the use of the umbrella, that serves as a symbol for the "authentic frevo"

to be discussed in the following pages.

Attempts to preserve the tradition by naming frevo steps is noted on Felicitas's book as she

cites Dalmo Belfort de Mattos's description of frevo steps; he describes a total of five steps, each

one with a corresponding name, as cited by the author: dobradiga, parafuso or saca-rdlha, da

bandinha, corrupio and chdo de barriguinha. Felicitas's book did not make any allusion to who

could have named the steps at that point. However, as my research will show, these same steps

were included in 1973 in Nascimento do Passo' s method of teaching frevo, so it was hard even

for Nascimento do Passo himself to distinguish the steps he had created from those he had

learned from watching others.

When Felicitas wrote her book in 1958, it was hard to find out who had invented the frevo

steps, considering that most of the time people spontaneously performed these steps during

Carnival or even in frevo contests, unaware of their names. Felicitas also mentioned that there

were many other steps in the dance of frevo, but unfortunately there was no written material

listing the names of these steps, if they even had names at the time. According to the scholar

Almirante (1967),33 [my translation]:

The pass [frevo] had undergone several transformations since its birth. It would be
difficult, if not impossible, to state today, the order in which the numerous body
movements took place ... One of them, for example, is named "chi de barriguinha." Chi is
a mispronunciation of the French word "chaine" (chain), an expression used in the old


33 Almirante is the nickname of Henrique Fordis Domingues (1908-1980) on the popular music scene. He was a
singer, and radio broadcaster from Rio de Janeiro, and in 1963 published No Tempo de Noel Rosa, initiating his
academic career.










dances, especially in the quadrilles to indicate that the movement of ladies and gentlemen,
holding hands, formed a chain: "chaine de dames," "chaines de chevaliers." In frevo, "chi
de barriguinha is also the chain that the dancers, holding hands, walk in a large space
pushing their bellies forward; they almost always return, pulling their bellies in and doing
the opposite movement; but in this case the "chi" has another name... (Almirante 1967, 3)

[O pass sofreu grandes tranformagies e acrescimos desde que nasceu. Seria dificil, se nio
impossivel, dizer-se hoje qual foi a ordem em que foram surgindo seus inumeros
movimentos... Um deles, por exemplo, tem o nome de chi de barriguinha. Chi e
deturpaCgo da palavra francesa chaine (cadeia, corrente), expresso usadissima nas dangas
antigas, especialmente nas quadrilhas, para indicar aquele movimento em que damas e
cavalheiros, de bragos dados, formavam uma corrente: "chaine de dames", "chaine de
chevaliers". No frevo "chi de barriguniha" e tambem a corrente em que os dangarinos,
dando-se os bragos, caminham um bom pedago empinando a barriga para a frente; quase
sempre recuam, recolhendo a barriga e fazendo o movimento contrario; mas ai entio o chi
tem outro nome...]

Almirante's statement not only illustrates popular participation in the development of

frevo, but also the influence of French culture in the process of naming frevo steps. As

mentioned in Chapter 2, the French quadrille was one of the first European dances to enter

Brazilian ballrooms for Carnival celebration. When frevo reached the higher levels of society,

the steps were also influenced by European culture. Names of frevo steps and/or ways of

performing them can be analyzed from this angle. However, the association of frevo dancers

with the lower classes of society ("o povo") predominated, and oral tradition tends to explain the

origin for the name of each step more fully.

The name of the step mentioned above by the scholar Almirante, for example, is

commonly known as the mispronunciation of the Portuguese noun chd~, which would be

translated into English as "tea." While some state that the correct name is chd~ de barriguinha,

Nascimento do Passo advocates for the "correct name," which according to him, "is chi de

barriguinha, because the people talk this way." [E chi de barriguinha porque as pessoas falam

assim]. And he continued, "I guess they wanted to say, chd~ de barriguinha, but they would end

up saying chd; now I am not sure why they would call a step like that "belly tea" (cha de









barriguinha) [laughs]. (Eu acho que eles queriam dizer cha~ de barriguinha, mas eles acabavam

dizendo cha; agora eu nio tenho certeza porque eles chamariam um pass como aquele "cha de

barriguinha.)

Nascimento do Passo explanation illustrates the unconscious adaptation of foreign

influence by the people of Pernambuco. The name of the step is even explained by the

mispronunciation of a French word, exemplifying how much foreign culture has contributed to

frevo. As stated by Farris Thompson, as he speaks about the influence of European culture in

milonga, "Dancers become translators reconciling styles from different worlds" (Farris

Thompson 2005, 136). In frevo, these two different worlds become one through Carnival, as

steps are being performed, and as they are being taken to dance schools, and dance companies

around the world.

Maria Goretti Rocha de Oliveira (1993) has traced the transformation of popular dance to

theatre spectacles in Pernambuco. In her work, she discussed the importance of frevo contests

and the constant struggle of Nascimento do Passo, mentioning his teaching of frevo steps to the

Bale Popular do Recife and to the Grupo Folcl6rico Cleonice Veras, the two groups that first

staged popular dance in Recife. According to Oliveira in the Diario de Pernamnbuco of 1977,

Nascimento do Passo had listed, along with the teacher Jurandir Austermann, 48 basic frevo

steps (Oliveira 1993, 86). By the time Oliveira published her book in 1993, Nascimento do

Pass had listed some 120 steps. In order to make his teaching methods more efficient he had

selected 30 basic steps of frevo that he believed to be essential for the education of a pa~ssista










(frevo dancer).34 Nascimento do Passo stated in his own booklet that when the pa~ssista is able to

perform the 30 basic steps, he is ready to perform all the others.

When I attended Nascimento do Passo's classes, he emphasized the importance of

performing all the basic steps, and the memorization of the order in which they were taught in

class. In Nascimento do Passo's pedagogy, the first step warms up the body to perform the

second and so on, [my translation]: "There is no need to perform all those exercises that people

do at the gym. If you are a frevo dancer, you will be ready for anything, and if you are not ready

yet, you will be after you perform all of them, but only if you perform them in the right order, of

course." (N~o tem nenhuma necessidade de ficar fazendo esses exercicios que as pessoas fazem

na academia. Se voc6 e dangarino de frevo, voc6 ta pronto pra qualquer coisa, e se voc6 ainda

nio ta pronto, voc6 vai ficar depois que voc6 dangar todos eles, mas so, se voc6 fizer eles na

ordem certa.) Nascimento do Passo truly believed in his methodology as the best way to train

frevo dancers, and he carried out his teaching philosophy in every class he taught.

As a formally trained dancer, I noticed that his class was a mixture of his life as a street

dancer and his ideal of preserving a tradition through the formal education of his dancers. While

he emphasized the improvisational skills necessary to be a pa~ssista, he also encouraged

uniformity of movements in his students [my translation]: "If you are trained in my method you

have to do as I do, not as you want to," he yelled during class. (Se voc6 e treinado no meu

metodo voc6 tem que fazer como eu fago, nio como voc6 quer.)


34The 30 basic steps cited by Oliveira are: lavanca, ritino, swing de oinbro, a onda do pass, saci- perer&, ponta de pe e

calcanhar, trocadilho, pontinha de pe, pontilhando, chutando de fr~ente, chutando de lado, inuganga, abre o leque, folha seca,

patinho, cuinprimentando, passa-passa ein clina, passa-passa ein baixo, base, carrossel, tesourdo, gaveta, faz-que-vai-inas-nd~o-

vai, serrote, banho-de-inar pra frente, banho de inar pra trais, guerreiro, roja~o, abre alas, and pernadas.










The structure of his class illustrated his teaching philosophy. Every class required a great

degree of discipline. Nascimento do Passo did not allow sitting, talking, or taking a water break

during his classes. At the end of every class, all students were required to perform a solo for the

other students. He believed this practice made dancers accountable for the material taught, and

motivated individual creativity. According to Nascimento do Passo [my translation], "If you

cannot do all the steps in your solo that means you did not pay attention to the steps while I was

teaching them, unless you are lazy or something like that. Otherwise, you should be able to do

them, because I repeat them over and over during class" (Se voc6 nio consegue fazer todos os

passes no seu solo, isso significa que voc6 nio prestou atenCho nos passes enquanto eu tava

ensinando, a nio ser que voc6 seja preguigoso, ou alguma coisa parecida, porque senio voc6

pode fazer eles, porque eu repito eles sempre.)

The emphasis on repetition was another characteristic of his class. Nascimento do Passo

believed that "the more you perform the steps, the stronger you get, and you do not need to go to

the gym, you just need to dance frevo." (Quanto mais voc6 faz os passes, mais forte voc6 fica, e

nio tem que ir pra academia de ginastica, s6 dangar frevo.) Following his technique was another

requirement in his classes. His students had to dance as he did, but "with a lot of swing," in his

words, "The entire body has to move while dancing frevo, especially the shoulders; they should

move right on the beat, otherwise it is not frevo, it becomes something else" (O corpo todo tem

que mover quando se danga frevo, especialmente os ombros, eles tem que mover no ritmo certo,

senio, nio e frevo, vira outra coisa.)

In Nascimento do Passo's teaching methodology, a frevo class is divided into four parts,

with each accomplishing different goals. In the first part, the students are told to relax and warm

up (some basic frevo steps are included), and in the next three parts they begin to perform the










steps in a logical order, from the easiest to the hardest. To give an idea of how the steps were

named after his street experiences will help elucidate the core of his work. I will translate their

names, making an association with the social context in which they arose and then try to

associate this social context with the body mechanics of frevo. The steps below are listed in the

order chosen by Nascimento do Passo for his classes:

Part 1

1- Pa~sso = the basic step
2- Rentador = the rower
3- Boneco de Olinda = the giant male doll from Olinda' s Carnival
4- Manivela = hinge
5- Cata-vento = pin wheel
6- Abanador = the fan
7- Bico de papagaio = parrot' s beak
8- Lavanca = Nascimento do Passo's mispronunciation of alavanca, the Portuguese for mi
crane
9- Printeiro nzetra ent cinta ou nzetra de superficie = the first subway

Part 2

10- Maganeta = doorknob
1-Ba~se descendo = squatting on the foundation
12- Sobe ent ritnzo = going up on the beat
13- Swing dos ombros = shoulder swing
14- Onda do Pa~sso = the frevo wave
15- Saci Perer? = Saci Perer6 (a folkloric figure of a one-legged black boy from the
folklore35)
16- Ponta de pe-calcanhar = toe- heel
17- Trocadilho = grape vine
18- Pontilha de Pe = on the toes
19- Pontilhando = dancing on the toes

Part 3

20- Balang~o = the swing
21- Chapa quente= hot grill
22- Chutando de fiente = kicking forward
23- Chutando de lado = kicking sideways


echanical


Brazilian


35 The fact that Saci Perer6 is one legged is the reason for the name of the step, which consists of jumps on one leg,
while the other leg is bent and hooked on the back of the other knee in a "four" shape.










24- M~uganga = having fun as you dance
25- Abre o leque = opening the fan
26- Folha seca = dry leaf
27- Sobe e faz passa-passa em cima e desce de cocora~s = passing the umbrella while jumping then
squattmng.
28- Passa-passa em baixo = squatting and passing the umbrella
29- Rd eletrizada = electrified frog
30- Carrossel = carroussel

Part 4

31- Tesom~n Jol = big scissors
32- Gaveta = drawer
33- Faz que vai, mas ndo vai = teasing
34- Serrote = the saw
35- Banho de mar para frente = swimming in the ocean free style
36- Banho de mar para tras = backstroke in the ocean
37- Guerreiro = the warrior
38- Rojao = firework
39- Abre-alas = based in the expression "abre-alas" that translates to asking permission to start
dancing for Carnival parade.
40- Pernada = kicks

According to Nascimento do Passo after completing the steps above, the student should be

able to perform all the following steps:

41- Tesoura passando a sombrinha = scissors passing the umbrella
42- Vdo da andorinha = the swallow' s flight
43- Tesoura em retrospect = the reverse scissors
44- Tesoura no ar = scissors in the air
45- Tesoura cruzando no ar com a esquerda e a direita ou cruzando em vice-versa= scissors
crossing in the air with the right or left leg
46- Coice de burro = donkey back kick
47- Pernadas = kicks
48- Tesoura simples = basic scissor
49- Tesoura tramnelan2do = locking scissors
50- Dobradiga = hinge
51- Ferrolho = doorknob
52- Parafuso = bolt
53- Cha de barriguinha = the belly movement
54- Pulan2do corda com as duas sombrinhas = jump roping using two umbrellas
55- Tramela tramnelan2do = tramela is a type of door lock, and by tramelart~t~rtrt~t~rtrt~ tramelando he means a
continuous movement of the door lock.
56- Passeando na pracinha = walking around the plaza
57- Pisando em brasa = stepping on coals










58- Rojao = firework
59- Pontinha de pi= tip toes
60- Espalhando bra~sa = spreading coals
61- Saca ralha = cork screw
62- Serrote = the saw
63- Carrossel = merry-go-round
64- Ligadura = link (this is Nascimento's version of the Portuguese noun ligagio, which means
link)
65- Locomotiva = the train
66- Plan2tando mandioca = planting manioc
67- Festival de bailarino = the ballet dancer festival
68- Patinho = duckling
69- Apertando a porca = tightening the screw
70- Enxada = hoe
71- Chave de cano= plumber's wrench
72- Alicate = the pliers
73- Te~ln tim Jo = the big scissors
74- Britadeira~~ttt~~~~ttt~~~ em movimento= movement of the screw driver
75- Metr8 subterrineo = the subway
76- Metr8 de superficie = trolley car
77- Pulo de grilo = grasshopper jump
78- Pd de vento = fleet of foot (literally wind foot)
79- Rd eletrizada = the electrified frog
80- Psso do cinquentdo = the step of the fifty-year-old man
81- O ginasta no pa~sso = the gymnast dancing frevo
82- Pa~sso do mamnulengo = the marionette step
83- Pa~sso do capoeira = the capoeira step
84- Pa~sso do bdbado = the drunken step

Nascimento do Passo emphasizes the repetition of certain steps throughout the class as

necessary for the physical preparation of the dancer. For instance, the step rojao (step 38 and

step 58 of the list) should be performed twice toward the end of his class (see list, part IV). He

justifies this repetition by the necessity of the student to review some principles of that step that

he might understand only after performing other steps in between. In this specific case, the

performance of steps 39 to 57 would lead to improve the performance of the step rojdo. This

may be meaningless to a non-trained dancer, but the more frevo classes I teach, better I

understand Nascimento do Passo's philosophy. This specific step, for instance, functions to a

frevo dancer almost as a "plie" functions to a ballet dancer, as a foundation. The more you










perform a "plie," or in the case of frevo, the rojao, better you perform other steps, and as you

master other steps, you improve the way you perform your foundation step.

The preservation of the historical roots of frevo is also illustrated in Nascimento do Passo' s

methods. The maj ority of the steps are named after the tools used by the urban working class at

the beginning of the twentieth century. Out of the list above, at least 33 steps have names related

to working instruments; example include serrote (saw), parafuso (screw), and ferrolho (door

lock), among others. There is also a close association between the names of the steps and the

environment where frevo is danced: the big city of Recife, surrounded by the ocean, and its

modern buildings. Examples include such steps as banho de mar pra fr~ente (swimming on the

ocean free style), step 35, banho de mar pra tras (backstroke in the ocean), step 36, and metra

(metro), steps 75 and 76, among others.

People's everyday experience and the important influence of Carnival are also reflected in

the names of several steps: plan2tando mandioca (planting manioc), step 66, Abre-Ala~s (which

derived from the Carnival expression based on the music "O Abre Alas"), step 39, Boneco de

Olinda (the giant male doll from Olinda' s Carnival), step 3, and several others in the list above.

Nascimento do Passo' s performance of the pa~sso do bdbado (the drunken step) exemplifies his

spontaneous way of naming and performing frevo steps. He proudly states that the creation of

this step "just happened" while he was drunk during Carnival.

Although he claims to have stopped drinking after he started dancing frevo as a lifetime

career, he still remembers the times when the steps were just flowing in his mind. As I asked

him about his creative process, Nascimento do Passo stated [my translation], "This step.... I

never thought about it, I swear. I just remember that every time I got drunk I did it, but I think I

also got inspired by other people that were drunk during Carnival ... I was not the only one to be










drunk during Carnival." (Esse passo.... Eu nunca pensei nele, eu juro; eu lembro que toda vez

que eu me embreagava eu fazia, mas eu acho que eu tambem me inspire nas outras pessoas que

se embreagavam no Carnaval... Eu nio era o unico nio a ficar b~bado no Carnaval)

In the class I attended in 1998, Nascimento do Passo held a plastic cup full of water and

imitated a drunken person performing frevo steps to explain how this step had just naturally

happened for him. The pa~sso do bdbado (the drunken step) is characterized by the lack of

balance of the dancer, as if one had lost control of his center of gravity. When performed today,

dancers explore circular motions of the torso and arms in contrast with precise movements of

legs and feet. Two forward heel steps are followed by the circular motion of the arms,

resembling the motion of a drunken, except that instead of carrying the "drink" in one of the

hands, the dancer carries a frevo umbrella. The video below shows Nascimento do Passo's

"performance" of this idea.

Object 1-1 video of Nascimento do Passo performance of the drunken step(9,813kb, .mpg)

The connection between the name of the steps and the performance of the movements is

used as an important pedagogical element of Nascimento do Passo's method, since it facilitates

the students understanding of their performance. The simple words used to describe each step

also makes the "frevo vocabulary" very accessible for children and people with a low level of

formal education. In many cases, the names of the steps are simply translated from the main

characteristic of the movement performance, as for example, chutando de frente (kicking

forward), chutando de lado (kicking sideways), passa-passa de frente (passing the umbrella in

front), etc. I am afraid my attempt to describe frevo steps will either simplify the dance or

complicate the understanding of the reader. I would much rather dance! We can always connect

steps with words, but in order to understand frevo, we have to connect our heartbeat to the









movement. The examples to follow will just serve as illustrations for the meanings of some frevo

steps:

Tesoura (scissors): Begin with weight on one of the feet (i.e. left), with the other foot

extended on the side, resting on heel. Jump toward the foot that has your weight and place the

other foot back landing one foot in front of the other with toes of both feet pointing outward

(toe to heel, heel to toe). Jump toward the same direction landing on right foot, left foot

extended to left side, heel on ground. Jump back toward left foot, placing the right foot behind

it. Jump again continuing to go toward the same direction, landing on left but extending right

foot, resting on heel. The arms (one hand is carrying the umbrella) are making diagonal lines

while the feet are "scissoring."

Abre-Ala~s (named after the expression "abre-alas" that translates to asking permission to

go through in Carnival parade): With the weight on both legs, keep them spread apart with the

knees slightly bent. Both elbows out, with the umbrella held by one of the hands both hands

are placed toward the belly-button. Move stiffly forward as if elbowing through a crowd.

Shoulders are leading the entire body to move forward, alternating the movement of the torso

toward right, and left.

Ferrolho (doorknob): Legs spread wide, feet set apart- one forward, one back the weight

of the back leg is on the ball of the foot, and the weight of the front leg is on the heel. Flip from

the ball of one foot to the heel of the other as you make both legs straighten as you hop from one

direction to the other successively, changing the direction of the entire body.

Ferrolhando (the movement of the doorknob): Same of the step above, but performed in

double time, not in the usual "binary time" of most frevo steps.










Nascimento do Passo recognizes cultural diversity and international influence in the names

of frevo steps. For instance, the maj ority of the dancers associate the step passeando na

pracinha (strolling in the square) with one of the steps performed by American dancer and actor

Fred Astaire in his musicals. This step reminds us of the European "grapevine," except that due

to the binary fast-paced rhythm of frevo, the dancers pivot less and hop more, while carrying the

umbrella.

At the same time that steps were being codified at formal frevo contests, American cinema

had a strong influence on Brazilian culture, reinforcing the ideology of the defenders of the

"white origin" of frevo, who still associate some of the dance movements exclusively with

European or American sources. The squatting movements that are the highlights of many frevo

performances are often associated with the Slavic influence in Pernambuco (Figure 3-2). The

director of the Bale Popular do Recife, Andre Madureira, cited by Oliveira has stated [my

translation] :

You will notice that the frevo has absorbed the best steps and movements from the
universal culture, but in Pernambuco's own way. As you watch the frevo steps, you will
find them in Russia, in the Russian ballets, especially the squatting steps: locomotive,
patinho, encaracolad, pazrafuso. You will notice that all these steps have a very strong
origin in the steps of Russian dance, but performed in Pernambuco' s way. Why is that?
Because in the 50s, many Russian dance groups came here... They danced on the streets,
and performed in theatres and on the streets. The people would watch the Russians dancing
and what would they do? In the next Carnival they would incorporate those steps into their
own dancing. (Oliveira 1993, 152)

[Voc6 vai ver que o frevo ele absorveu o que de melhor tem em passes e movimentos da
danga universal. S6 que a maneira pr6pria de Pernambuco. Entio voc6 vi os passes de
frevo, voc6 vai encontrar eles na Russia, nos bales russos, principlamente os embaixo:
locomotive, patinho, encaracolado, parafuso; todos esses passes, voc6 vai ver que tem uma
origem muito forte nos passes de danga russa s6 que numa maneira dangada
pernambucana. Por que isso? Porque na decada de 50, aqui vinham muitos grupos de
danga russa... Eles dangavam na roa, tinham apresentagies de teatro e as apresentagies de
rua. O povo via aqueles russos dangando e o que faziam? No carnival seguinte eles
colocavam da maneira como eles achavam que era o pass na roa, dangando.]









As a member of the lower class, Nascimento do Passo tends to associate these squatting

movements in frevo with the influence of capoeira rather than the influence of European dancers.

Although some ambiguity can be found in Nascimento do Passo' s view of the origin of frevo -

he contradicts himself at times most likely because of his unconscious assimilation of the

dominant (whitened) ideology he teaches the African influences in the history of frevo and

sees this as an extremely important component of his method. When putting the booklet together,

Nascimento do Passo emphasized the importance of the historical knowledge for the frevo

dancer. Linking frevo with capoeira, he defined the frevo dancer as "the gymnast who, at some

point in history, was called capoeira valentdo" (the brave capoeira).

He thought it important that students know that the capoeira~s used weapons while dancing

in front of the marching bands in the Carnival of Recife and Olinda, and that as a result of the

police repression toward the practice, the dancers replaced their weapons by umbrellas. In this

context, he views the frevo umbrella as a symbol of resistance, and stresses that the students'

understanding of that part of history could transform them into better dancers. In his words, "It

is important that they [the students] understand and feel what they are dancing" (E important

que eles (os alunos) entendam e sintam o que eles estio dangando).

Nascimento do Passo claims to incorporate in his method the things he experienced in the

streets, bringing a sense of social reality to frevo. The use of the umbrella is one of the best

examples of this. He states that all the movements in frevo can be done toward the right or left

side of the body, and one should be able to carry the umbrella in either one of the hands. In his

words, "Since the use of the umbrellas in frevo derives from attacking and defending, you

should be able to hold the umbrella with your right and with your left hand. When you are

fighting, you do not have time to choose between the right and left hand, you have to defend










yourself no matter what." (Ja que o uso da sombrinha de frevo e originario do ataque e da defesa,

voc6 tem que segurar a sombrinha com sua mio direita e esquerda. Quando voc6 esta brigando,

voc6 nio tem tempo de escolher entire direita e esquerda, voc6 tem que se defender de qualquer

jeito.)

The non-religious association of frevo explains the "utilitarian" use of the umbrella; which

is mostly associated with defense or balance of the dancer. But this use goes beyond defense.

The umbrella is for frevo what the use of props is in most dances of the Afro-Brazilian tradition:

a symbol. The dances of the orixds in the Candomble religion include obj ects that represent tools

of their trades, for instance, the iron implements or swords of the orixd~ Ogun, the mirrors of the

orixd~ Oxum, and several other obj ects that are representative of their personal characteristics.

In the case of frevo, no religious value is given to the umbrella, but the "tradition" of using

the umbrella as a symbol of authenticity could be associated to the Afro-Brazilian heritage,

hence the importance of umbrellas as a royal symbol in West Africa, and in the Afro-Brazilian

maracatu tradition. But in frevo, instead of a royal or religious symbol, the umbrella became a

symb ol for the traditi onal/authenti c frevo. No frevo dancer performs frevo without an umbrella a.

As I teach frevo, I tell the students: "the umbrella is the frevo dancer' s best friend," adding some

sentimental value between the performer and the object. Nascimento do Passo taught me by

saying that a good frevo dancer should know how to drop and how to catch the umbrella while

performing, should know how to take care of the umbrella, and when possible, even learn how to

make and fix the obj ect. In his own words, "by the way you use the umbrella I know who you

are, as a passista and as a person..." (Pela forma que voc6 usa a sombrinha, eu sei quem voc6 e,

como passista e como pessoa). This statement defines the use of the umbrella beyond frevo










performance. As in Afro-Brazilian traditions, moral and personal values are associated to an

obj ect that serves as a tool for its preservation.

This is not to say that there is a direct association between Nascimento do Passo, or frevo

dancers in general, to Afro-Brazilian rituals. In fact, I do not recall his religious beliefs, which

can also be indicative of very little attachment to religion on his part, considering how much time

I spent with him. But instead, I want to acknowledge the strong influence of the Afro-Brazilian

heritage, which is intrinsic to the dance of Pernambuco, through body movement, through the

presence of obj ects, and through sentimental values.

In trying to bring frevo from the streets into classrooms, Nascimento do Passo states that

frevo does not assign any gender difference, another characteristic that could be associated to the

practice of capoeira and several Afro-Brazilian rituals. In frevo, men and women typically play

the same roles and should be able to perform the same steps (Figure 4-3). He reinforces this idea

by saying that, in the beginning, only men used to dance frevo, first the capoeira~s, and later the

winners of frevo contests, but as time passed, as it happens with capoeira, women learned the

steps and became in some cases, even better performers of the style. The presence of women in

frevo can be a determining factor for some of the stylistic changes frevo has undergone.

But Nascimento do Passo reinforces that it was mainly from his street experience as a

frevo dancer and frevo contest winner that he named some of the steps he uses in his method,

despite gender. Inspired by the "Rei do Passo" (King of Frevo), Egidio Bezerra, who had named

some of the steps he performed in the contests, Nascimento do Passo named the steps he learned

from men and women who performed in the streets, and also addresses that as he created the

steps, he did not care if it was a "male step" or a "female step," they just happened, according to










him. In this same way, his students also contributed to the creation of frevo steps, despite

gender.

And although frevo functions as a religion for Nascimento do Passo and should be studied

with great respect, he always emphasized that the frevo dancer should have the freedom to invent

new steps. The attention to innovation within the tradition is based on the individual expression

that Nascimento do Passo observed during his life time as a street dancer. Traditionally people

spontaneously created the steps as the music was played by the frevo bands and as the crowd

moved during Carnival. After practicing in the streets and in his home, Nascimento do Passo

named each step and created new ones. When I asked how he went about creating frevo steps,

Nascimento do Passo stated [my translation]:

The people in the street just created them, and I found them beautiful, so I would go back
home, imitate, and think to myself: what does this step remind me of! Oh, a scissor! You
know scissoring the legs opening and closing them the way we do... and from then on that
step would be named 'tesoura' [the scissor step.]

[O povo na rua simplesmente criava eles, e eu achava eles bonitos, entio eu voltava pra
casa e pensava comigo mesmo: esse pass me lembra o que? Ah! Uma tesoura, Voc6 sabe,
abrindo e fechando as pernas como eu fago... e daquele dia em diante aquele pass era
chamado tesoura.]

Some dancers in Pernambuco claim that Nascimento do Passo did not invent the frevo

steps he claims to have invented. However, it is imperative to recognize that either by creating,

by naming or just by organizing the steps into his teaching method, Nascimento do Passo played

an important role toward the development and preservation of frevo as a dance style, and in

doing so, he contributed to the formalization of many other popular dance traditions. Today,

because of Nascimento do Passo, people who have never attended a frevo class are able to

recognize the most popular steps of frevo, similar to the way in which classical dancers learn to

identify essential steps of ballet.










The grammatical mistakes found in the names of some of the frevo steps are a consequence

of the spontaneous way that Nascimento do Passo named them together with his lack of

schooling. When questioned on the correct pronunciation of one step, he answered [my

translation] :

If I created the steps, I should be the one who names them, in the way I speak. And people
should pronounce their names in the same way I do, and if people insist in pronouncing
them in the way they learned in their school, just to be fancy, then they do not want to
learn them in the right way: in Nascimento do Passo's way.

[Se eu criei os passes, eu tenho que ser quem da o nome deles, do jeito que eu falo. E as
pesssoas tim que pronunciar o nome deles do jeito que eu falo, e se as pessoas insistirem
em pronunciar do jeito que eles aprenderam na escola deles, s6 pra ser chique, e porque
eles nio querem aprender eles do j eito certo: no j eito de Nascimento do Passo.]

And as we discussed the subj ect and danced, he mentioned [my translation]:

Do you see this step you are dancing right now? I always called it "carancolado." The
other day, a woman came here saying that she was doing research at the university. As
soon as I taught her this step, she said: but mestre, you are saying "carancolado," you
should say "encaracolado." That was when I lost control and said: You know what?
encaracolad [curly] is your hair! My step is carancolad[Mi spronunciation of
"encaracolando" making it curly]! Don't you think that if I created the step I should at
least have the right to say it the way I want?

[V6 esse pass que voc6 esta fazendo agora? Eu sempre chamei isso de "carancolado".
Outro dia, uma mulher veio aqui dizendo que ela tava fazendo uma pesquisa pra
universidade, assim que eu ensinei ela a fazer esse pass, ela disse: mas mestre, o senhor ta
dizendo "carancolado", o senhor deve dizer "encaracolado". Foi quando eu perdi o
control e disse: quer saber de uma coisa? Encaracolado e o cabelo da sua cabega! Meu
passe carancolado. Voc6 nio acha que se fui eu quem criou o pass eu devo pelo menos
ter o direito de dizer do j eito que eu quero?]

Nascimento do Passo considered it an insult that the researcher corrected his

pronunciation. In Pernambuco the use of the expression "encaracolar" is very common and

translates to "making it curly." For Nascimento do Passo, "carancolado," instead of

encaracolad, is used as an adj ective to describe "curly hair." This way of naming frevo steps

shows the relationship between Nascimento's spontaneity as a street frevo dancer and his dream

to preserve the tradition by codifying and naming frevo steps in his own way.









While Nascimento emphasizes his work in creating and naming the frevo steps, he

acknowledges that he was not the first pa~ssista to do this: "Egidio Bezerra was the one who

started it and I learned a lot by watching him dancing." Since Egidio Bezerra was already

considered "O Rei do Passo" before Nascimento do Passo had won his first frevo contest, Egidio

likely inspired Nascimento to construct his own method of teaching and his own performing

style. In his Frevo, Capoeira e Pa~sso, Valdemar de Oliveira quotes Egidio Bezerra [my

translation] :

I've been dancing frevo since I was a little boy. I invented many steps: peru de chapa
quente, when the body bends, [turkey on a hot grill] ; tesoura area, a jump crossing the
legs, [airborne scissors]; todo duro, a system of bending the body successively, [named
after a Brazilian boxer]; cortando jca, jumping with the legs open and rounded, [cutting
the jack fruit]; escama~do, dancing in diagonal on the pass way, [ fish scales]; mulher
carregan2do o menino, when the umbrella stays in between the legs, [woman carrying a
boy]; and pazrafuso [the screw], when the legs stay crossed changing directions constantly.
(Interview with Egidio Bezerra to the journalist Ney Lopes de Souza, in the Jornal do
Comdrcio, in Recife, in the Carnival of 1967)

[Dango frevo desde menino. Criei varios passes: "peru na chapa quente" (envergadura no
corpo); "tesoura area" (saltos cruzando as pernas); "todo duro" (sistema de envergaduras
sucessivals), "cortando jaca" (pulando com pernas abertas em circunfer~ncia); "escamado"
(saracoteando em diagonal na passarela); "mulher carregando o menino" (sombrinha e
declive nas pernas) e "parafuso" (pernas trangadas com mudangas continues de posiCio).]

In addition to the creation of frevo steps, there is a strong similarity between the

backgrounds of Nascimento do Passo and Egidio Bezerra. Both have similar life traj ectories,

both won frevo contests and trained generations of frevo dancers. Even with their limited degree

of formal schooling (they often had to ask other people to write down the steps they were

creating), their efforts to name the steps was a way to look into the future and consciously or

unconsciously preserve the tradition.

The names of the steps created by Egidio Bezerra, and later, by Nascimento do Passo are

widely known, and are mentioned in some of the most popular songs of the Carnival of

Pernambuco. With their unique creation process, they differ from most choreographers who










attended a formal dance school in order to be able to choreograph. Egidio Bezerra and

Nascimento do Passo learned choreography through oral transmission and informal practice, by

passing or failing "the tests on the streets."

Nascimento do Passo' s dream of formalizing the tradition has come true, as frevo is now

taught in classrooms. He considers frevo the most important of all rhythms in the state of

Pernambuco and views frevo as the leading dance style of Camnival, the one that incorporates all

the other regional dance styles and music from Pernambuco and the entire Northeast. He wants

frevo to be taught in the schools to be as close as possible to the way people dance in the streets,

but his ideas clearly link the teaching of frevo to all sectors of society through contact between

rich and poor. For example, in his booklet he writes [my translation]:

We should sing and dance some frevo-cangieS36 praising the frevo composers, and the
pa~ssista~s [frevo dancers] from the past and from the present. We should recognize the
work of reporters and j journalists, the writers, theatre directors, photographers, and all the
Carnival people who have kept frevo alive, by teaching frevo not only in the classrooms
but in the streets, main avenues, and in the ballrooms of Recife and Olinda. (Nascimento
do Pass' booklet 1998)

[NC~s devemos cantar e dangar os frevo-cangies, exaltar os compositores de frevo, e os
passistas do passado e do present. NC~s devemos reconhecer o trabalho dos repC~rteres e
jornalistas, os escritores, diretores de teatro, fotC~grafos, e todas as pessoas do carnaval que
mantiveram o frevo vivo, ensinando o frevo nio apenas nas escolas, mas nas ruas, grandes
avenidas, e nos clubes do Recife e de Olinda.]

As Nascimento do Passo taught his frevo classes, he became known for his openness as a

teacher. When speaking about the time he taught at one of Recife' s samba schools, Galeria do

Ritmo, he observed that the steps of frevo are imbedded in many different dance styles, including

samba. Speaking of the samba dancers' learning process he commented, "As time went on, I

began to notice that as they learned frevo, their bodies developed more freedom than when they

36 Frevo-cangies [frevo-cang~io] are solo song frevos with instrumental jazz-band accompaniment that first
developed in the 1930s among professional popular composers in Recife. Typical instrumentation includes trumpets,
saxophones, trombones, electric guitar and bass, drum kit and piano. A solo singer is backed by a small mixed
chorus. The frevo-cang~io is not linked to any particular Carnival association.










danced samba, especially their arms." (Quando o tempo foi passando, eu comecei a notar que a

media que eles iam aprendendo o frevo, o corpo deles comegou a mover com mais liberdade

quando eles dangavam samba, especialmente os bragos.) Nascimento do Passo was referring to

the incorporation of his teaching method and style in the samnba school classes, a style

characterized by the freedom of arm movement in contrast to the precise movements of the legs.

Today, Nascimento do Passo's students are recognized as they perform frevo in

Pernambuco and beyond. Besides mastering the steps created by Nascimento do Passo, his

students have a distinct style from other dancers represented by their particular way of dancing

frevo characterized by looseness in the arm and shoulder movement, described by Nascimento

do Pass as the "swing" of frevo. This swing is found in the frevo performed by the common

people on the street Camnival, but not necessarily in the frevo performed by some dance

companies. According to Nascimento do Passo, he has always dreamed of bringing the street

style to the classroom, teaching his students what he has learned in the "school of life."

Frevo Costumes

During Camnival, tourist events and theatrical performances, frevo costumes are an

essential part of frevo dancing. The starting point of my investigation into the origin of frevo

costumes was based on my assumption that, even though frevo dancing had its origin in the

movements of the capoeira~s protecting the marching bands in Recife, the frevo costumes of

today have no direct association with the white pants womn by the capoeira~s of the past, or even

the capoeirista~s of the present (Figure 3-3). In addition, the frevo costumes dancers wore before

the 1950s bear little resemblance to today's costumes (Figure 3-4).

Having been exposed to frevo since childhood, I never learned the origin of frevo

costumes, but was always intrigued by the standardization of the Carnival frevo costumes and

the ones used in theatrical performances. The emphasis on individuality and innovation that









characterizes frevo as a dance style and the individuality expressed in all frevo steps are also

transposed to the frevo costumes of today. If in frevo, dancers are not following a specific

religious or cultural tradition, why is there a specific way of dressing is associated with frevo?

Who chose the "authentic frevo costume," and for what reason?

As one of Nascimento do Passo's students, I was also intrigued by the fact that I had never

seen him wearing anything other than a frevo costume in every class he taught. Furthermore,

whenever I encountered Nascimento do Passo in a supermarket, bank, or even walking on the

streets of Recife, he was always wearing a colorful frevo costume. What I did not realize was

that today's frevo costumes are, in fact, one of Nascimento do Passo's "inventions," and one of

his important contributions to the dance style.

Most popular traditions in Pernambuco are associated with a historical period or religious

tradition which set the style for the costumes worn by their participants. For instance, the

popular tradition of maracatu, as it passes through the street Carnivals of Recife and Olinda,

transports spectators to the colonial period of Brazilian history with its costumes that represent

both Afro-Brazilian expression and the influence of the European Royal Court. The maracatu is

a parade representing an African nation and it is culturally linked to the coronation of the king of

Congo in past centuries. Up to these days, participants wear elaborate costumes resembling

those of Louis XV (Carvalho, 2000). When participating in the maracatu, people of all ages,

social, and Einancial conditions transform themselves into kings and queens, wearing historical

costumes that are important for the preservation of that tradition (Figure 3-5).

The caboclinhos, a Recife' s Carnival tradition, is represented by groups of people that

dress in stylized indigenous outfits and features music played by a small flute, metal shakers and

a drum (Figure 3-6). In both examples, costumes are used for group identification: in the first










case, as Afro-Brazilians, and in the second, as a blend of indigenous and European heritage. Here

it is clear that a mixture of cultural identities is at the root of these two popular expressions: the

former, the Afro- and Euro- Brazilian mix, and in the latter, the Indigenous and Euro-Brazilian.

At the same time, frevo costumes, do not identify ethnic elements so much as symbolize the

struggle of one frevo dancer, Nascimento do Passo, as he tried to make his way to a higher level

of society.

Nascimento do Passo's permanent struggle to preserve the tradition was followed by his

individual struggle to establish himself as "alguem de valor" (someone of value) in the society of

Pernambuco. His lower class origins, and background as a street dancer, never allowed him to be

recognized by society at large. In his words, "in our society, if you are born poor you will

always remain poor and be seen as somebody with no manners, almost like a criminal." [Na

nossa sociedade, se voc6 nasce pobre, vai ser sempre pobre e vai ser sempre visto como alguem

sem educaCgo, como um criminoso]. Metaphorically speaking, through his frevo, Nascimento do

Pass wanted "to jump" to another level in the society. In an informal conversation in 1998, he

demonstrated how much prejudice had interfered with his life as a frevo dancer.

As we discussed the topic further, I noticed that he had unconsciously developed his own

prejudice against Afro-Brazilian culture as a survival mechanism. For instance, when I

mentioned my trip to the U.S. he advised me to learn any style of dance I wanted, but

emphasized, "Please do not get involved with capoeira, since I have heard that capoeirista~s have

gone to the U. S. as well. If you have the opportunity to better yourself, please do not get

involved with them." (Por favor s6 nio se involve com capoeira, porque eu ouvi dizer que os

capoeiristas ja estio por la tambem. Se voc6 ta tendo a oportunidade de se tornar alguem melhor,

por favor nio va se envolver com eles.)










His statement is explained by the historical roots of frevo and the police repression

suffered by the first frevo dancers, at the time known as capoeiras, 3 at the turn of the twentieth

century similar to what Nascimento do Passo experienced as a street dancer during the 1950s.

Nascimento do Passo's background and position in the society explains his fear of my

involvement with capoeira. He firmly stated, "Although frevo has its roots in capoeira, frevo

dancers should be different; they should try to compel society see them as better people."

(Mesmo tendo raizes na capoeira, os dangarinos de frevo tim que ser diferente; eles tem que

tentar fazer com que a sociedade olhe pra eles como pessoas melhores.)

It was in search for this difference, and social ascension that Nascimento do Passo began as

a frevo dancer, and, in continuing his efforts, he essentially invented today's frevo costumes.

When I interviewed Rosane Almeida, director of the Espago Brincante38 in Sho Paulo, the

spouse, and professional partner of the musician and dancer Antinio N6brega, who also has been

one of Nascimento do Passo's student, and helped him to write his booklet in 1998, she

mentioned an episode which first influenced Nascimento do Passo in fighting for his recognition

as a frevo dancer [my translation]:

In a bank in Recife, he signed a check as Nascimento do Passo instead of Francisco do
Nascimento, his real name. According to Nascimento do Passo, the fact that the cashier
would not recognize him as the same person served as the biggest push for him to
understand that "all the work he had done to spread frevo had not yet had strong enough
impact on society." He needed people to know who he was, and only then, they would
respect him as a frevo dancer. (Rosane Almeida interviewed on 12/18/2006)

Foi num banco em Recife, que ele assinou um cheque como Nascimento do Passo ao inves
de Francisco do Nascimento, o nome verdadeiro dele. De acordo com Nascimento do


37 Scholars often refer to the people who fought in front of the marching bands as "capoeiras," but the people who
practice the formalized martial art/ dance style of capoeira as "capoeiristas," respecting the nomenclature of the
period, the former, the eighteenth/nineteenth century, and the latter, after the formalization and legalization of the
style in the 1930's.

38The Espago Brincante is a theatre-school founded by Antinio N6brega and Rosane Almeida to teach Brazilian
popular music and dance.










Pass, o fato de que o caixa nio reconheceu ele como a mesma pessoa, serviu como o
maior empurrio pra que ele entendesse que todo o trabalho que ele tinha feito pra divulgar
o frevo nio tinha sido suficiente para causar impact na sociedade. Ele precisava que as
pessoas soubessem quem ele era, e s6 assim eles o respeitariam como um dangarino de
frevo.]

From that day forward, Nascimento do Passo decided to wear, in his daily activities, the

same costume he wore while dancing frevo in the streets. He decided that his outfit had to be

comfortable, and remind him of Carnival. The idea resulted in wearing a shirt tied around his

waist, and a pair of pants that matched the shirt. In another interview, Nascimento do Passo

stated [my translation]:

From then on, this [what his wearing at the interview]was the outfit Nascimento do Passo
wore every time he left his home. Of course, as I made money performing and teaching
classes, I made other outfits that I could use on different occasions or do you think I
would wear the same outfit for a birthday party and a funeral? They had to be different,
although the ones I invented look a bit alike... [laughs...]. (Nascimento do Passo,
interviewed in 1998)

[Daquele memento em diante, essa [a roupa que ele estava vestindo durante a entrevista]
foi a roupa que Nascimento do Passo vestiu toda vez que ele saiu de casa. Claro que
quando eu fui fazendo dinheiro me apresentando ou dando aulas, eu fiz outras roupas que
eu pudesse usar em diferentes ocasiies ou voc6 acha que eu usei a mesma roupa pra um
aniversario e um funeral? Elas tinham que ser diferentes, apesar de que as que eu inventei
se pareciam um pouco umas com as outras.]

Nascimento do Passo justifies the choice for the shirt tied around the waist and the baggy

pair of pants, usually made of satin, on the grounds that they were more comfortable for dancing

frevo. In my view, his uses of the third person when talking about himself, placing himself as an

observer of the tradition he created, demonstrates that it is almost as if he cannot believe the

widespread impact of his own creation. According to Nascimento do Passo, his outfit also had to

represent the j oyfulness of Carnival, and its colorfulness is the best representation of this light-

heartedness [my translation]:

Why do we wear only black when people die? Because we are sad, but if we are happy, we
should wear as many colors as we can, and the frevo is all about j oy. Speaking of joy, it
took a long time, but now, everybody knows who Nascimento do Passo is, and I am happy









about that... Look how many colors I am wearing right now [laughs]. (Nascimento do
Pass, interviewed in 1998)

[Por que nos so vestimos preto quando as pessoas morrem? Porque estamos triste, mas se
estamos felizes, a gente tem que vestir quanto mais cores a gente puder, e frevo e s6
alegria. Falando nisso, demorou muito tempo, mas agora, todo mundo sabe quem e
Nascimento do Passo, e eu tou feliz com isso... Olha quantas cores eu tou vestindo agora.]

The frevo outfit created by Nascimento do Passo has become one of the main symbols of

today's authentic frevo (Figure 3-7). Even before performing a step, a frevo dancer will be

recognized first by the outfit he is wearing. During Carnival, people from Pernambuco profit

from frevo costumes which represent symbols of their state and are sold to tourists from all over

the world. In the dance world, not only Nascimento do Passo's students, but many of

Pernambuco' s popular dance companies proudly wear variations of that outfit, which is essential

to the preservation of the tradition. Unfortunately, they do not always recognize the importance

of Nascimento do Passo's invention and its symbolic value.

Coruja: The Image of All Northeastern Rhythms

During the same period in which Nascimento do Passo was participating in frevo contests,

another popular dancer became known for his virtuosity as a frevo dancer. It was by the

nickname Coruj a (owl) that most people from Pernambuco identified Arnaldo Francisco das

Neves (Figure 3-8). Coruj a do Pandeiro (Coruj a of the Tambourine), Coruj a do Passo (Coruj a

of the Step), or simply Coruj a, are all nicknames that came into use when Neves was a street

vendor and carried an owl on his shoulder to pump up the sale of plastic table cloths in the

Mercado de Sho Jose (the largest street market in Recife).

In his life story, what is unique about him is that he has come to represent all northeastern

rhythms which were influential in his style of frevo dancing. The diversity of his artistic talents

represent the diversity found through out the state of Pernambuco itself and was recognized in

the frevo contests in which he participated. As one of the first contributors to Pernambuco' s










diverse contemporary music and dance scene, Coruj a' s blend of the urban streets traditions of

Recife with those from the interior brought together the sound of xaxado, 39the influence of

Lampiho and Maria Bonita,40 the music of Luiz Gonzaga,41 and Jackson do Pandeiro,42 thereby

contributing to the hybridity of frevo.

Coruj a's path proves that frevo may have started in the streets of Recife, but it has

incorporated elements of the entire state of Pernambuco. Knowing Coruj a' s background is

essential to understanding the importance of his contribution to the history of frevo. As a

pandeiro (tambourine) player, bomn in the state of Paraiba but having lived in Pemnambuco since

age 12, Coruj a resided in the lower class neighborhoods of Casa Amarela, Nova Descoberta and

Alto do Mandu. According to Coruja, his friendships with Jackson do Pandeiro and Amaurilio

Niceias, who first met him as a street vendor, were instrumental in getting him jobs on the TV

program A Taba se Diverte, and at radio broadcasts Radio Clube and Radio Jomal. In his

interview with the Diario de Pernamnbuco on March 23, 1990 Coruj a stated [my translation]:

I was hired by the Radio Clube and stayed there for 3 years. Around 1955, I went to Radio
Jornal. Since I was already friends with Jackson do Pandeiro, I often replaced him when he
was traveling for shows. I spent five years on the radio and then went on TV Jornal, after
being taken there by Amaurilio Niceias. (Diciio de Pernamnbuco, 1990)

[Fui contratado para a Radio Clube, onde fiquei tris anos. Por volta de 1955, fui para a
Radio Jomal. Como ja era amigo de Jackson do Pandeiro, sempre o substituia, quando ele
viaj ava pra fazer shows. Foram cinco anos na radio e fui para a TV Jornal, levado por
Amaurilio Niceias.]




39 Xaxado is a dance tradition from the interior of the northeast.

40 Lampiio and Maria Bonita were considered outlaws who besides fighting for their own rights in the backlands of
the Northeast, became known for dancing xaxado.

41 Luiz Gonzaga is the most famous musician from the Northeast. He is credited for having created and spread a
rhythm called baid~o throughout Brazil, later also known as forr6.

42Jackson do Pandeiro is considered one of the best tambourine players of all times, also credited with spreading the
music of the interior of the Northeast in Brazil.










Coruj a started his artistic life as a tambourine player in Felinho' s Conjunto Regional,

where he played tambourine in the opening of the Radio Tamandare. Later, because his

experience as a street vendor in the urban center of Recife, he participated in Camnivals for many

years, and was attracted to frevo, founding the first frevo school in Pemnambuco at his house. In

his school, hundreds of kids learned what he use to call the "swing," "ginga," and "turbulence,"

of frevo. At the time, he was recognized as the greatest frevo dancer in Pernambuco and was

invited to integrate frevo dancing into the first "V80 do Frevo" 43 Of the prestigious upper class

Clube Intemacional do Recife. He was also the principal teacher at the Sociedade Folcl6rica

Nordestina in Santo Amaro (Diario de Pernamnbuco, 1987).

In the newspaper Jornal do Comdrcio on February 22nd 1981, Coruj a commented on the

importance of frevo reaching the school system of Pernambuco, and on the importance of

spreading and preserving this dance tradition. Considering Pernambuco's Carnival as "o melhor

do mundo inteiro" (the best of the entire world), he was proud of participating in the first "V80

do Frevo" (Flight of Frevo), and of having danced accompanying the orchestras of famous frevo

composers Nelson Ferreira and Jose Menezes in the city of Rio de Janeiro.44 Another highlight

of his career was the opportunity to travel to Brasilia as part of "The Show of Brasilia," directed

by Walter de Oliveira. This show introduced the northeastern popular traditions bumba-meu-boi

and caboclinhos to the nation' s capital, while also bringing Coruja and his company (Coruj a e

seus Tangaras), along with a frevo orchestra, led by composer Nelson Ferreira, to the attention of

a wider audience.



43 The Vio do Frevo was a flight organized by people of the middle and upper classes who were members of the
Clube Internacional do Recife. In this flight, they would visit a foreign country and take Frevo as their 'present' to
the country visited.

44 Up to today, the expression "acompanhar" (to follow) is used by frevo dancers as they refer to their performances
with the orchestras.









The fact that Coruj a' s participation in TV documentaries helped spread frevo throughout

Brazil, and is also mentioned in his newspaper interviews as one of the highlights and most

cherished parts of his career. As he received homage from the members of the Brazilian

Assistance League, LBA (Legiho Brasileira de Assistincia), in a program dedicated to seniors

assisted by that association, he mentioned being touched by seeing people over 90 years old

dancing frevo like children. On that occasion he asked Carnival lovers to continue to "play"

Carnival, to perform the steps and to represent the frevo of Pernambuco with elegance and peace

(Jornal do Comercio, 198 1).

Coruj a' s financial survival as a popular artist was due to his ability to create diversity in

his work. From his first performances as a frevo dancer, Coruj a continued to preserve frevo but

always complained about the lack of support from local institutions. Although had glaucoma in

his left eye, and was almost blind by the last days of his life (even after surgery), he maintained

the same enthusiasm for the Carnival in Pernambuco. As a survival strategy, he directed several

groups simultaneously, and thereby shared his knowledge and expertise among the different

groups he founded, creating a true legacy of followers, including his ten sons. His groups (Coruj a

e sua Orquestra, Coruja e seus Tangaras, Coruja e seus Passistas, and Forr6 dos Tangaras) played

and danced all northeastern rhythms, possibly initiating the attempts to stage northeastern

popular traditions that would become the subj ect of study for dance companies of Pernambuco.

However, unlike Nascimento do Passo, Coruj a did not consciously attempt to formalize his

dancing. Unconsciously, as part of his survival strategies, he used his experience as a tambourine

player to link the musical traditions of the interior of the state, such as baido and forro, with the

urban tradition of frevo.










During his career he wished he had recorded a CD that was to be produced by Luiz

Gonzaga, who, to use Coruja' s expression, was "taken by God" before Coruj a himself was.

Coruj a deeply desired to make a CD symbolizing a trip throughout the Northeast, featuring the

rhythms of xaxado, forro and the marabaixo from the northern state of Macapa45 (Diario de

Pernambuco, 1990)

Versatility became the distinctive factor of this popular artist. Oral tradition shows that the

frevo steps he created linked rural and urban cultures, the backlands and the city. By

transforming the frevo steps performed on the streets into performances, Coruj a facilitated

communication between popular tradition and the media, linking the many different social

worlds present during Carnival on the crowded streets of Recife.

The musical group Coruj a e seus Tangaras, that he founded, animated street parties and

clubs during the 1960s, many times accompanying the famous tambourine player Jackson do

Pandeiro. The group participated in national TV programs such as Silvio Santos and Chacrinha,

and traveled throughout many Brazilian states following Luiz Gonzaga in the Projeto

Pixinguinha. 46 They also became known in Europe and in the U. S. through TV documentaries

produced by foreigner scholars. Speaking about his group, Coruj a stated [my translation]:

In 1960, when the TV station opened up I started slowly to put together a small ensemble,
preparing the choreography. At that time I was already friends with Luiz Gonzaga. I
showed him the choreography of the xaxado, and Gonzaga, who had met a group of
cangaceiTOS47 in the city of Exu, showed me how the authentic dance was done. However



45The marabaixo is a rlwthm that, according to Coruja [nw translation], "is different from ciranda, resembles the
carimbo but is danced in a big circle."

46 The Projeto Pixinguinha is a cultural event created by the FUNARTE (Fundag~io Nacional de Arte National
Foundation for the Arts) in 1977. The event is named after the one of the most important Brazilian composers
Alfredo da Rocha Viana, nicknamed Pixinguinha, who died in 1973.

47Cangaceiros were outlaws of the Brazilian backlands. Besides, their criminal activity, they became associated
with xaxado, a music and dance tradition of the people of the interior.










the ensemble did not yet have a date set to perform it for the first time (Diario de
Pernamnbuco, 1990).

[ Em 1960, quando a TV foi inaugurada, comecei a former um conjunto devagarinho,
preparando a coreografia. Por essa epoca, ja tinha amizade com Luiz Gonzaga. Mostrei
para ele a coreografia do xaxado, e Gonzaga, que havia conhecido um bando de
cangaceiros em Exu, mostrou-me a danga aut~ntica. S6 que o conjunto ainda nio tinha data
certa pra estreia.]

While reading the book Seleta Bra~sileira, Coruj a found the name for his music and dance

ensemble, and soon the group started playing and performing the music and dance of xaxado, the

dance of the cangaceiros, as he referred to it [my translation]:

It was there [in the book Seleta Bra~sileira] that I found the dance of the Tangaras, from the
family of Chico Santo. Because I was known as Coruj a do Pandeiro, Amaurilio Niceias
baptized the group "Coruja e seus Tangaras." We started on Floriza Rossi's TV program,
"A Tarde e Nossa," and were a total hit! There were countless phone calls and cars in front
of the TV station. (Diciio de Pernamnbuco, 1990)

[Nela (na cartilha Seleta Bra~sileira) eu descobri a danga dos Tangaras da familiar de Chico
Santo. E Amaurilio Niceias batizou o grupo de Coruj a e seus Tangaras, jag que eu era o
Coruj a do Pandeiro. Estreamos no program de Floriza Rossi, A Tarde e Nossa. Sucesso
Total. Foram inumeros telefonemas e carros na frente da televisio.]

Although the traj ectory of the group was characterized by success, scant Einancial

resources characterized the group's existence. Nevertheless, Coruja's death in 1994 left a legacy

for the state of Pernambuco; his group, Coruja e seus Tangaras, was firmly established as one of

the best forro bands in Brazil. Formed by ten musicians and singers, all of them Coruja's sons,

they played tambourine, accordion, drums, zabumba, 48 electric piano, bass, guitar, sax and

triangle. In July of 1996, the band distributed their first CD, in which the members paid homage

to their father for having invested his entire life in promoting the culture of Pernambuco.

The life of this multi-talented popular artist illustrates his contribution to the formalization

of frevo by the creation of his performance ensembles as well as his own frevo school.


48 Zabumbas are large bass drums played with a stick and the hands, traditional of the interior of the Brazilian
Northeast.










Incorporating his background as a xaxado dancer characterized Coruja's unique way of

performing and teaching frevo. More research on his style of dancing frevo is necessary to prove

the influence of xaxado, a dance of the interior of the state, in today's urban frevo. However, his

importance in the formalization process is not restricted to the creation of his ensemble and of a

frevo school. Coruj a and Nascimento do Passo are mentioned by Andre Madureira, director of

the Bale Popular do Recife, who recognizes these two dancers as the main frevo teachers and

source of his research for his own dance company [my translation]: "The popular pa~ssista~s

Nascimento do Passo and Coruja were the ones who passed on the basic notions of frevo so that

the dancers of the Bale Popular do Recife could follow their own paths developing and creating

steps of their own" (Oliveira 1993, 151). [Foram os passistas populares Nascimento do Passo e

Coruj a os que transmitiram-lhes as noCies basicas para que os dangarinos do grupo seguissem

desenvolvendo e aperfeigoando os passes por conta pr6pria.]

The contribution of Nascimento do Passo and Coruj a in teaching the dancers from the Bale

Popular do Recife will be discussed in the following chapter as we trace the course of frevo from

the popular to the contemporary dance scene of Pernambuco. My field work in July 2006 in the

city of Recife will be used to illustrate the presence of these artists in the two distinct

interconnected frevo worlds of street and theatre in Pernambuco.


















OFICINA DE FREVO Prof. Nascimento do Passo
Os 10 Mandlamentos do Desenvolvimento da lei do Passo
Autor: Moestre Nascimento do Passo


Froevo Muisica. Pass: "A DANCA DO FREVO" e um exercicio para desenvolver
os sentidos.
1. Pass, Danga do Frevo desenvolve a visdo e auldgeo
2. A Danga do Froev desenvolve o tato e o patadar.
3 O Passo desenvolvei o olfata e o raciocinio.
4. Atravbs da Dangae do Frevo vooi! temn mran Integlo 16gica de realidade da vida.
5. Dangando a Frevo aprende-se a ter mais amor, mais carinho, rnais afeto.
6. Quem far o Passo, aprende a receber tudo com mais amor, mais afeto.
7 Quem Danga o Frevo desenvolve sabiamerite mais, multo mais o ajuste mental.
8. A Dange do Frevo e o Passo ajudam a despoluir. descongestionar e desobstruir
a mente de quem dangea Frevo.
9. Danger o Frevo dl vida longa. Aprender a danger frevo, e aprender a ter mais
energia.
FREVO NAO C CARNAVAL. FREVO C TERAPIA.

Rua Purpurina, no 428 Vila Madalena 800 PaulolSP
Teatro Brincantes Ant~nio Carios Nbbrega


Figure 3-1 The Ten Commandments of Frevo by Nascimento do Passo. Source: Nascimento do
Pass' s Booklet "Proj eto 50 Anos de Frevo no Pe." Photo courtesy of Juliana
Azoubel






























Figure 3-2 Passista Bruno Henrique performing a frevo step that for the people of Pernambuco
resembles a Russian dance. Photo courtesy of the Escola Municipal de Frevo Maestro
Fernando Borges


Figure 3-3 Capoeira outfits. Photo courtesy of the Quilombo Center in Chicago, IL






















Figure 3-4 Frevo costumes of today. Source: "Frevo." Conjunto de Frevo. Atlas Universal
Interativo. Colegio Recreio. Ed. Abril.
www.terrabrasileira .net/folclore/regioes/5ritmos/frevo. html


Figure 3-5 Maracatu Costumes. Source: "Maracatu de Baque Virado ou NaCgo." Dona Santa,
Rainha do Maracatu NaCgo Elefante. Source: Arquivo Katarina Real, Iconografia da
FJN. Rocha Lima, Claudia M. de Assis
http://www.fundaj .gov.br/notitia/serylet/newstorm.ns.presenainNvgto~rlt
publicationCode=1 6&pageCode=679&textCode=5 092



























Figure 3-6 Caboclinhos Costumes by Bale Popular do Recife. Source: Danga~s Populares
Bra~sileira~s. Photo by Romulo Fialdini


Figure 3-7 Nascimento do Passo wearing one of his frevo costumes. Source:
www. municipios. pe. gov.br/municipio/NascimentoPasso. asp






























Figure 3-8 Coruja. Source: Jornal do Comercio, 1883.









CHAPTER 4
FREVO TODAY: FROM THE POPULAR TO THE CONTEMPORARY

In Pernambuco and beyond, dancers and choreographers from diverse backgrounds are

staging frevo. Dance training, ideology and socio-economic conditions lead many dancers to

experiment with different types of dancing, thereby influencing the staging process of frevo. This

illustrates Nascimento do Passo's philosophy as well as the notion that individual expression is

the core element for choreographic innovations in frevo today.

In this chapter, I will illustrate the development of Nascimento do Passo's teaching

methods, and his philosophy of individual expression. I will emphasize his influence on Recife's

municipal frevo school (today Escola Municipal de Frevo Maestro Fernando Borges), the tension

between his philosophy and the one adopted by the school administrators of today and how that

tension has influenced the contemporary dance scene of Pernambuco. I chose to investigate the

methodology applied at this school, since I consider it an important site for the development of

frevo. It was there, when the school was still named Escola Municipal de Frevo, that Nascimento

do Pass officially started putting his method of teaching frevo into practice.

In July 2006, at the IV Mostra de Danga do Recife, a dance festival held in the Teatro do

Parque, I first watched the performance of the young dancers from the Escola Municipal de

Frevo Maestro Fernando Borges. In an attempt to analyze the staging process of Nascimento do

Pass' work, I planned to videotape the Escola Municipal de Frevo Maestro Fernando Borges'

performance and to speak with Nascimento do Passo, since I had not seen him since 1998. On

that evening, I watched "Recifervendo," a frevo piece that I never expected to see performed by

Nascimento do Passo's students.










In different sections of the piece, frevo movements were choreographed to slow frevo

music,49 which is by itself an innovation, and the dancers were placed in a structured stage

formation, incorporating a different movement vocabulary than the one used by Nascimento do

Pass. At the time, as I thought about Nascimento do Passo's methodology and the performance

style of his dancers, and I wondered about the reason behind the change I observed. Nascimento

do Pass never emphasized the synchronization of the dancers or their symmetrical placement on

stage, both important elements in "Recifervendo."SO It was not until the next day, when I visited

the frevo school and spoke with the new director Barbara Heliodora and the school

choreographer Alexandre Macido that I was informed that Nascimento do Passo was no longer

teaching there.

Object 4-1 Video of the piece "Recifervendo"(98,299kb, .mpg)

With the absence of Nascimento do Passo at the school my study took a new direction,

forcing me to compare past and present teaching of the school. The choreographer Alexandre

Macido had been a member of the Bale Popular do Recife and of the Bale Brincantes, two of the

local dance companies known for staging popular traditional dances in Pernambuco. His

participation in these groups explained the style of the piece performed on stage, since both

groups focused on staging popular traditional dances into theatre settings. On the day I visited

the school, I gathered information from an informal conversation with several of the young

performers I had watched in the dance festival. Frevo dancer Deyvson Vicente describes

Macido' s working method [my translation]:



49 "Recifervendo" was choreographed to Antinio N6brega' s version of the frevo Vassourinhas composed by Joana
Batista and Matias da Rocha in 1909. In this version, Vassourinhas is recorded as a waltz, played by the rabeca,
mixing erudite and popular culture.

"0 The piece "Recifervendo" was choreographed by Alexandre Mac~do, former choreographer of the BalC
Brincantes.










Alexandre [Macido] lets us improvise, but only during rehearsals. He tells us that we have
eight counts to work with, and each group creates a little piece; later he puts everything
together. In this way, I think he extracts the best out of each one of us. (Interview with
Deyvson Vicente Augustl8, 2006)

[Alexandre deixa a gente criar, mas s6 durante os ensaios. Ele diz pra a gente que a gente
tem oito tempos pra trabalhar, e cada grupo cria uma combinaCiozinha, depois ele junta
tudo. Dessa forma, eu acho que ele extrai o melhor de cada um.]

The freedom and ability to improvise and create during rehearsals, but not during

performances, distinguish Macido's choreographic philosophy from Nascimento do Passo's.

Heliodora attributed the change I had witnessed to the methods that are currently being taught at

the school: "What we do here is a street frevo that we make happen on stage." [O que a gente faz

aqui c o frevo de ma que a gente faz acontecer no palco]. Her statement revealed an eagerness to

make a distinction between "street frevo" and "stage frevo," a topic I decided to investigate

further.

Although she classified the frevo they performed as "street frevo," there was a deliberate

formalization of frevo in the piece. To what extent was frevo being modified in order to be

staged? Several elements showed the difference between the dancers of the Escola Municipal de

Frevo Maestro Fernando Borges of today and the dancers directed by Nascimento do Passo in

the past. In Nascimento do Passo's method, frevo dancers followed a specific routine during

class and rehearsals, but at the time of performance, they were free to create and improvise as

people do during Carnival. In Macido's, the opposite happened: during the choreographic

process, students were encouraged to improvise to create the only final product that was to be

performed on stage. Once set, the choreography was to be performed with minimal

improvisation.

When I attended a frevo class in the same school, I found Mestre Joho Pequeno (the oldest

capoeira master alive), and two other capoeirista~s watching the young frevo dancers. That was a










unique opportunity, not only to investigate the contemporary development of frevo as a formal

dance technique, but also to analyze the changes in frevo as compared to capoeira. Although

capoeira~s influenced the beginning of frevo, the two traditions, frevo and capoeira, have

followed different paths, and today are considered two distinct styles (capoeira also being

considered a combination of dance and martial art).

Mestre Joho Pequeno served as a living representation of the influence of capoeira in frevo.

As he watched the performance of frevo students and found himself acquainted with some of the

moves, he simplified the discussion stating [my translation], "capoeira and frevo are so much

alike, but we do not use the umbrella in capoeira." (Capoeira e frevo sho muito parecidos, mas a

gente nio usa a sombrinha na capoeira). Making the discussion of the topic much less important

than physical movement, upon my insistence, he moved to the music of frevo, showing his

spontaneity and familiarity with the vocabulary of the style and giving "kinesthetic explanations"

to many of my questions. This was, without a doubt, one of the most touching moments of my

research, as I witnessed a live example of almost a century of tradition.

Obj ect 4-2 Video of Mestre Joho Pequeno dancing frevo(10,257kb, .mpg)

Mestre Joho Pequeno is not alone in claiming the connection of both traditions. Following

Freyre, Valdemar de Oliveira Einds the spirit of capoeira in frevo [my translation]:

I Eind the spirit of capoeira... in what Gilberto Freyre has called "the physical and even
artistic expression of young virile energy." Without intending to discover in them the
unjustified and forgotten, reacting victoriously to the marginalization imposed by the
social environment, I am not able, in considering the pa~ssista~s [frevo dancers], to get rid of
the masculine figure of the capoeira... (Oliveira 1985, 100 -102)

[Encontro o espirito da capoeira... aquilo a que Gilbeto Freyre chamou "a expresso Hisica
e ate artistic da energia moga e virile." Sem neles pretender descobrir, apenas,
injustigados e esquecidos, reagindo vitoriosamente, a marginalizaCio imposta pelo meio
social, nio consigo ao considerar os passistas, desvencilhar-me da figure mascula do
Capoeira. ..]










Clearly, Freyre and Oliveira believed that an essential part of capoeira 's "masculinity"

carried over into frevo. Nascimento do Passo and other frevo dancers agree with that, in spite of

the fact that today frevo female dancers are more common than male dancers in Pernambuco. As

the style was formalized and taught in the dance schools, it became the emblem of professional

dance companies, and the male presence in the dance diminished. Although frevo continues to be

the pride of all people born in Pernambuco, the male presence in frevo often represents a small

part of a predominantly feminine universe, inhibiting males from taking frevo classes. For

instance, today, most middle-class teenagers attend capoeira classes as a sign of status and

masculinity, and while it is acceptable to dance frevo during Carnival, they would refuse to

attend formal frevo dance classes.

In my experience, when frevo solos are spontaneously performed during Carnival, they are

performed by professional dancers, or people who have been exposed to frevo as a dance

technique. However, it is rare to find a non professional performing intricate frevo steps,

although most men born in Pernambuco would claim to know how to dance frevo. Today,

contrary to capoeira, the intricacy of frevo steps is mostly associated with professional dancers

and not with common people on the streets.

Also inspired by the reaction of Mestre Joho Pequeno toward frevo, I analyzed the

formalization of frevo steps comparing that process with the creation of the capoeira schools in

Brazil (capoeira angola and capoeira regional). 5 According to Mago, a capoeirista from Recife,

today there are three styles of playing capoeira: capoeira angola, capoeira regional, and "stage

51In 1932, Manoel Machado, also known as mestre Bimba, opened the first Academia de capoeira in Bahia. His
new style, Capoeira Regional, was based on physical fitness and discipline, and was inspired by other fighting arts,
changing the movements of the traditional capoeira to a standing position. Vicente Pastinha, known as mestre
Pastinha, opened an academy in 1941 to preserve and teach the traditional form of capoeira, the Capoeira 4ngola,
which stressed the purity of the style, based in flexibility, strength, floor techniques and a special attitude called
malicia (malice or trickery).










capoeira."52 My experience working with capoeira Mestre Jelon Vieira53 at the University of

Florida, and in Bahia, has shown me part of the transformation of capoeira as it is staged.

The capoeira performed by the capoeirista~s of Master Jelon' s dance company, Dance

Brazil, represents a stage adaptation of capoeira regional, an example of the "stage capoeira" or

the "capoeira atual." The capoeirista~s who belong to more traditional groups in Brazil aim to

Eind their own way of playing, but the ones who are exposed to modern capoeira classes are

required to learn their masters' version of the formalization process capoeira has undergone. This

process in the modern capoeira classes is similar to the methodology applied in today's frevo

schools and constitutes one of the core elements of a staged frevo performance. The difference

between the styles taught in the Escola Municipal de Frevo Maestro Fernando Borges and the

style taught by Nascimento do Passo also illustrates a similar process.

Geared to a specific kind of audience, staged dance performance intends to fulfill certain

expectations, usually based on the dancers' technique and virtuosity. Alexandre Macido

summarized the difference between Nascimento do Passo's method and the new method applied

at the school [my translation]:

The type of work done by Nascimento do Passo was not intended to be staged. But since I
started teaching here [in the school], I began thinking about frevo as not only "street frevo"
but as "stage frevo." For "stage frevo" we need another vocabulary. Even in class, we think
a lot more about the body than he did, because I have a degree in physical education. Since
I started teaching here, there were certain things missing that I considered important. For
example, he had a warm up sequence, but I did not Eind that enough to prepare the
student' s body for the stage. (Interview with Alexandre Macido, July 16, 2006)

[O trabalho que Nascimento do Passo fez antes dagente nio tinha intenCho de palco. Mas
desde que eu comecei a ensinar aqui, eu comecei a pensar sobre frevo nio como um "frevo
de ma," e no "frevo de palco" a gente precisa outro vocabulario. Ate nas aulas a gente
pensa muito mais no corpo do que ele fazia, porque eu tenho formaCio em educaCgo fisica.

52In her Samba: Resistance in Motion (1995), Browning calls the modern capoeira, Capoeira 4tual.

53 Mestre Jelon Vieira is the founder of the Capoeira Brazil Foundation and the artistic director of Dance Brazil, a
contemporary dance company that has its movement vocabulary inspired in capoeira and Afro-Brazilian traditions.










Desde que eu comecei a ensinar aqui, eu sinto falta de algumas coisas que eu consider
important. Por exemplo, ele tinha uma sequincia de aquecimento, que eu nio achava
suficiente pra preparar o corpo do aluno para o palco]

Macido' s opinion reflects his recognition of the difference between the two

methodologies: the former prepared the students to dance frevo in the streets, and the latter

prepares the students to dance frevo on stage. However, considering Nascimento do Passo's

teaching philosophy, it is important to recognize that he always emphasized a difference between

his pedagogical methods, based in his street experience, from the frevo performed and staged for

tourists by popular dance companies in hotels, tourist events, and small improvised stages. One

of Nascimento do Passo's goals as he spread frevo was to make and maintain this distinction [my

translation] :

...the people from the tourist agencies always want to showcase us to the tourists, as if it
were Carnival. Outside of Pernambuco, people speak only about our Camnival. They do not
talk about the beauty of the dance [frevo]!i They do not mention that the dance [frevo] has a
method, that frevo is an art form, is energy, that it is something of Pernambuco. They say:
go pa~ssista, jump, jump, jump, jump!i They make the conductors, musicians and pa~ssista~s
crazy, asking us to pretend that it is Carnival, right there in the port. (Nascimento do Passo
cited by Oliveira 1993, cover page)

[...as pessoas das ag~ncias de turismo ficam querendo apresentar a gente pros turistas,
como se fosse Carnaval. S6 falam pro turista, la fora, do carnaval pemnambucano. Eles nio
falam da beleza da danga [frevo]!i Eles nio falam que a danga[frevo] tem uma didatica, que
a danga e uma arte, e energia, e pique, e coisa pernambucana. N~o falam disso nio.
Quando v~m aqui e: Vai, passista, pula, pula, pula, pula! E agonia os maestros, os musicos,
agonia os passistas querendo que a gente faga aquela encenaCio, que finja que e Camaval,
ali no Porto.]

Besides the difference encountered between Nascimento do Passo's method and Macido's

choreographic approach, several different styles exist in Pernambuco's dance companies.

Heliodora mentioned the importance of individual expression and innovation within the tradition

as she stated [my translation]:

Each person has a different style, since frevo was never really codified. Nobody ever said
that frevo has a certain number of steps, as in other dances like classical ballet. Frevo is










something that is being created every day; every day a new step is created; our students,
for example, create new steps every day. (Interview with Barbara Heliodora Julyl16, 2006)

[Cada pessoa tem um estilo diferente, ja que o frevo nio foi realmente codificado.
Ninguem nunca disse que frevo tinha uma quantidade "x" de passes como em outras
dangas como o bale classico. Frevo e algo que ta sendo criado todo dia, todo dia um pass
novo e criado; nossos alunos por exemplo, eles criam passes novos todos os dias.]

According to Heliodora, the new technique emphasizes improvisational skills and the

individual expression of frevo dancers. Using terminology common to capoeira, Mago stated,

"It' s all about one' s body, some people dance a more traditional frevo, with more swing, more

ginga, more malicia. 54 But while Heliodora states that, some people think that what the school is

doing now is not frevo. Heliodora explained that Nascimento do Passo's frevo and the new frevo

of the school differ in teaching style, and in the preparation of the students' body prior to dancing

frevo [my translation]:

It is the same frevo, but now we are more careful, we do half an hour of stretching before
each class, so they do not hurt their j points. Before, there was nothing like this; they started
with frevo and danced frevo throughout the class. But frevo is something that requires a lot
of work from one' s body; if one does not stretch before class, the knees will be damaged.
Don't you think? (Interview with Barbara Heliodora, Julyl6, 2006)

[E o mesmo frevo, mas agora a gente ta, a gente tem meia hora de alongamento antes de
cada aula, pra que as articulaC5es nio doam. Antes, nio tinha nada disso, eles comegavam
com frevo e dangavam frevo a aula toda. Mas frevo e um neg6cio que requer muito
trabalho do corpo, se a pessoa nio along antes da aula, 0 joelho vai ser prejudicado. Voc6
nio acha?]

In Nascimento do Passo' s teaching, the first part of the class is used for relaxation and

stretching, but his background as a street dancer led him to view frevo steps as ideal for warming

up, instead of using specific stretching exercises. However, according to the new director, using

only the frevo steps is not enough to prepare the dancers for their performances [my translation]:

"Especially if you intend to perform in dance festivals, you need to be ready to dance 'the stage

54 The Portuguese word malicia does not translate to the word "malice," but refers to the ability to fool to psychh
out" and mentally disarm an opponent, just as slaves fooled their masters. It is an important part of the capoeira
angola 's philosophy, which teaches the student to be on guard and to be ready for fighting.










frevo,' which requires a lot more work." (Especialmente se voc6 pretend dangar em festival de

danga, tem que estar pronto pra dangar o frevo de palco, que requer muito mais trabalho). Once

more, Heliodora was borrowing concepts from the teaching methods of formal dance training

present in modem dance.

Since modern dance has established itself as a dance technique, the concern for proper

warm up of the dancer' s body has been widely spread, especially since most of the modem

dancers and choreographers come from classical ballet-structured routines. Professional modern

dancers have learned ways to warm up their bodies according to the needs of the stage. The

repetition and execution of certain movements which usually fits much more the demands of

the choreographer than the dancers themselves require the dancers' body to be ready to

execute them. Most modern and contemporary teachers and choreographers have developed their

own way to warm up the dancers' bodies based on their own teaching approach.

According to Heliodora, the stage frevo that is performed in theatres and dance festivals is

geared towards a specific audience at a specific event, whereas the "street frevo" is performed

during Camnival by the "povo."55 Therefore a formal warm up would not be necessary.

Considering this distinction, Nascimento do Passo's frevo would fall in between these two

categories. He has always been a firm believer in the formalization of the style, and thought a

warm-up sequence to be necessary for his dancers. However, because of his experience as a

street dancer and his lack of knowledge of modem dance, he never believed that a dancer must

perform a certain sequence other than frevo steps to be ready to dance frevo. For Nascimento do

Pass, frevo itself, when taught through his method, was enough to prepare the dancers to

perform .


55 The word "povo" is used here to describe the people who are enjoying Carnival, who do not have any dance
training, including tourists.










The capoeirista Mago mentioned a frevo dancer from Recife, Luciano, who currently

works with the nationally known musician/dancer Ant8nio N6brega and performs a type of frevo

that reminds him of capoeira. Raising the question of authenticity, Mago described that particular

dancer' s style as a "more authentic frevo." What is considered an "authentic frevo?" How can

"street frevo" be separated from "stage frevo," and based on this division, in which category can

Nascimento do Passo' s frevo be placed? How has the codification of frevo steps contributed to

this distinction?

When the popular artists Nascimento do Passo and Coruj a created schools or performed

frevo, they became pioneers in the codiaication of frevo steps and planted the first seeds for the

staging of frevo. In addition to their contribution to the formalization of frevo, Nascimento do

Pass and Coruj a also participated in one of the first attempts to stage popular dance in

Pernambuco indirectly in the M~ovimento Armorial thereby contributing to the idea of

"authentic frevo" which spread throughout the population. Nascimento do Passo and Coruj a

taught the first steps of frevo to the Bale Popular Recife, the popular dance company which was

created as a result of the M~ovimento Armorial, and first staged popular dance in Pernambuco.

Movimento Armorial and Frevo

The M~ovimento Armorial had its first involvement with dance through the creation of the

Armorial Bale in 1977. Suassuna asked Andre Madureira to create a dance group to preserve the

popular dance traditions of the Northeast. This group was first named Grupo Circense de Danga

Popular and later Bale Popular do Recife (Recife Popular Ballet). According to director

Madureira, Suassuna never considered the Bale Popular do Recife genuinely Armorial. However,

it is imperative to recognize its contribution to the process of staging popular traditions,

including frevo.










To date, the Bale Popular do Recife has cataloged more than 500 dance steps, besides

creating new movements, as a way to preserve, spread, and document the northeastern popular

dance traditions. The group has its own movement vocabulary and has inspired the founding of

other professional dance companies, including the Maracatu NaCgo Pernambuco, Companhia

Trapia de Danga, Bale Brincantes, Companhia Traj etos, and Companhia de Arte da Cidade Alta

de Olinda.

With the help of the dancer Walmir Chagas, who drew pictures and created names for

dance steps, Madureira documented the dance steps found in several folk traditions of the

Northeast. Among others traditions such as the bumba-meu-boi, maracatu, caboclinhos, coco,

xaxado, and ciranda, the frevo was studied and then taught to the first generation of the Bale

Popular do Recife. The steps found in these traditions are vast and diverse, and tend to be linked

to a specific ethnic group that performs the traditions. As such, the steps have become

representative of these ethnic groups. For instance, the steps of maracatu strongly represent

Afro-Brazilian influence in Pernambuco, whereas the steps of caboclinhos represent indigenous

heritage.

In the case of the Bale Popular do Recife' s research, the dancers found that by mixing two

steps of one tradition they could create a third step that they taught to other dancers. The fusion

of these steps was innovative and contributed to the unique dance vocabulary found in the

performances of the Bale Popular do Recife. Madureira has stated: "This is the reason why if you

compare the steps of bumba-meu-boi56 that the Bale [Bale Popular do Recife] performs today

with those of the traditional bumba-meu-boi, you will notice a great difference" (Oliveira de

1993, 151) [Essa e a razio pela qual se voc6 comparar os passes do bumba-meu-boi que o Bale


56 The bumba-meu-boi was one of the first Northeastern popular traditions staged by the BalC Popular do Recife.










(Bale Popular do Recife) danga hoje com os passes do bunaba-nzeu-boi autintico voc6 vai notar

uma grande diferenga.]

This hybridity has always been an important element in frevo, since traditionally frevo

tends to combine elements from different ethnic groups. The dancers of the Bale Popular do

Recife concluded that frevo was the most all-encompassing of all the dances, not only due to the

plasticity of each movement, but because the steps of frevo combined characteristics of other

traditions. I would argue that other factors also made frevo the key dance style in the movement

vocabulary and in shaping the performances and the physical preparation of the dancers from the

Bale Popular do Recife. For instance, the origins of the Bale Popular do Recife as a dance

group developed by middle class artists from the urban center of Recife.

At the time of the founding of the dance company, frevo was a familiar style to the

dancers, much so than any other popular tradition, sure they were familiar with it from Carnival.

They were already "inside" the tradition by the time the company was established. Other popular

dances, on the contrary, were located far from their range of experience. In order to learn the

steps of the nzaracatu, for example, the dancers had to travel to the outlying areas of Recife,

where this tradition was practiced. Their unfamiliarity with the dance vocabulary found in

nzaracatu, in contrast to their familiarity with frevo, most likely influenced their decision to use

frevo as the core dance style for their training.

The non-religious and non-ethnic association of frevo may also have facilitated that

process. There is no affiliation with religious beliefs in the staging of frevo. This also facilitates

the understanding and teaching of that tradition. The staging of other traditions are often

associated with a religious or ethnic group, often requiring permission on the part of the people










involved to stage them. For example, many choreographers have been criticized for staging the

dances associated with the Afro-Brazilian practice of candonable. 5

Several popular traditions are performed using a combination of dance, music and drama,

such as bunaba-nzeu-boi and the cavalo nzarinho, therefore requiring knowledge outside of

Recife's popular dances. While the Bale Popular also staged these traditions, in this company,

dancers were taught through the method of cataloguing steps and exploring the main ideas of

these traditions, instead of their individual storylines or dramatic features. The method of

cataloguing steps was also based on Nascimento do Passo and Coruj a' s way of teaching frevo,

who named and taught frevo steps and taught them to the Bale Popular do Recife.

However, the frevo staged by the Bale Popular do Recife has characteristics of its own, and

according to the director Andre Madureira, it is adapted from the dance lessons he took with

Nascimento do Passo and Coruj a. After learning the basic steps, he adapted them to the style he

was creating for his company, a style also influenced by combining elements from many other

popular traditions. Speaking about the importance of frevo for the Bale Popular do Recife,

Madureira states [my translation]:

The vocabulary of frevo, when talking about steps, is the most complete.... So today in
frevo we have, not counting new inventions and the variations of the steps, some 90 steps.
Actually, frevo has always been the strength of the Bale Popular do Recife. The Bale
always tried to develop its technique based on frevo. Also, the rhythm is very catchy, very
exciting, for both the dancers and the audience. So, it is clearly a theatrical trick to finish
our show with frevo. (Madureira, cited in Oliveira 1993, 151-152)

[O manancial de Frevo em relaCio a passes, ele e o mais completo... Entio hoj e, no frevo,
a gente tem, fora as recriaC5es e as variaCges dos passes, a gente tem noventa passes de
frevo. Quer dizer, e depois, o frevo sempre foi o forte do Bale. O Bale sempre procurou
desenvolver a sua tecnica de danga em cima do frevo. E depois o ritmo, ele e muito



57 Candombl6 is a religious practice that developed specially in Pernambuco and Bahia with West African belief
system involving a pantheon of deities (orixis and voduns), mostly associated with nature gods, resembling Santeria
in Cuba.









involvente, muito empolgante, tanto pra quem danga como pra quem assisted. Entio ja e
uma artimanha cinica, terminar o espetaculo com o frevo.]

By acknowledging the strong influence of frevo as a technique in the Bale Popular do

Recife and the group's influence on other popular dance companies, it is safe to recognize the

enormous influence of frevo on the dance scene of Pernambuco. My research into the state' s

contemporary dance scene reinforces this influence. Contemporary dance companies feature

dancers experienced in the popular dance traditions of Pernambuco, many of them former

members of the Bale Popular do Recife. For this reason, these dancers tend to incorporate frevo

steps in their movement either consciously or unconsciously. As examples of this transition from

the streets to the stage, and the frevo influence on the contemporary dance scene, I examined two

dance groups: the Bale Brasilica, a dance company best known as the youth ensemble of the Bale

Popular do Recife, and the dance company of the Escola Municipal de Frevo Maestro Fernando

Borges, originally the Escola Municipal de Frevo, founded by Nascimento do Passo.

BalC Brasilica: Transforming Popular Dance

Most of the popular dance companies in Pernambuco were founded by former members of

the Bale Popular do Recife, and they tend to follow the same pedagogical model established by

that company. An offshoot of the Bale Popular do Recife, the Bale Brasilica, was founded on

September 27, 1991 with the show O Baile do M~enino Deus (The Baby Jesus Ball). At the time,

the group was formed by dancers from 12 to 19 years of age, who aspired to become professional

dancers in the Bale Popular do Recife. The group has presented many shows in and out of

Pernambuco, including the remake of the Bale Popular do Recife show, Oh! Linda Olinda (Oh

Beautiful Olinda), in 1992; the show of celebration of 15 years of a Bale Popular do Recife, O

Romance da Nau Catarineta (The Romance of the Nau Catarineta); and the show As Presepada~s

do Dr. M~unganga (The Tricks of Dr. Munganga), which opened in 1993. Originally envisaged as










an amateur group associated with and dependent on the Bale Popular do Recife, in 2002 the Bale

Brasilica became an independent group and began to be included in the professional dance

world.

The group started with the creation of a dance method to teach northeastern popular dance

traditions to students aspiring to become professional dancers. This method was first developed

by members of the Bale Popular do Recife in their attempt to enact typical folkloric expressions,

such as the reisado, caboclinhos, fCrevo, maracatu, bumba-meu-boi, 5 etc, for their movement

vocabulary for new shows. The method consists of fusing of all these dances and adapting the

steps to fit the demands of the stage. Similar to the Bale Popular do Recife, this group

emphasizes frevo as its core dance for the learning of other dance styles. Frevo is present in

almost every class of the Bale Brasilica, and is often combined with one or two other styles of

northeastern popular traditions.

Directed by the dancer Deca Madureira, one of the sons of the Bale Popular do Recife' s

director, the Bale Brasilica differed from the Bale Popular do Recife in its dance philosophy. The

Bale Popular do Recife gears its methodology towards staging popular dance traditions for

tourist performances by codifying traditional dances. Breaking from that model, the Bale

Brasilica focuses on interpreting popular dance traditions by mixing them with contemporary

dance practices. This is evident from the way dance classes were taught, including the warm up

-- in which I taught PilateS59 and contemporary dance techniques, and another dancer, Breno

taught yoga. Looking back to those days, I find it ironic that for the dancers, including myself,



58Reisado, caboclinhos and maracatu are Northeastern popular traditions that are linked to religious and identity
expressions.
59 Pilates is a system of body stretching and strengthening that has been widely used in the dancer's world to prepare
dancers for the demands of the stage, prevent injuries and rehabilitating dancers' body.










things "just happened" that way, contemporary ideas were just blended with traditional dance, in

a process similar to the way people made frevo steps "just happen" in the streets.

According to Deca, the Bale Brasilica needed to be different from the Bale Popular do

Recife in order to Eind its place in the dance scene of Pernambuco. As he informed me [my

translation], "People are tired of seeing the same thing over and over" [referring to the shows of

the Bale Popular do Recife] (As pessoas estio cansadas de ver as mesmas coisas sempre.) His

statement reflected a concern for Einding a place in the j ob market, and his ideology toward

innovation was that the Bale Popular do Recife had established itself by codifying the steps of

northeastern popular traditions and that the Bale Brasilica needed to break away from that model.

Similar to the Bale Popular do Recife, the Bale Brasilica had two main target audiences:

tourist events, and shows in theatres. However, by 2002, tourist events had diminished due to the

country's precarious economic situation. According to Deca, "Before, the Bale Brasilica used to

be much more sought after," (Antigamente o Bale Brasilica era muito mais procurado), since

theatrical events made efforts to showcase contemporary dance companies that were newly

established. The Bale Brasilica attempted to mix both worlds of contemporary and popular dance

traditions with the intent of increasing its dancers' marketability.

For as much as the new philosophy helped the group achieve success, the lack of payment

by theatre producers often stopped rehearsals. The Einancial struggle made difficult for the group

to establish itself in the dance scene of the state, since most of its members came from poor

Financial background, and when they were not paid for a show, the next set of rehearsals lost half

of the cast, or the show was cancelled outright. Most of the dancers lived far from rehearsal

space, which made transportation an issue. These financial issues made it impossible for the

dancers to dedicate themselves to the professional demands of the Bale Brasilica.










When I visited Recife in 2006, Deca had moved to Sho Paulo, following his brother

Angelo Madureira, who, along with his partner, Ana Catarina Vieira, had founded the Escola

Brasilica de Sho Paulo.60 In Recife, the Bale Brasilica is still active, but under different direction

and a different approach. However, the pioneering nature of this group should be recognized.

The Bale Brasilica made one of the first attempts to blend popular and contemporary dance to

create a new teaching method and movement aesthetic. This new method influenced the dance

scene of Pernambuco, transforming the philosophy of many other dance schools, companies, and

choreographers, seen clearly in the approach taken by the directors of the Escola Municipal de

Frevo Maestro Fernando Borges.

The Escola Municipal de Frevo Maestro Fernando Borges Today

It is impossible to ignore the political dimensions of theatre and dance. As frevo is being

staged and consolidated as a method, the support (or lack of support in most cases), of

governmental authorities determine the path followed by artists. In the specific case of today's

frevo, the constant struggle for financial support has shaped the way frevo has developed. As

Oliveira has stated in her analysis of the transformation of the popular dance styles to stage

shows in Pernambuco, it is important to consider that [my translation]:

The theatrical approach of dance has at least two dimensions: one is aesthetic and the other
is political, and they are closely connected. The political dimension of dance spectacles is
clearly revealed by the strength and conviction of the dancers who want to be professional,
and are able to overcome all obstacles to realize their goal. (Oliveira 1993, 190)

[As realizaC5es cinicas de danga t~m pelo menos duas dimensies: uma estetica e outra
political, que existem intimamente relacionadas. A dimensio political dos espetaculos de
danga tambem se revela do impeto e da garra dos dangarinos que querem e conseguem
superar tantos obstaculos para a plena realizaCgo dos mesmos.]




60 The Escola Brasilica de S~io Paulo has taken as its source of inspiration the method Brasilica of the BalC Brasilica
do Recife.









The Escola Municipal de Frevo was founded on March 6, 1996 by Nascimento do Passo,

but by 1999 the school had its name changed by the government to Escola Municipal de Frevo

Maestro Fernando Borges. Since the date of its foundation, the school has contributed to social

inclusion of the underprivileged through dance by training hundreds of frevo dancers each year.

Today, the school holds free frevo classes for more than 300 students a year, and sponsors a

dance company formed by its 30 best students between the ages of 13 and 25. When Nascimento

do Pass stopped teaching in 2003, the school has since been run by the municipal government;

its employee Barbara Heliodora directs the school, and choreographer Alexandre Mac~do, also

employed by the municipal government, is responsible for the frevo classes and the dance

company choreography.

When I visited the school, the informal interviews and my participation in frevo classes

contributed to my understanding of the philosophical ideals held by the school director and

choreographer. They were following rules imposed by the city government, which justified the

new methodology applied as part of their administration. At the same time, Nascimento do

Pass' teaching techniques continue to influence the students and the way they think about

frevo. Despite his influence on dancers' technique, the school methodology is now more geared

toward contemporary ideas, which added another element for my investigation.

As seen on stages and in other formal dance settings in Pernambuco this frevo school

has been transformed into a common ground for research to trace the development of frevo. Yet,

there is a tension between frevo teachers and choreographers, since formalization pulls frevo in

one direction, toward European training and aesthetics, and its historical roots pull it to another,

to its Afro-Brazilian heritage.










During my second visit, I fi1med and interviewed several students in a class in which I

participated. During class, about 11 dancers between six and eighteen years of age performed

frevo steps. They had no hesitation in showing their expertise, even in front of the camera. The

dancers' joy was contagious, and their spontaneity became an inspiration to my work.

After class was over, they questioned why I was there and why I wanted to videotape

them. When I explained the reasons for my visit, they spontaneously volunteered to speak, which

made the interview process much easier than I had anticipated. I had purposely not formulated

any specific questions that day. I wanted to hear what they had to say about frevo; I wanted their

spontaneity to lead our discussion in a manner similar to the way frevo performances unfold.

While they showed a great deal of pride in their knowledge, they respected me as their teacher,

which reminded me of Nascimento do Passo's philosophy, since I am older than they are, and

Nascimento do Passo always stressed the hierarchy of age in the dance world.

I was acutely aware of the precarious Einancial condition in which they lived, since I knew

that the school was funded by the city government and most of these young dancers were living

in the slums surrounding it. During the interviews I asked about their future, questioning their

thoughts and desire about becoming professional dancers. They soon corrected me saying,

"Dancers no, pa~ssista~s," as they emphasized the difference the title made in their lives. As

Nascimento do Passo always insisted they attended frevo classes to become pa~ssistas, a' not to

become any other kind of professional dancer. They also demonstrated their eagerness to teach

and spread frevo (Figure 4-1).

However, due to Pernambuco's socio-economic reality, the difficulty of surviving as a

popular dancer is only equal to the difficulty of surviving as a frevo dancer, especially

61 In this case, the word passista is referring to someone who is highly trained in the frevo technique, someone who
masters all frevo steps, as the word capoeirista defines the capoeira player.










considering that the audiences for frevo performances tend to be limited to Carnival or the

seasonal tourist industry. Their passion led them to specialize in frevo, but encouraged by

teachers, choreographers, and the mentality present in the dance scene of today, they believed

that mastering a diversity of styles could help their dance technique, improve their frevo

performance and their j ob prospects. Thus, while they saw themselves mainly as pa~ssista~s, they

were pragmatic about their need for mastering diverse styles (Figure 4-2).

Their statements reflected the new philosophy that has emerged since Nascimento do

Pass left the school. The idea of constructing this new technique for stage performances, plus

increased exposure to dance festivals has motivated students to seek out different dance styles.

As Bruno Henrique stated [my translation], "As dancers we should learn not only frevo but other

dance styles of our culture such as maracatu, coco, caboclinhos, as well as jazz, ballet, and

contemporary dance." [Como dangarinos n6s temos que aprender nio so o frevo mas outras

dangas da nossa cultural como maracatu, coco, caboclinhos, como tambem jazz, ballet e danga

contemporinea]. In addition to the demands of entering the job market, the cultural diversity

characteristic of Pernambuco seemed to raise dancers' interest in increasing their dance

vocabulary. Another dancer, Werison Fidelis stated [my translation]:

In particular, I love classical ballet and contemporary dance, and it is hard to say which one
I like best. When somebody asks which style I like the most, I prefer to say that I have lots
of sons and daughters, and as a father I can not say which one I like best.

[Particularmente, eu amo ballet classico, contemporineo, ee~ difieil dizer qual o que eu
gosto mais. Quando alguem pergunta, de que estilo eu gosto mais, eu prefiro dizer que eu
tenho um monte de HIlhos e HIlhas, e como pai eu nio posso dizer de qual eu gosto mais.]

The perspectives of these young pa~ssista~s, Bruno Henrique and Werison Fidelis, guided

my investigation into the elements that constitute stage frevo. While assessing how much other

styles have affected or changed frevo, Bruno Henrique also stated [my translation]:










It is not a question of change; they [the other styles of dancing] help. Because during the
time of Nascimento do Passo, the frevo he taught was purely improvised. But since today
we are members of the school's dance company, we dance in theatres, not only in the
streets.... Because people think that frevo is something danced in a crowd, but that is not
entirely right, frevo can be choreographed. And since we dance on stage, we need the
posture that only ballet and j azz can give us, especially since we are all so loose (as he
drops his shoulders down).

[N~o e uma questio de mudar, eles [os outros estilos de danga] ajudam. Porque no tempo
de Nascimento do Passo, o frevo que ele ensinava era muito solto. Mas ja que hoje n6s
somos membros da companhia de danga da escola, a gente danga em teatros, nio nas
ruas... porque as pessoas pensam que frevo e s6 aquela multidio, mas nio, frevo pode ser
coreografado. E ja que a gente danga no palco, a gente precisa da postura que s6 o ballet
classico e o jazz pode dar pra a gente, especialmente ja que a gente e assim tio solto (ao
mexer com os ombros).]

Bruno Henrique's understanding was contrary to the freedom emphasized by Nascimento

do Pass' methodology. For this young dancer, performing with a more upright trained posture

was a pre-requisite for the stage (Figure 4-3). In his comments, he favored European ballet

aesthetics over local tradition, which is based more on Afro-Brazilian aesthetics. Frevo is being

shaped by the concepts of beauty and aesthetic structures emphasized in the ballet world. The

African origins and influence on the style are subtly being denied even by the frevo dancers of

Pernambuco.

The constant influence of other dance styles may have contributed to the development of

these dancers' technique towards a contemporary direction. The performance of Werison

Fidelis's piece in the IV Mostra de Danga do Recife, and his acquaintance with contemporary

dance concepts illustrate this development. In the festival, Werison performed with a chair as a

prop. His piece may have suffered for lack of originality, had Werison Fidelis not surprised the

audience with the virtuosity of his performance. When asked about his acquaintance with the

contemporary dance world, Werison proudly told me [my translation]:

I started as a pa~ssista, but the Escola Municipal de Frevo Maestro Fernando Borges opened
my eyes, showed me that there are many ways to go, such as classical ballet, contemporary
dance, jazz, etc... That is when I decided to go to the Bale Bolshoi. They asked me for a









video of a dance piece. It could have been something I had performed before, but I decided
to create something new, and that was when I created the "chair dance." I sent it [the video
of the piece] there [to the dance festival], they selected me, and that was it.

[Eu comecei como passista, mas a Escola Municipal de Frevo Maestro Fernando Borges
abriu meus olhos, me mostrou que tem muitos caminhos pra ir, como ballet classico,
contemportineo, jazz, etc... Foi quando eu decidi ir pro Ballet Bolshoi. Eles me pediram um
video de uma coreografia. Podia ter sido qualquer coisa que eu jag tivesse dangado antes,
mas eu decidi criar uma coisa nova, foi quando eu criei a "danga da cadeira". Eu mandei
pra la (IV Mostra de Danga do Recife), eles me selecionaram, e foi isso.]

Werison explained that his intention in that piece was to show the audience that a dancer is

not limited to the stage [my translation]: "Sometimes people think that dancing in the theatre

really means just dancing in the theatre, on that dance floor. I wanted to show that it can be

different, that the stage is only an extension of the creativity of each dancer, each

choreographer." (As vezes as pessoas pensam que dangar no teatro realmente significa dangar

no teatro, no linbleo. Eu queria mostrar que e diferente, que o palco e s6, uma extensio da

criatividade do bailarino, do core6grafo.) Werison Fidelis's piece exemplifies a contemporary

way of working with props. The use he makes of the chair and the technical strength he shows in

his dancing adds another face to the contemporary dance scene.

However, I believe his ability could have resulted from his training as a frevo dancer and

his practice using the frevo umbrella. After watching the performance and interviewing Werison,

I concluded that his piece is an example of the constant exchange of dance styles present in

Pernambuco's current dance scene. On the one hand, dancers are being trained and influenced

by the popular traditions of the state, and end up j oining the contemporary dance scene (as in the

case of Werison); on the other, popular dance traditions are being influenced by contemporary

ideas (as in the staging of frevo and the different performances of dancers trained in

contemporary technique).









Hundreds of dancers circulate from the popular to the formal and to contemporary dance

training on a daily basis in Pemambuco as Werison Fidelis does. The pa~ssista~s of the past are

now the contemporary dancers of the present. Their dance training, comprising the conscious or

unconscious blending of frevo with other dance techniques, serves as the foundation for a hybrid

style of dance technique that Pernambuco is exporting to the world, allowing frevo to cross

boundaries and to go beyond its local folkloric roots and regional expression.

The Contemporary Dance Scene: Frevo Beyond its Folkloric Expression

The insistence by "traditionalist" dancers and choreographers on separating the popular

and contemporary dance of frevo does not stop the theatres and streets of Pernambuco from

functioning as melting pots for these dance styles. The celebration of 100 years of frevo also

symbolizes the establishment of a new mentality toward dance in Pemambuco. While schools,

popular dance companies, the media, and official institutions celebrate the frevo centennial based

on the idea of an "authentic frevo," the contemporary dance scene approaches the celebration

differently. It breaks away from the cliches that have surrounded the subject and explores new

forms of staging the tradition.

Since I started to write this work in February 2007, the month and year of the official

anniversary of frevo, numerous dance shows have been breaking away from the "authentic"

frevo. Throughout the state, several issues are relevant to the analysis of frevo as a dance style. It

would be impossible to investigate all of Pemambuco' s dance companies and choreographers

who have created works based on the renewed interest in frevo. For the purpose of this study,

the electronic material available guided my investigation. The article "Uma Investigagio Sobre o

Frevo," by Recife-based dancer and j ournalist Valeria Vicente caught my attention, providing the

focus of my investigation. Vicente has stated [my translation]:









The issued surrounding the use of popular dance or social dance in the contemporary dance
scene is one of the subj ects that has been haunting me. Maybe because in Recife, where I
was raised, a great variety of these dances are performed all year long in the everyday
course of public events; or perhaps because I have been noticing that the information
provided by these dances constitutes part of my own body language such that ignoring
them will not allow them to go away.... (Vicente 2006)

[A questio do uso das dangas populares ou dangas socials na cena de danga contemporinea
e um desses assuntos que me perseguem. Talvez porque no Recife, onde me criei, uma
grande variedade dessas dangas se reveza durante o ano no cotidiano dos events putblicos;
talvez porque venho percebendo que as informagies dessas dangas compiem minha
corporalidade de tal forma que ignora-las nio as retira da cena...]

Like many dancers from Pernambuco, Valeria Vicente first trained in popular dances and

then, by being exposed to contemporary dance, finds herself reflecting on the influence of

popular dance in her dance vocabulary. Along with other five dancers Leda Santos, Calixto

Neto, Marcelo Sena, lane Costa, and Jaffis Nascimento (Nascimento do Passo's son) Vicente

researched frevo and concluded that it has a specific body language that profoundly contributes

to the creation of movements in contemporary dance pieces. These dancers have observed that

the process of staging frevo in Recife has been characterized by synchronizing movements and

the use of traditional stage settings (dancers positioned toward the audience and rarely

demonstrating movement innovations).


These formally trained dancers view frevo and its large repertoire of steps, body dynamics

and individual creation, as sources of inspiration. And through their choreography, they have

created different movements in which they shift their body weight by moving naturally and

allowing the steps to happen as a consequence of natural movement. This research in the

mechanics of body movement is intended to show that frevo and its body language constitutes a

unique dance style, since it combines several techniques, thereby creating cultural and social

legacy. As Jaffis Nascimento says in the same article, "Frevo is the plasticity of Pernambuco,"

referring to the way the dance became a cultural symbol for the state and defines its people.









This new generation of dancers (many of them former frevo dancers) view frevo as

something that goes beyond its folkloric expression, representative of an artistic legacy, and

technique in constant development. When speaking about the pedagogy surrounding the frevo

dance style, Vicente stated [my translation]:

The pedagogical organization of the teaching of frevo was structured through cataloguing
steps, baptizing and defining their form. Therefore, frevo is learned through its basic steps:
ponta-de-pd-calcanhar, tesoura, saci-pererd, trocadilho... Considering that teaching
method influences the perception of the dance, and its forms of scenic approach, it is of
interest to note that the division of frevo into steps was a specific choice, and although
anchored in many social aspects, as seen in the facts of its context of the origin and
development this approach should not be the only one to determine it. Dividing frevo
into steps is just one way of comprehending it, but we cannot avoid noticing that this way
of approaching the tradition is linked to a specific socio-political view of frevo. (Vicente
2006)

[Tambem a organizaCgo pedag6gica do ensino do Frevo foi estruturada atraves da
catalogagio de passes, batizados e definidos em sua forma. Assim, aprende-se Frevo
atraves de seus passes basicos: ponta-de-pd-calca~nhar, tesoura, saci-pererd, trocadilho...
Pensando que a forma de transmissio indica percepCies sobre a danga e formas de
abordagens cinicas, talvez seja interessante notar que a divisio do Frevo em passes foi
uma opCpo e, apesar de ancorada em varios aspects, fats e situaCges do surgimento e
desenvolvimento do Frevo, essa abordagem nio precisa ser vista como a unica ou a que
define melhor o que ele e. A divisio do frevo em passes e apenas uma das formas de
compreendd-lo; e nio podemos deixar de notar que a forma de abordar o movimento esta
ligada a pensamentos norteadores.]

Another part of this research focuses on the relationship between frevo and violence. How

are we to understand the origin of frevo, knowing that its elements, once characterized by

violence and social struggle, have now become symbols of joy and virtuosity? Vicente argues

that one possible approach to the subj ect is to return to the past and recognize the Afro-Brazilian

influence in the body movement of the frevo dancer. The article suggests that [my translation],

"One way of Einding the real origin of frevo was to 'desembranquec6-lo, [to exclude its white

elements], in order to temporarily escape from the transformations caused by its stylization for

the stage or from the attempts to make it beautiful according to European aesthetics." Vicente

and this group of dancers believed that when frevo was staged [my translation]:










...it became easier to perform, and as we see ourselves dancing we realize that it was the
'white Iberian' eye, with its traditional perception of beauty, that made frevo danced in a
more upright position, with closed legs, with less 'ginga' and less 'malicia,' and, when
performed on stage, to be more synchronized. (Vicente, 2006)

[...ficou mais facil danga-lo. E ao nos vermos dangar, pudemos ver que foi o olhar branco-
iberico e uma percepCio classica do belo, que deixou o frevo mais ereto, com pernas
fechadas, com menos ginga e malicia, padronizado, e em sua execugho no palco,
sincronizado.]

This ideology of authenticity linked to racial identity recognizes two different types of

frevo, one frevo linked to the Afro-Brazilian heritage, performed more spontaneously, with less

rigid movements, and another performed more upright, in a more synchronized way, following

stage structures that would fit European concepts of beauty. However, by returning to the roots

of frevo, we have a different interpretation of the process of formalization which took place

whenever frevo was staged or taught in schools as a formal dance technique. This historical

perception recognizes the presence of the Afro-Brazilian heritage in the origin of the style, since

it brings a different understanding of the process of formalization. Instead of preserving frevo,

the staging process can be considered a negation of its roots, because it imposes European ideas

of formalization.

Here the dancers/choreographers justify ideas about authenticity in the investigation of the

historical roots of frevo movements, which they envision as related to social struggle, not only to

the African-based aesthetic. Considering that frevo as a folkloric expression is a constant in

Pernambuco up to today, and that it has a considerable influence on the dance scene, how can we

reconcile its African origins with its place in "modern" dance?

The research above mentioned resulted in the stage production Fervo in September 2006

in Recife. In Fervo, the history of frevo is told in several pieces, from a contemporary

perspective. Assuming that frevo started in a context of social tension, the show returns to the

past to explain the present of the tradition. This is a very innovative approach and contrasts with










the traditional way the anniversary of 100 years of frevo has been celebrated. In this show, frevo

has encounters with rock, hip-hop, roda de pogo, 62 and even the waltz, tracing its social history

and breaking away from the traditional institutional folkloric celebration of the style (Figure 4-

4). The choreography is not based exclusively in the movements originating from frevo, but in

the social context in which frevo started the post-slavery abolition period, and the subsequent

repression of Afro-Brazilian culture. Following the whitening ideas prevalent in the nineteenth

century, and later in frevo's history, the expression of joy symbolically overcomes suffering, and

pain is transformed into pleasure. The codification of the steps fits the ideals of whitening

characteristic in the evolution of the style. According to Vicente [my translation]:

The questions that cause us fear are historically constructed. The legacy of slavery is not
only part of the slaves who were beaten, but are also part of the master who beat them. The
way the city of Recife deals with this today is the same as it was 100 years ago. The
violence of today's social problems, exist in people' s bodies, but this is not recognized.
(Vicente, 2006)

[As questies que nos afligem sho historicamente construidas. A heranga da escravidio nio
esta somente no escravo que apanhava, mas tambem no senhor que batia. A forma como o
Recife lida com isso nas relaC5es socials parece ser a mesma de 100 anos atras. Existe, nos
problems socials de hoj e, uma viol~ncia no corpo das pessoas, mas que nio esta
assumida.]

In Fervo, newspapers are thrown on the stage floor to symbolize the information the group

researched in the public archives of Recife. The newspapers are part of the stage scenery to


62Pogo dance is one of the most important elements of a punk show in Brazil. The dance consists of the moments
of joy and energy, when punks and the surfers hug each other. The verb "Pogar" translates to the verb "to dance" in
a punk context: to dance to a hard sound, full of energy. The entire body vibrates and the dancer tends to jump, to
run, "kicking the world." The roda de pogo is a natural evolution of the pogo, with the participants intuitively
dancing towards the same direction, but only in circles. It seems to be natural to move counterclockwise. It is also
common to find the participants smiling, symbolizing the freedom of a punk party.









reveal that the printed material about violence in turn-of-the-century Recife is similar to that of

today, when Recife was beset with numerous social conflicts, filling up the pages of the

newspapers with stories of deaths, torture and the search for "criminals" by the police, which

recalls the shocking media coverage of today.

As the show begins, dancers yell out the events printed in the newspaper to show that an

overdose of news can also be violent. According to Vicente, "The press is part of the society. As

in any artistic expression, it is a very interesting place to find and comprehend the social

structure. In Fervo we show this role as played by the press." As she explains the creation

process of the show she points out the importance of the artists' collaboration and individual

expression [my translation]:

Today, this is the only way I see for the show not to fall into preconceived notions. It is
true that we are able to leave the "comfort zone," for being more familiar to us. But as
soon as the cast members take on their creative roles, the movements are 'defended' with
more authority and the audience can clearly see the process suffered by the living body,
and not just one sculpted by technique. (Vicente, 2006)

[Atualmente esta e a unica opCpo que eu enxergo para que o espetaculo nio seja uma
imagem pre-criada. E verdade que saimos de um lugar mais seguro, por ser mais
conhecido. Mas assim que o elenco assume seu papel criador, as movimentaC5es sho
'defendidas' com mais propriedade e, principalmente, o putblico pode ver o process do
corpo vivo, e nio apenas esculpido por uma tecnica.]

Vicente used the individual expression of the cast to its full potential. She highlights the

interpretive skills of dancer Leda Santos, the versatility and improvisational qualities of Jaffis

Nascimento, the spontaneity of lane Costa, and the delicacy and precision of Calixto Neto, as

essential elements in choreographic process. She states that as the "boiling sensation"

characteristic of frevo cannot happen in the streets without the participation of the crowd, this

piece could never have happened without the contribution of the dancers (Figure 4-5).










The Deconstruction of Frevo

Part of the strength of the show, similar to a frevo performance, comes from its music, an

original soundtrack composed by Silverio Pessoa, Yuri Queiroga and the band Coletivo

DerrubaJazz. The soundtrack, like the show itself, is a non-linear trip through frevo, composed

by samples, electronic effects, noises, voices, the tambourine, trumpet and trombone. According

to Silverio Pessoa63 [my translation]:

We tried to retain the themes, aiming to make the audience feel a specific way, either
through the tension, emotion, or through the steps of the dancers. I was particularly
motivated by the gestures, the language of their [the dancers] eyes and of their hands in
perfect counterpoint with the soundtrack. I would call the track a "deconstruction" of the
traditional concept of frevo as is the choreography. (Pessoa, in Vicente 2006, "Do Frevo
ao Fervo")

[Procuramos deixar os temas obj etivando emocionar, sej a na tensio, sej a na emoCio, ou
nos passes dos dangarinos. Algo que particularmente me estimulou bastante foram os
gestos, a linguagem dos olhos e das m~os em perfeito contraponto ritmico com a trilha. Eu
chamaria a trilha uma "desconstrugho" do conceito traditional de frevo assim como ea
coreografia.]

A "deconstruction of the traditional concept of frevo" is the expression used by Pessoa to

describe the show Fervo. As Pessoa refers to the "traditional concept of frevo," he addresses the

way the audience is used to watching frevo being performed, either in theatrical settings, as a

formalized tradition, or in the streets of Carnival as a folkloric expression, following an agreed

upon notion of authenticity, not its actual origin.

Even in conceptualizing the tradition according to contemporary standards, it is important

to recognize the popular artists like Nascimento do Passo and Coruj a, who worked toward the

codification of frevo steps and the staging of the tradition. Although these popular artists were



63 In the 1990s, the musician and composer Silv~rio Pessoa became known as the lead singer of the band
Cascabulho, since then, he is been known for mixing the sound of traditional music, such as the ones by popular
artists Jackson do Pandeiro (coco), with urban sounds such as Hip Hop and electronic music. Originally from the
Zona da Mata, he is also known for bringing the sounds of popular music traditions such as cavalo-inarinho, buinba-
ineu-boi, etc, to the urban center of Recife.










unconsciously influenced by European aesthetics and the concept of beauty as they passed on the

tradition and in the construction of the "authentic frevo," it is important to understand that no

dance style can be deconstructed without having been previously formalized or codified. For

instance, modern dance originated from classical ballet, a technique that had been constructed for

years, and later transformed according to the dancers' needs for self-expression. When we

consider this deconstruction process in relation to more than just the technical dance aspects of

frevo, we can conclude that staging process of frevo with its focus on individual expression

and spontaneous creation is a reflection of fundamental changes in Pernambuco' s society at

large motivated by the actions of popular artists.



























Figure 4-1 Female and male passista. Photo courtesy of the Escola Municipal de Frevo Maestro
Fernando Borges


Figure 4-2 Escola Municipal de Frevo Maestro Fernando Borges Dance Company. Photo
courtesy of the Escola Municipal de Frevo Maestro Fernando Borges










































Figure 4-4 Fervo in "Do Frevo ao Fervo" Photo by Andre Dib. Source:
http://www. overmundo. com .br/imprime_overbl og/do-frevo-ao-fervo- 1


Figure 4-3 Passista Bruno Henrique performing one of the frevo steps, the Carpado. Photo
courtesy of the Escola Municipal de Frevo Maestro Fernando Borges
































Figure 4-5 Fervo in "Do Frevo ao Fervo." Photo by Andre Dib Source
http://www. overmundo. com .br/imprime_overbl og/do-frevo-ao-fervo- 1


rL~1


Figure 4-6 Teatro Santa Isabel in Recife, one of the main sites for staging frevo. Photo by
Jamildo Melo. Source:
http://jc.uol. com.br/blogs/bl ogdej amil do/2007/04/07/index .php









CHAPTER 5
CONCLUSION

In a broader sense, this work has sought to demonstrate that while the participation of

popular dancers, such as Nascimento do Passo and Coruj a, contributed to the emphasis on

individual expression and to the formalization of the steps that influenced the popular and

contemporary dance companies of Pernambuco, they began the process of staging frevo. In

previous works, the origin of frevo was attributed only to the movements of the capoeira~s in

front of the marching bands in the Camnival of Pemnambuco in the early twentieth century, but

when I compared this information to my own experience as a frevo dancer, and the opinions of

people interviewed in this work, the development of frevo steps was still controversial.

I found that oral tradition and the assumptions of scholars that the capoeira~s' weapons and

defense movements were replaced by the use of umbrellas 64 and by the intricacy of frevo steps

were insufficient explanations for the development of frevo. When investigating the "authentic"

frevo staged today in Pemnambuco by popular dance companies, and the frevo pieces created by

contemporary choreographers, I found that, the historical roots of the tradition were not simply

connected to the practice of capoeira, but were also influenced by the ideology of the dominant

class in Pernambuco, mostly composed of people of white or European descent. This fact

explained the differences between the frevo steps of today and the movements of capoeira, as

well as the different paths frevo and capoeira have followed.

Capoeira has gone from being repressed by the authorities to achieving high social status

and prestige. The practice of capoeira today is widespread among middle-class young people

who attend capoeira classes for physical fitness in different parts of Brazil and all over the world.

Frevo has achieved the status of being a symbol of identity for Pernambuco, as the main dance

64 Frevo umbrellas are considered, to this day, one of the main symbols of the tradition.










tradition in Recife's Carnival, but has remained largely a regional symbol. Through the process

of formalization, the creation of the schools of capoeira angola and regional, capoeira has carved

out a place for itself in gyms inside Brazil and around the world. This has promoted the

acceptance of the style by people other than Afro-Brazilians. The importance of that process is

the affirmation of Afro-Brazilian identity within Brazilian culture. Although, modified and

adapted to the standards of the dominant class, capoeira remained representative of Afro-

Brazilian culture within Brazil, and mostly retains Afro-Brazilian aesthetics.

Frevo, on the contrary, has been considered "more inclusive," a tradition that represents a

"mix of races." But in reality, this concept is used to reinforce the ideology that denies the strong

African influence in Pernambuco. Today, the dancing of frevo and the practice of capoeira

constitute two different worlds, the former symbolizing the mixed population of Recife' s urban

center, with the latter representing a national Afro-Brazilian culture. The two traditions have

developed independently in Pernambuco, reinforcing the tendency of the society of Pernambuco

to separate cultural traditions linked to African heritage. In Pernambuco, Afro-Brazilian

traditions have been looked down upon, as in the example of the maracatu, 65 which was never

considered an appropriate symbol of collective state identity, since its musical aesthetics and

symbols are more strictly tied to African heritage.

The presence of leaders of the regionalist movements in the organization of frevo contests

serves to locate the process of formalization of frevo within a broader ideology that was being

led by the government during the 1950s. The regionalist ideas of the time perpetuated through





65 MOTOCatus are Recife's Carnival groups that have their roots on the colonial institution of the "king of the
Congo," in which blacks were allowed to crown symbolic kings and queens of their African anIons"~li) and organize
processions with African- style music and dance.










frevo contests were developed by the same people, who were their organizers and judges, and

who later planted the seeds for the M~ovimento Armorial during the 1970s.

The participation of popular artists in these contests was crucial to the institutionalization

of frevo as a popular tradition, representing a way to bring frevo from the streets to the stages.

Shaped by the ideology of the time, these contests served to showcase the dancers' talent and

allowed popular dancers such as Nascimento do Passo and Coruj a to affirm the importance of

frevo. In these contests, they established their own style of dancing frevo, a style that they later

taught to professional dancers, and which is now used as inspiration for the new contemporary

creations. Today, their lifetime dedication to frevo, marked by their struggles and achievements

as frevo dancers, symbolize the attempt of the people to preserve their tradition.

Along with the inspiration of popular artists in preserving frevo, the variety of popular

dance traditions present in Pernambuco (fr~evo, maracatu, coco, cirand'a, caboclinhos, xaxad'o,

among others affected by regionalist movements) led me to investigate the influence of these

popular dance traditions on the development of today's frevo. Only a very small portion of the

population in Pernambuco gave value to popular traditions until the M~ovimento Armorial in the

1970s. When the writer Ariano Suassuna attempted to mix elements of popular and erudite

culture in the M~ovimento Armorial, he tried to revitalize the traditions of Pernambuco, striking

up a sense of state pride. In the dance scene, these ideas motivated the formalization of popular

dance traditions as stage forms, the founding of dance companies, and the creation of teaching

methods.

As I analyzed the contemporary dance scene of Pernambuco, I noticed that the impact of

frevo was stronger than that of other popular dance traditions. Although the frevo steps of today

have been influenced by other popular dance traditions, no other tradition had as much of an










impact on the contemporary dance scene in Pernambuco as frevo. This fact links the process of

formalization to frevo which, in turn, proves the important contribution of frevo contests and

popular artists in this process.

During frevo contests, popular dancers were judged by the state's elite the same elite

that followed the dictates of European culture, emphasizing the fr~evo de bloco, 66 while

overlooking popular Afro-Brazilian elements present in the fr~evo de rua (street frevo). Through

time, this difference became more marked, and frevo steps, which originated in street frevo, have

been "cleaned up" to fit the standards of the European aesthetics. Popular dancers such as

Nascimento do Passo and Coruj a unconsciously served to intermediate this process. As they

started teaching frevo in public schools, performed for the state media, and taught dancers of the

Bale Popular do Recife, they contributed to a process of formalization that has paved the way of

frevo from the street to the contemporary dance scene.

At the same time, they contributed to the construction of the idea of "authentic frevo,"

paying the way for frevo steps into theatre and dance companies of the state and beyond. As

they codified frevo steps, teaching hundreds of dancers the steps of their individual styles, they

consolidated the material that is now being researched by contemporary dancers and

choreographers. While the participation of popular artists in frevo contests contributed to the

formalization of the tradition and motivated the unique style found in Pernambuco' s

contemporary dance scene, their improvisation and innovation have been at the core of

inspiration since frevo's beginning.

This process exemplifies how the concept of authenticity is embedded in the culture of

Pernambuco. As illustrated by the interviews in this work, "the authentic frevo" has always been


66 Frevo de bloco is a type of singing frevo influenced by European culture









an important topic of discourse. Frevo's music and dance style were established by its unique

characteristics. People in Pernambuco today have a sense of ownership of what is considered to

be the "authentic frevo." What few of them are able to recognize is how this idea of

"authenticity" has been shaped by the dominant ideology. The historical and socio-economic

realities of the contemporary dance scene of this northeastern state and its influence inside and

outside Brazil, thus presented a unique opportunity to link past and present, and to analyze the

impact of frevo. The understanding of historically constructed concepts furthers the analyses of

the development of frevo as a dance tradition and explains its transformation through time.

After the development of nationalist and regionalist movements, the creation of samba was

addressed to the Afro-Brazilian community, and the creation of frevo to the mixed population of

the urban center of Recife. Today, frevo represents to the state of Pemnambuco what samba

represents to Brazil: a symbol of collective cultural identity. Distinct from the formation of

samba schools, which remained largely linked to black origins, frevo gradually adhered to the

"whitening" concepts strongly embedded in the society of Pernambuco, disguised by the

symbolic representation of Recife's "mixed" population. Although today frevo is praised as a

symbol of identity for Pernambuco, the elite adapted frevo to their Eurocentric perspective, not

because it was symbolic of regionalist "mestigagem," but as something exciting, culturally

marginal and hard to ignore.

The celebration of the "centennial of frevo," is a particularly appropriate moment for the

investigation of historically constructed concepts embedded in the contemporary dance scene.

While staging other popular dance styles, dance companies have lost the enacting of popular

traditions, and staging frevo, I argue, has led them to a return to their historical roots. This

process happens because when contemporary dancers research frevo, they value its core element:










individual expression. Frevo, the dance which developed from the spontaneous movements of

the common people and capoeira~s in the nineteenth century is present in the spontaneous

creations of the contemporary dancer of today's Pernambuco. Contemporary dance pieces

accentuate a shift in the interpretations of this dance tradition, and in the understanding of its

roots by dancers, choreographers and members of the society.

Frevo is not viewed only as a symbol of cultural identity of Pernambuco. With the new

creations, contemporary choreographers separate frevo from the elements that constitute the

"authenticity" of the tradition, always emphasized by the popular dance companies, and explore

historical aspects of the tradition on stage. The movements that were once formalized for

preservation of the dance are now reinterpreted to explain the connection between frevo and the

society. The colors of Carnival, represented in the frevo costumes and once symbolic of the

"authentic frevo," are replaced largely by the individual expression of the dancers.

Through contemporary ideas, the stages of Pernambuco become the scenario for the return

of frevo to its original roots: one of individual expression and resistance. The tension between

contemporary choreographers and popular artists regarding how to preserve the tradition, as the

one I encountered in the Escola Municipal de Frevo Maestro Fernando Borges, for instance,

favors new choreographic creations therefore contributing to the inclusion of more dancers in the

j ob market. I view formalization as one of the tools for the development of the tradition.

The same reasons that made frevo the key dance in establishing the movement vocabulary

of the Bale Popular do Recife during the 1970s has transformed frevo into the core element for

contemporary dance in Pernambuco. When contemporary dance choreographers choose frevo as

a source of inspiration for their creations, they are exploring a style that is hybrid in its nature,

for combining characteristics of other dance traditions, and a style that has been embedded in the










body of their dancers. The previous contact of the dancers with the style either through

participation in Carnival or in popular dance companies, creates a degree of familiarity that

facilitates a more intuitive process of interpretation.

The non-religious aspects of frevo also facilitates the finding of a common style of

movement among dancers, although, I argue that the close association of the style with the Afro-

Brazilian heritage motivates a link between frevo dancers and the religiosity present in the Afro-

Brazilian tradition. If the secret for preservation of Afro-Brazilian religion in Brazil is

syncretism, its ability to absorb Catholic or other religions, rather than being displaced by other

forms, the absorption of other dance styles in frevo can be seen as a key survival strategy for the

preservation of the tradition. The dynamic movements of frevo are representative of its

environment and have been shaped according to concepts embedded in the society of

Pernambuco, but the pedagogy created by popular artists such as Nascimento do Passo and

Coruj a demonstrate their agency in response to the dominant ideology.

In 2007, as the frevo vocabulary is found embodied in the dancers in Pernambuco and the

concept of "authenticity" is investigated and replaced by questions related to the historical roots

of the tradition. More "ginga" and "malicia- take the steps of frevo from the streets to the

theaters of Pernambuco. As they are exposed to the new interpretations of the dance style, the

audience in Pernambuco encounters a new frevo. Shows like "Fervo," which emphasize the

repressed issues of class and race embedded in this dynamic yet traditional dance style shows

this new frevo, one less disguised by the "whitening" ideology of the dominant class and

validated by the influence of popular artists, who have dedicated their lives to preserve the

tradition.










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BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH

Juliana Amelia Paes Azoubel was born in 1976 and grew up between the cities of Recife

and Olinda, in the state of Pernambuco, Brazil. She attended the Academia Santa Gertrudes, the

Contato High School and the Law School at the Universidade Cat61ica de Pernambuco. Dancing

since childhood in Brazil, she has performed with several Brazilian Dance companies, and is the

founder and director of the Companhia Olindanga.

Since 1996, she has been the main dancer and teacher for the University of Florida World

Music Ensemble Jacare Brazil. While in Gainesville, she has performed with the UF Diversity

Artist Proj ect (Urban Bush Women), the UF Agbedidi African Ensemble, Dance Alive! Dance

Brazil, and has taught at the Santa Fe Community Education Proj ect, the Unified Training Center

and the UF Leisure Courses. She has also taught and performed in American College Dance

Festivals, and in several dance companies and dance studios around the US, including the

Quilombo Center in Chicago. Her dance experience led her to work in Theatre and to specialize

in Pilates. Ms. Azoubel is a Stott Pilates certified instructor and has been teaching this exercise

method for dancers and non dancers alike.

Ms. Azoubel holds a BFA in dance from the University of Florida, where she began her

research experience while participating in the UF Journal of Undergraduate Research through her

work "The Cote D'Ivoire Mask Tradition From the Viewpoint of Dance Ethnology: Dancing the

Gap Between Spirits and Human Worlds." From 2005 to 2007, she received an assistantship

from the Center for Latin American Studies, the Center for World Arts, and the Department of

Theatre and Dance at the University of Florida, where she has been teaching World Dance and

Intercultural Performance, and Fundamentals of Dance. She has founded and directed the UF

Brazilian Dance Ensemble Jacare Dangante.





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1 FREVO AND THE CONTEMPORARY DANC E SCENE IN PERNAMBUCO, BRAZIL: STAGING 100 YEARS OF TRADITION By JULIANA AMELIA PAES AZOUBEL A THESIS PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLOR IDA IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF MASTER OF ARTS UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA 2007

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2 2007 Juliana Amelia Paes Azoubel

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3 To my parents Inez and Geraldo Azoubel, who nurtu red my love for dance, to my students, who have inspired me daily, and to the people of Pernambuco In memory of the dancer and friend Henrique Fi gueira and the capoeiris ta and friend Aladin

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4 ACKNOWLEDGMENTS This research would not have been possible without the support and help of a great many people. I thank everyone who agreed to interview and sat down or danced for several hours while expressing the meaning of their art and their love for frevo. In Brazil, I owe a lot to Nascimento do Passo who deeply inspired the nature of th is work, and to Weris on Fidelis, Bruno Henrique and Deyvson Vicente, mestre Joo Pequeno, Mago a nd Rosane Almeida for participating on the interviews, to Telma Andrade (ACAAPE) for fu rnishing information on frevo artists in PE, and to Alexandre Macdo and Brbara Heliodora for opening the Escola Municipal de Frevo Maestro Fernando Borges for my research. I am indebted to many people and institutions for their support during the research and writing portion of this thesis. Th e Center for Latin American Studi es, the Center for World Arts and the Department of Theatre and Dance provided me with financial assistance. My academic adviser Dr. Crook and my committ ee members Dr. Jeffrey Needell, Dr. Elizabeth Ginway and Professor Joan Frosch shared va luable insights regarding the th esis and guided my work. I owe Dr. Needell and Dr. Ginway an enormous debt of gratitude for their enthusiasm, motivation and unfailing intellectual stimulations. I wish to thank the Center for World Arts, Dr. Crook, Joan Froach and Welson Tremura for the opportunity to teach, dance and choreogr aph through the World Music Ensemble Jacar Brazil and for allowing me to found the Brazilian Dance Ensemb le Jacar Danante a great venue for the dance of Pernambuco at the Univ ersity of Florida and great source for my investigation. I wish to thank my tango part ner and friend Andrei Sourakov, as well as Dr. Martin Simpson and Amy Robinson for revising th e early stages of this work. I thank Dr. Charles Wood for the valuable insigh ts regarding research methods.

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5 My dance students and friends in Gainesville ha ve inspired and helped this journey. I wish to thank my Russian group Sergei and Irene Zolotukhin, Segei and Tatiana Klimenko, Sergei and Elena Kurenova, Djennet and Alex Matveevski and several people in the US and in Brazil who have inspired my research and have contribu ted in ways they often little suspect: I thank Ralph and Joannie Glaeser, Mary Mingon, Pat Wade, Kemel Kalif, Bill Rohan, Lilli Wiggins, Geraldo M. Silva, Libby Brateman, Renata de Godoy, Diogo Costa, Maria Ceclia Cabral de Melo Lins, Luis Nogueira, Sergio Valentim, Olyv ier, Fred Monteiro, Joo do Pife, Edileusa dos Santos, Claudia Soares, Kleber Azevedo, Gilberto Trindade and Luis Claudio P. Symanski. I wish to thank my brothers Andr Azoube l and Luciana Godoy, and Gustavo Azoubel and Mnica Quaresma, as well as my godparents Jos Arthur and Clia P aes, and Esther Azoubel and Genrio Sales for their support. I also tha nk my uncle David Azoubel for hosting me in So Paulo during part of my fieldwork. My greatest thanks and deepest gratitude ar e reserved for my parents Inez and Geraldo Azoubel for a lifetime of unconditional love, supp ort and inspiration. I thank my father for teaching me the love for music and history, and my mother, for teaching me the love for dance and for my country.

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6 TABLE OF CONTENTS page ACKNOWLEDGMENTS...............................................................................................................4 LIST OF FIGURES................................................................................................................ .........8 LIST OF OBJECTS................................................................................................................ .........9 LIST OF TERMS.................................................................................................................. .........10 ABSTRACT....................................................................................................................... ............13 CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION..................................................................................................................15 Frevo, Dance Ethnography and Contemporary Dance...........................................................17 The Significance of this Study................................................................................................30 The Data Collected and Research Methods............................................................................34 The Structure of the Thesis.................................................................................................... .39 2 FREVO: BOILING IN THE LA ND OF RACIAL DEMOCRACY..................................43 From Entrudo to Carnival.......................................................................................................44 Guarding the Nation, Maintaining Order, Controlling the Society.................................51 Pernambuco Beyond Carnival................................................................................................56 Regionalism and Frevo.......................................................................................................... .59 The Movimento Armorial................................................................................................62 Frevo Contests, Nascimento do Passo, Coruja and Pernambuco's Dancing Scene................64 3 FROM THE STREETS TO THE STAGE.............................................................................66 Nascimento do Passo: A Life Dedicated to Frevo..................................................................68 The Frevo Steps by Nascimento do Passo.......................................................................74 Frevo Costumes...............................................................................................................97 Coruja: The Image of All Northeastern Rhythms.................................................................102 4 FREVO TODAY: FROM THE POPU LAR TO THE CONTEMPORARY........................114 Movimento Armorial and Frevo...........................................................................................123 Bal Braslica: Transforming Popular Dance................................................................127 The Escola Municipal de Frevo Ma estro Fernando Borges Today......................................130 The Contemporary Dance Scene: Fre vo Beyond its Folkloric Expression..........................136 The Deconstruction of Frevo.........................................................................................142 5 CONCLUSION.....................................................................................................................147

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7 LIST OF REFERENCES.............................................................................................................154 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH.......................................................................................................158

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8 LIST OF FIGURES Figure page 1-1 Nascimento do Passos Booklet Pro jeto 50 Anos de Frevo no P.................................42 3-1 The Ten Commandments of Frevo by Nascimento do Passo .........................................109 3-2 Passista Bruno Henrique perf orming a frevo step that fo r the people of Pernambuco resembles a Russian dance...............................................................................................110 3-3 Capoeira outfits............................................................................................................... .110 3-4 Frevo costumes of today..................................................................................................111 3-5 Maracatu costumes..........................................................................................................111 3-6 Caboclinhos costumes by Bal Popular do Recife..........................................................112 3-7 Nascimento do Passo wearing one of his frevo costumes ..............................................112 3-8 Coruja......................................................................................................................... ......113 4-1 Female and male passista.................................................................................................144 4-2 Escola Municipal de Frevo Maestr o Fernando Borges Dance Company .......................144 4-3 Passista Bruno Henrique performing one of the frevo steps, the Carpado .....................145 4-4 Fervo in Do Frevo ao Fervo ........................................................................................145 4-5 Fervo in Do Frevo ao Fervo ........................................................................................146 4-6 Teatro Santa Isabel in Recife, one of the main sites for staging frevo ...........................146

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9 LIST OF OBJECTS Object page 1-1 Video of Nascimento do Passo performance of the drunken step.....................................87 4-1 Video of the piece Recifervendo..................................................................................115 4-2 Video of Mestre Joo Pequeno dancing frevo.................................................................117

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10 LIST OF TERMS Baio Syncopated dance music from th e Northeast first popularized by Luiz Gonzaga Blocos carnavalescos Carnival groups of Recife Bumba-meu-boi folklore tradition that co mbines music, dance and comedy blending Portuguese, Afro-Brazilian and Amerindian tradition Brinquedos Designates popular traditions th at combine music, dance and drums Caboclinhos Type of Recife Carnival groups th at dress in stylized Indian outfits and feature music with a small flute, metal shakers and a drum, and fast paceddance performances Candombl Afro-Brazilian religion found es pecially in Pernambuco and Bahia and characterized by the syncretism of Catholic and African beliefs Cangaceiros Outlaws of the Brazilian Northeast Capoeira Afro-Brazilian martialarts dance and music form Capoeira Angola Capoeira style created by mestre Pastinha in 1941 Capoeira Regional Capoeira style based on physical fitness and in spired by other martial arts created by mestre Bimba in the 1930s Cavalo-marinho Popular tradition of the Br azilian Northeast, characterized by a combination of music, dance and drama, cavalo-marinho is the Portuguese for sea-horse Carimb Circle dance and music of the North of Brazil Ciranda Circle dance of Portuguese in fluence in the Brazilian Northeast Coco Circle dance of participants who sing and play percussion instruments, closely related to samba Congadas Popular festivals in which wh ite-clad dancers pl aying guitars and tambourines parade along the seafront accompanied by a figure of St Benedict in a decorated boat Clubes Pedestres Working-class pe destrian clubs in Recife that influenced the development of frevo in the early years of the twentieth century Fandango Brazilian popular dance and music tradition of European Influence

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11 Forr Urban northeastern-s tyle music played by ensembles with accordion, triangle and zabumba drum and danced in pairs Frevo Syncopated dance music from Recifes carnival Frevo de bloco Type of frevo played in a slow rhythm and usually performed by female choruses in a melodic and lyrical style, and accompanied by string and wind bands in the Blocos Carnavalescos of Recife Frevo-de-rua Fast instrument al frevo highly syncopated a nd played by brass, wind and percussion instruments. Often the fa vorite style for the performance of intricate frevo steps Frevo-cano Solo song frevo populari zed in the 1930s in Recife Ginga Literally, rocking back and fort h in capoeira. It is accomplished by maintaining both feet sh oulder-width apart and m oving one foot back and then back to the base, describing a triangular step on the ground. Popularly used to express a special way of moving Lampio And Maria Bonita Important histor ical figures who were outlaws of the Brazilian Northeast Malcia Ability to fool in capoeira, and used in frevo as a characteristic of the authentic frevo, the street frevo Manguebeat Music Movement that emerged in the 1990s in Recife Maracatu Afro-Brazilian music and dance fo rm that developed in the carnival of Recife Marabaixo Dance of the North of Brazil Modinha A Brazilian sentimental song form that derives from Po rtuguese heritage Ogum Name of powerful male orix in the Candombl religion Orix The generic term for Afro -Brazilian deities in Candombl Orquestra de frevo Professional bands that perform frevo in Recife Oxum Name of female orix in the Candombl religion Pandeiro Brazilian tambourine used in different types of music Passista Frevo dancer, the term is also used for chosen dancers of samba schools Pastoril Christmas time dance and drama enactment

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12 Polka-marcha A hybrid march rhythm of the early twentieth century in Recife that influenced the beginning of frevo Prato-e-faca Kitchen utensils (plate and knife) played as percussion in samba de roda Rabeca Folk violin of Iberian infl uence found in the Northeast of Brazil Reisado Catholic popular tradition of Po rtuguese origin common in the Northeast especially during the period before Christmas Samba de roda Round dance involving small ensembles and instruments such as the atabaque, pandeiro, agog, cavaquinho and viola Saudade Portuguese expression for longing, fre quently used to express the feelings related to missing home Violo Brazilian acoustic sixstring guitar with nylon strings Xaxado Dance tradition from the interior of the Northeast, often associated with the historical figures of Lampi o, Maria Bonita and the cangaceiros Zabumba A double-headed bass drum used to play forr and baio music

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13 Abstract of Thesis Presen ted to the Graduate School of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Master of Arts FREVO AND THE CONTEMPORARY DANC E SCENE IN PERNAMBUCO BRAZIL: STAGING 100 YEARS OF TRADITION By Juliana Amelia Paes Azoubel December 2007 Chair: Larry Crook Major: Latin American Studies This research analyzes the formalization and development of frevo one of the most important Brazilian popular music and dance tr aditions, in the street s and theatres of the metropolitan area of Recife, the capital of the st ate of Pernambuco. Historical analyses and ethnographical research demonstrate the contri bution of selected popul ar artists in the development of frevo as a dance tradition from 1907 to 2007. My particip ation in frevo classes and informal interviews with members of popular and contemporary dance companies allowed the collection of specific dates, pictures and video mate rials about frevo cont ests and the creation of teaching methods. Information gathered on the work of popular artists Coruja and Nascimento do Passo, and dance companies of Pern ambuco illustrate the different interpretations artists have had of this tradit ion in the twenty-first century. My investigation focuses on the development of frevo as a popular da nce tradition and its influence on theatres and dance companies in Pe rnambuco. This work addresses controversial ideas that are the nurturing elemen ts of Pernambucos contemporary dance scene. It investigates the influence of regionalist movements, the ideol ogy of the dominant class, and Freyres racial democracy on the placement of frevo as a symbol of identity for Pernambuco and as a core element for the states contemporary dance scene.

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14 I argue that, as Pernambuco celebrates Anos de Frevo (100 years of frevo), frevo is linked to the nationalist ideology of mestiagem in twentieth centu ry Brazil, associated within Brazil with the mixture of the three races. I show the reflection of this ideology on the formalization of the tradition a nd on the tension between dancers and choreographers as they perform frevo and try to understand its formalizat ion process. These dancers view this process through the eyes of the dominant class, mostly composed of European descendents, who often denies the Afro-Brazilian influence in Pernambucos cultural traditions. I recognize the interest of sc holars and tourists in frevo as a musical style and show the influence of frevo in the dance s cene of the state, but emphasize that little scholarly attention has been paid to frevo as a dance form. The view of scholars (and performers) of frevo as an urban expression, a symbol of identity for the mixed population of the city of Recife, has, to a certain extent, focused little attention on the formalization of the tradition, much less on the popular artists who contributed to that key process. As a researcher, teacher and performer of fr evo, I intend to provide a historical background in which to place the new generation of frevo da ncers, and to give recognition to the people who have dedicated their lives to preserving the trad ition. I investigate the influence of several key artists in the current dance scene, when public spectacles, in this case, the staging of frevo, become the source of inspiration for c ontemporary dancers and choreographers. I believe my experience as a frevo dancer, born and raised in the state of Pernambuco, and my close association with the people involved in the tradition frevo dancers, teachers, members of popular and contemporary dance companies give me a unique perspective on this research.

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15 CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION On February 9, 2007, the Brazilian state of Pernambuco celebrated Anos de Frevo (100 years of frevo). As a music and dance style or iginating in the street Carnivals in the sister cities of Recife and Olinda, 1 frevo represents the social integr ation of the ethnic elements that, when combined, form the identity of its peop le. Recognized by most scholars as an urban expression of Euroand Afro-Brazilian elements, frevo highlights individu al expression and has come to represent Pernambucos identity within Brazil. This research analyzes the formalization and development of frevo as a dance style in the streets and theatres of Pernambuco from 1907 to 2007. Historical analys es and ethnographical research are used to demonstr ate the contribution of popular ar tists to the development and preservation of this traditi on. The work of popular artists2 Coruja and Nascimento do Passo, as well as popular and contemporary3 dance companies in Pernambuco, illustrates the different paths taken by dancers and choreogr aphers to express this tradition. Unlike other dance styles of Pernambuco, the heterogeneous and comp lex nature of frevo is not representative of just one ethnic group, so cial class or religious tradition. It is often associated with the mixed population of the street Carnival of the cities of Olinda and Recife, as 1 Although frevo has been spread to the entire state, its or igin is associated with the state capital, Recife, and its surrounding area, that encompasses its sister city, Olinda. In this study I will refer to Recife, as the urban area where the formalization of the style has taken place. 2 By the expression popular artists I refer to artists from the lo wer class of the society, who have their social origin in the povo, the Portuguese expression th at in Brazil is used to describe the common people of the lower classes, mostly associated with individuals who did not have access to formal schooling. From the Latin populis the expression popular is directly connect ed with the expression povo, and is used to describe cultural expressions of the lower stratus of the society, of the people who do not belong to the dominant class. 3 In Pernambuco, the term popular dance is used to desi gnate the dance style used by professional dance companies that were founded after the Movimento Armorial during the 1970s to perform and thereby preserve folkloric traditions. Contemporary dance companies are the groups that use modern and post-modern dance as their core dance technique.

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16 they moved to the music played by marchi ng bands. Valdemar de Oliveira wrote [my translation]: Because it was, in fact, in Recife that all this took place, in th e Recife of the late nineteenth century, and at the beginning of this centur y, when the music was emerging dictating the dance, or could it be that, as the dance took shap e, it dictated the music. It is impossible to tell: if the frevo music brought about o passo [t he step], or if o passo [the step] or dance, brought about th e frevo. (Oliveira 1985, 11) [Porque foi, de fato, no Recife, que isso t udo aconteceu, no Recife dos fins do sculo XIX, comeos dste, que a msica foi aparecendo, conduzindo a dana, ou a dana foi tomando corpo, sugerindo a msica. impossvel distingu ir bem: se o frevo, que msica trouxe o passo, ou se o passo, que dana trouxe o frevo.] There is not a single historical event that can be pointed out as having stimulated the development of frevo as a dance style. Rita de Cssia Barbosa de Arajo has described frevo as a symbol of identity for Pernambuco: Originally a cultural manifestation in the Carnival of Pernambuco, and born among the popular sector of the society, frevo started to be seen as symbol of cultural identity for the people of Pernambuco (Arajo 1996 21). [Manifestao cultural originada no Carnaval do Recife, nascid a entre as camadas populares urbanas, o frevo passou a ser visto como smbolo de identidade cultural para os pernambucanos.] The common people have been its creators, its choreographers as they da nce to frevo orchestras during Carnival, and as they perform frevo in Pernambuco and beyond. Today, people in Pernambuco are proud to have created a music and dance style of their own. The expression there are as many steps of frevo as there are people in the state of Pernambuco, is a saying used by professi onal and non-professiona l frevo dancers and choreographers to define the continuous deve lopment of frevo. New movements are created every day by the common people of the street Ca rnivals inspiring new styles of teaching and performing frevo, linking the streets of Reci fe to the contemporary dance scene as choreographers investigate new wa ys of staging the tradition.

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17 Frevo, Dance Ethnography and Contemporary Dance In various parts of the world, scholars have investigated processes of formalization and staging popular dance, and alt hough Brazilian popular traditions have been studied, not much attention has been paid to the pa rticipation of popular artists in the formalization of frevo. To my knowledge, the impact of Nascimento do Pa ssos pedagogical methodology and Corujas performance style on the contemporary dance scen e of Pernambuco have not yet been studied. Maria Goretti Rocha de Oliveira has investigated Nascimento do Passos influence in the staging of popular dance and acknowledged both Nascimento do Passos and Corujas roles in teaching frevo to the Bal Popular do Recife, th e first company to stage popular traditions in Pernambuco. In her Masters th esis, Oliveira analy zed the process of formalization of popular dance traditions in Pernambuco as they became public spectacles from 1970 to 1998.4 My analysis extends this line of i nquiry back to 1907, and covers th e rest of the twentieth century and up to the present day. My intention is to investigate the in fluence of several key artists in the current dance scene, when public spectacles in this case, the staging of frevo become the source of inspiration for contempor ary dancers and choreographers. Since the eighteenth century, West ern intellectuals have become increasingly interested in folk traditions. Influenced by romantic ideas, folk lorists were the first to investigate the theme, followed by anthropologists, who tried to interpret the cultures of the worlds primitive people. By analyzing the socio-cultural levels present in complex or civilized societies, researchers tried to understand the societies by analyzing the folk traditions they assumed best represented their national identity. In the twentieth century, anthropologists, sociologists, historians and psychologists, among others, have been analyzing popular culture from diverse perspectives. The 4 In 1993, Oliveiras master thesis was transformed in the book Danas Populares Como Espetculo Pblico no Recife de 1970 a 1988.

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18 dominant cultural view on this theme has led pop ular culture to be unde rstood as a rich source for intellectual debate, but at the same time dance has been viewed as a topic not worthy scholarly research. In the area of cultural studies, more specifica lly in the dance realm, we encounter several attempts to understand dance as a cultural expression. In Researching Dance: Evolving Modes of Inquiry (1999), dance ethnographer Joan Frosch cite s Kaeppler (1978), who states that in 1942, Franz Boas, the pioneer of American anthropo logy, laid a foundation for the possibility of examining dance and responses to it in terms of ones own culture rather than as a universal language (Frosch 1999, 251). But th e discovery of others thr ough dance finds resonance in the early twentieth century as modern dance was starting to flouris h. The famous Russian choreographer Fokine created over twenty Ori ental ballets for American Isadora Duncan. American choreographer and dancer Ruth St. Dennis took some of her choreographic inspirations from a poster advertising Egyptian deiti es cigarettes, and later, with her partner Ted Shawn, she toured and traveled widely, taking complete dances and hundreds of films from travels in Australia and India back to the US. At this period, although non-European dance research was being done, it was somewhat marginalized. According to Frosch, in 1947, African-American Kather ine Dunham, primarily renowned as a performer, choreographer and dance teacher, published her research on Haitian dance Las Danzas de Hait. The book was publis hed in French in 1950 and for the first time in English in 1983. But it was not until Kuraths essay in 1960, Panorama of Dance Ethnology, that the threads of cultural re search in dance originated wh at became later known as dance ethnology (Frosch 1999, 251-252). The new ideas of researching dances of other cultures resulted in the necessity to find a name fo r the new area of study. For instance, Kurath

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19 considered the term ethnic controversial and suggested that a culturally complete picture should include all dance, as ballet, jazz, and modern creative dance. She created a method on researching dance throu gh culture and detailed it in R esearch Methods and Background of Gertrude Kurath, which include d the preparation and various stages of fieldwork, laboratory study and search for stylistic s characteristics, gr aphic representation of body movement, formations, music and words, theoretical conc lusions and comparison with other cultures. Although Kurath is one of the early researchers to consider native experts as collaborators, her research process was criticized as too detailed and difficult to be unders tood by other researchers and descendents of the collaborators. The ephemeral and performative nature of dance explains the fact that dance research has not yet been considered a seriou s object of study and even the name of the study continues to be a subject of confusion, which makes it difficult for the works to achie ve fair recognition. Kealinohomoku considers the te rm dance ethnology to imply a limitation of the study to cultural parameters, particularly descriptiv e, and instead, she makes use of the term anthropology of dance or ethnochoreology suggested by Kurath as an analog to ethnomusicology (Frosch 1999, 257). The new field of study, now widespread in the U.S. is being referred to as dance ethnography. From the Greek ethnos, folk, people; and graph, write; it is descriptive in nature and is comprehended by the participant observati on, the participant of the researcher, in the field. The subject has not yet ac hieved great recognition in Brazil. As a result, the investigation of Brazilian popular dance is spread among seve ral fields: folkloric studies, sociology, anthropology, history, ethnomusi cology and tourism. In order to understand the background of my field of study, American works on dance ethnography have informed my own research.

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20 Beginning in the early twentieth century, Brazilian folklorists investigated the emergence of frevo in general studies of Carnival. Tradi tionally analyzed as a combination of music and dance, frevo caught the attention of renowned folklorists and music scholars who included the topic among several works published. Among these scholars are the modernist Mrio de Andrade (1934), and the folklorists Cmara Cascudo (195 4), Katarina Real ( 1990), Mrio Souto Maior and Leonardo Dantas e Silva (1991). However, until the mid-twentieth century, the literature written on the subject was restricted to the investigation of the origin of th e style, focusing primarily to its musical aspects, only rarely mentioning dance. Since the 1930s, othe r scholars have registered the presence of frevo in their works as folkloric expression. As it is typical of the time, these critics tended to have a highly romanticized view of cultural tr aditions, frevo included. In this period, frevo is mentioned in the works of Mrio de Andrade (1 934), Gilberto Freyre (1941), Cmara Cascudo (1954), and Hermilo Borba Filho (1951), as th e central popular expre ssion representing the social integration of Brazilian people in the urba n center of Recife. For these scholars, frevo is representative of the mixed population, and as a counterpoint to samba, represents Pernambucos version of Brazilian social and racial democracy. Historian Ruy Duarte, in his Histria Social do Frevo (1968), investigates the social aspects of the tradition. In the preface of his book he states [m y translation]: Frevo is not a dramatic dance. It is not folk-music, it is no t related to blacks, indi genous people nor to the Portuguese, it may even not be folklore. What th e heck is frevo? (Duarte 1968, 13) [O frevo no dana dramtica. No folk music, no tem pa rentesco com prtos, ndios e lusitanos, capaz at de nem ser folclore. [Que diabo frevo fina lmente?] Duarte was among most scholars of the period who tried to explain and fi nd justifications for the diversity present in Brazilian culture as

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21 they followed the trends of European supremacy present in Brazilian society. Duarte disagrees with all other attempts to find the origin of frevo in the Afro-Brazilian community. Although I disagree with Duartes denial of the Afro-B razilian influence on the origin of frevo, his book made an important contribution to the debate at the time and e xpressed the dominant view of the period. As frevo caught the attention of people around the world, it was consolidated as a symbol of identity of the state of Pernambuco, increasing scholarly attention on the subject. Local intellectuals started to view the topic in the cont ext of the society in which they lived. At the invitation of musicologist Curt Lange, playwright and theater di rector Valdemar de Oliveira wrote the book Frevo, Capoeira, e Passo (1985), which was first published as an article in 1946 in the Boletn Latino-Americano de Msica. Although one of the most complete works about the subject, Oliveiras book includes an analysis of the musical and so cial dimensions of frevo, but restricts the dance analysis to th e historical aspects of the traditi on. He argues that the origin of frevo steps lies in interaction between capoeiras5 and the marching bands in the Carnival of Recife, an assumption that would be que stioned throughout the following years. Among the literature I consulted in this wor k, the only scholar I found who attempted to place the origin of frevo outside of the state of Pernambuco was the former president of the Brazilian literary academy, Albert o da Costa e Silva, in his Um Rio Chamado Atlntico : A frica no Brasil e o Brasil na frica (2003). Costa e Silva disagrees with Oliveira on the origin of 5 Capoeiras in the nineteenth century were considered viol ent street thugs, and th ese Afro-Brazilian gang members were often used for political violence (especially during elections), in exchange for political protection with the police. It is important to distinguish the term capoeiras (street thugs of the nineteenth century), capoeira (the art of playing/dancing/fighting), and capoeiristas (denomination given to people who play capoeira after the 1930s, when the art is form alized with the creation of capoeira schools).

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22 frevo, and questions the fact that frevo is considered an inventi on of the state of Pernambuco [my translation]: I heard and watched frevo in October 1972 in Yamoussoukro, in the Ivory Coast It was during a party for President Houphouet-Boigny. A small group of musicians, with sansas drums and fifes, dressed as pa nthers or leopards started to play and dance what was for certain a [type of] frevo, and they told me it was a dance of senufo masks We Brazilians present did not hide our enthusiasm. This was so evident that Houphouet-Boigny invited a military band to play the music again. With horns and wood instruments, the Ivorian frevo became equal to the frevo of Recife. And we danced it! (Costa e Silva 2003, 187-188). [Eu ouvi tocar e vi danar o frevo, em outubro de 1972, em Yamoussoukro, na Costa do Marfim Foi numa festa em homenagem ao presidente Houphouet-Boigny. Um pequeno grupo de msicos, com sansas, tambores e pfa nos, e de rapazes vestidos de pantera ou leopardo comeou a tocar e a ba ilar o que era inubitavelmente um frevo e me disseram ser uma dana de mscaras senufo. Os brasileiros presentes no escondemos o nosso entusiasmo. Este foi to evidente, que H ouphouet-Boigny ordenou a uma banda militar que executasse de novo a msica. Com taris, metais e madeiras, o frevo marfiniano ficou igual ao recifense. E camos no passo!] Costa e Silva also addresses the disagreement of the origin of frevo by many intellectuals of Pernambuco, including the writer Joo Cabr al de Melo Neto. However, according to the scholar Paulo Fernando de Moraes Farias (c ited by Costa e Silva), a similar performance occurred in 1966, in Abidj, which convinced him th at the origin of frevo was linked to Africa. Costa e Silva believes that frevo was taken by the slaves from Brazil to Africa, in the same way as the little donkey or the bumba-meu-boi6 tradition, the samba the Brazilian guitar, the tambourine and the plate-and-knife7 (Moraes Farias, cited in Costa e Silva 2003, 188). [do mesmo modo que a burrinha ou o bumba-meu-boi, o samba, o violo, o pandeiro e o prato-efaca.] 6 Bumba-meu-boi is a folklore tradition that combines music, dance and comedy. It tells the story of death and resurrection of an ox in a play of human, animal and fantastic characters inspired in Indigenous mythology, blending Portuguese, Afro-Brazilian and Amerindian traditions. It started at the end of the eighteenth century in the coastal plantations and cattle ranches of Northeastern Brazil and it spread to the North and South. 7 The prato-e-faca is an AfroBrazilian use of European kitchen uten sils (dish and knife) as musical instruments. Usually played by women in the Afro-Brazilian tradition of the samba de roda a continuous sound is produced by the movement of the knife, as it is scratched on the edge of the dish.

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23 The search for such origins is purely specula tive and based on highly subjective linking of a similarity in sound and movement. Up to that point in history, the attention of scholars was based on these types of assumptions. The work s written by scholars born in Pernambuco tended to follow the view of the dominant class to whic h most of them belonged. Music scholars began to pay attention to frevo as the style was bei ng exported from Pernambuco to other parts of Brazil and to the world. As recognition of Afro-B razilian culture increased inside and outside Brazil, musicians, and later ethnomusicologists, st arted to write about frevo in tune with their line of thought. In 2000, the jour nalist Jos Teles in his Do Frevo ao Manguebeat traced the musical rhythms of Pernambuco starting from the development of frevo until the establishment and repercussion of the movimento manguebeat8 during the 1990s. The in formation in this book was not only central to my research, illustrating th e musical aspects of frevo, but also placed the tradition within the historical context of the stat e of Pernambuco up to th e twenty-first century. From the literary sources published outside of Brazil, I have drawn from the work of my mentor, the ethnomusicologist Larry Crook, Brazilian Music: Northeastern Traditions and the Heartbeat of a Modern Nation (2005), in which he analyzes the entrance of frevo in the Brazilian national consciousness through the countrys newly formed broadcast industr y centered in Rio de Janeiro. His work also addresses the transforma tion of frevo into an emblem of racial and cultural mixture, analyzing the changes which occu rred in the musical style as a consequence of modernization in Brazil, but which had experien ced a certain degree of stagnation by the 1980s. I also have drawn from the works of scholars Brbara Browning and Kenneth Dossar in their analyses of capoeira. 8 The manguebeat was a movement that begun by the bands Chic o Science & Nao Zumbi, Cascabulho, Mestre Ambrsio, Cho e Chinelo, among others. They mi xed the percussion-heavy local traditions of maracatu and coco with funk, rock, metal, punk, rap and hip hop, reinterp reting and revitalizing the musical heritage of Recife.

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24 The historical background of my investigation is taken from several sources related to Brazilian history. Freyres Casa Grande e Senzala: Formao da Famlia Brasileira sob o Regime de Economia Patriarcal (1933), Sobrados e Mocambos (1936), Regio e Tradio (1941), and Guia Prtico Histrico e Se ntimental da Cidade do Recife (1942) outlined the ideas that led to the myth of social and racial democracy spread in Br azil since the 1930s. For a deeper understanding of the context in which frevo finds itself in the state of Pernambuco and within Brazil, I have drawn from the writings of the historian Robert Levine in his Pernambuco in the Brazilian Federation, 1889-1937 (1978), and several works of tw o of my professors Jeffrey D. Needell, and M. Elizabeth Ginway, as well as the sources cited above, internet sources and published newspapers. Understanding the class structur e and the appropria tion of popular trad itions by the upper class was crucial to my investigation, and the work s written on Brazilian Ca rnival were of utmost importance. In Antologia do Carnaval (1991), folklorists Mrio Souto Maior and Leonardo Dantas e Silva collected the writings of severa l authors that were extr emely useful. Among them, Henry Kosters O Entrudo (1978), Jos Ramos Tinhoros O Carnaval no Romance Pernambucano (1991), Leonardo Dantas e Silv as O Frevo Pernambucano (1990), and Mrio Mellos A Origem e Significado do Frevo (1938) contributed to my understanding of frevo in the different historical periods of the Carnival tradition in Pernambuco. I have drawn on Rita de Cssia Barbosa de Arajos Festas: Mscaras do Tempo; Entrudo, Mascarada e Frevo no Carnaval do Recife (1996) as she placed the Pernambuco Carnival celebration in the context of Brazilian nationalism and identified it as one of the elements that influenced the construction of st ate and national identity. The work of Felipe Ferreira, O Livro de Ouro do Carnaval Brasileiro (2005), placed frevo within the broad national

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25 context of Brazilian Carnival, and compared its development in Pernambuco with the Brazilian national rhythm, samba an analysis I found necessary for understanding the presence of regionalist trends in Carnival. In analyzing the development of frevo and its dance aspects, the work of Maria Goretti Rocha de Oliveira, Danas Populares Como Espetculo Pblico no Recife de 1970 a 1988 (1993), provided important backgr ound for my own inves tigation of frevo. Oliv eiras interviews with Nascimento do Passo, members of the Bal Popular do Recife, its di rector Andr Madureira and the Grupo Folclrico Cleonice Veras served as important sources for my analysis of the staging of frevo. As a dance ethnographer, I also employed a co mbination of informal personal and group interviews, participation in dance classes, and the investigation of an unpublished booklet containing the main ideas of Nasc imento do Passos teaching method, Projeto 50 Anos de Frevo no P (50 years of frevo no p9 project), (Passo, 1998, Figure 1-1), press materials, and newspaper articles on the latest frevo productions. After the offici al celebration of Cem Anos de Frevo (A Hundred Years of Frevo) began in February 2007, different ideas about dance and identity have flourished in the society of Pern ambuco, and I look forward to seeing more written and choreographic material on the subject in the future. While recognizing the importance of the liter ature produced on frevo, the main objective of this work has been to give voice to the popular ar tists, who have dedicated their lives to frevo, and to investigate the impact of frevo on th e contemporary dance scene of Pernambuco. This investigation allows for the in creased understanding of the en counter, the mixing, and the recreation of frevo steps, facilita ting different interpretations of the subject. Using contemporary 9 The expression frevo no p Portuguese for frevo on the feet, is used to describe the act of dancing frevo.

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26 ideas, the process of formalization of frevo is que stioned, and movements are shown to be tied to individual expression, linking the tradition to its double origin, of both individual and spontaneous expression. My contact with contemporary dance started in 1996, when I first tr aveled to the United States. As a dancer, I worked with Jawole Willa Jo Zollar, and her dance company Urban Bush Women10 while they were in residence at the Univer sity of Florida. Ms. Zollars choreographic philosophy brought me back to the frevo world to which I belonged, causing me an instant identification with her choreographic material. Her requests for improvisa tion, the exploration of movements based in previous choreographe d material, and her em phasis on individual expression made me familiar with the world I had just entered by dancing for a contemporary company. The solos I performed in rehearsals remi nded me of the frevo so los I used to perform in Brazil. In every rehearsal and performance I found room for my own expression, for exploring my creativity, and for challenging my improvisati onal skills. Soon after, in 1998, I started my undergraduate studies at the University of Flor ida, and became more acquainted with modern and contemporary dance. The historical roots and the evolution of modern dance e xplain the desire of certain individuals to replace the rule s of classical ballet with the desire fo r self-expression. The development of modern dance, dating back to the early twentieth century, was based almost exclusively on dancers self-expre ssion. Breaking away from the rules of classical ballet, the first generation of modern dancers in spired many followers, who later codified steps, creating their own styles of teaching and performing. 10 Founded in 1984, the AfroAmerican contemporary dance company Urban Bush Women is based in Brooklyn, NY, and tours around the U.S.

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27 Developed primarily in the United States and Germany during the twentieth century, modern dance closely resembles mo dern art and music in its iconoc lasm and experimentation. It is typically conceptualized into three main histor ical phases. The first phase is characterized by the breaking of old patterns established by the cl assical ballet technique. Known today as the first generation of modern dance, artists involve d in this period included Isadora Duncan, Loie Fuller, Ruth St. Denis and Ted Shawn, in the United States, and Rudolf von Laban and Mary Wigman in Germany. These dancers rebelled against the rigid formalism, artifice, and superficiality of classical academic ballet a nd each sought to inspire audiences to a new awareness of inner or outer realities, a goa l shared by all subsequent modern dancers. The second generation of modern dancers was characterized by the codification and formalization of the styles created by th e previous generation. Among the dancers who participated in that phase we re Martha Graham, Doris Humphrey and Charles Weidman. The third phase, the period that pr eceded and motivated the ideas of the contemporary dance of today, was characterized by breaking away from the codification propos ed by the previous generation. The main names of this period we re disciples of the second generation and included Merce Cunningham and Lester Horton Although differing from one another, these distinct phases were a result of the dancers necessity to express th eir individual needs and visions. In contrast to folkloric and popular ex pressions, modern dance had no direct attachment to ritual, religion or classical tradition; inst ead, individual expression inspired the movement tendencies of dancers, who became known as th e fathers and mothers of modern dance.11 As a dance style, contemporary dance continued this process of rebellion from traditional and pre-established movement patterns of modern dance. Individual expression became its main 11 Although some of these dancers inves tigated rituals of different cultures, most of their work was based on their individual expressions, deliberately breaking away from previous classical ballet training.

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28 core, and it is a source of inspiration for choreo graphers and dancers. Subjective themes were explored and human questions invaded the stag es through movement. Consequently, traditional movement patterns are analyzed, broken with, and replaced by the creative vision of the choreographer who is believed to be constantly influenced by he r or his surroundings. In this period, the individual is seen as a product of the environment, as the one who constructs occupied space. As a cosmopolitan form of expression, contemporary dance has traveled through out the world, changing the dance scene of many countries that classical ballet had influenced in the past. Due to geographical and economic factors, Br azil received the firs t seeds of American modern and contemporary dance much later than the so-called developed countries. Within Brazil, the southeastern states of Rio de Janeiro and So Paul o were early centers of dance activity. In Pernambuco, this new approach did no t reach the dance scene until the late twentieth century. These southern Brazilian states ha ve had a stronger influe nce of European and American formal dance, and welcomed the first id eas of modern dance. For many years, classical ballet and American jazz dance were the two fo rmal styles taught in dance schools and theatres of Pernambuco. As a consequence of the exchan ge of dancers between dance companies of the Northeast and the Southeast, modern dance ga ined in popularity, eventually initiating the development of contemporary dance ideas in Pernambuco. In contrast to dancers in ot her parts of Brazil, those raised in Pernambuco are somewhat unique, since until now, most cont emporary dancers of Pernambuco have not been trained in a specific school of modern dance. Rather, thei r dance technique derives from their training in classical ballet schools, American jazz, their experience in popular dance companies, or in a mix

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29 of these dance experiences. In the dance realm, the Movimento Armorial12 in Pernambuco played a key role in motivating dancer s and dance companies to mix popular and classical forms and to incorporate popular dance vocabul ary in their dance training. In the 1970s, the Movimento Armorial pushed popular dance traditions to be staged as theatrical spectacles. This phase is characterized by the creation of the Bal Popular do Recife, influencing the founding of many other dance companies such as the Bal Brincantes, Companhia Trapi de Dana, Maracatu Nao Pernam buco, and Bal Braslica, just to cite a few. These companies led to the founding of several other dance companies that specialized in presenting the folklore of Pernambuco in forms of theatrical spectacles. Due to their dedication to staging popular dance trad itions, such groups started to be known as grupos parafolclricos distinguishing themselves fr om the community groups, known as grupos folclricos (folk groups), which are the groups that originally i nvented the traditions that are now being transformed and performed on stage. 13 When popular traditions are staged, they undergo a process of modification that is motivated by the adaptation of that tradition to its new environment. Choreographers and dancers of the grupos folclricos or grupos para-fol clricos adapt these traditions for a new purpose: audience entertainment. In Pernambuco, this pr ocess was motivated principally by the tourist industry, leading to the creation of the Bal Popular do Recife, and the many other dance groups soon after. 12 The Movimento Armorial was developed during the 1970s intending to blend erudite and popular culture. 13 This process can be compared, to a certain extent, to what happened in the dance scene of Bahia, where AfroBrazilian rituals are represented by dance companies in tour ist events. The Bal Folclrico da Bahia is one of the best examples. Although named Bal Folclrico da Bahia this group is considered a grupo or bal para-folclrico due to its professional intention. Often groups that are by definition grupos para-folclricos, are known as grupos folclricos.

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30 Today, in addition to the founding of many popular dance companies, the state of Pernambuco is also unique because of its contemporary dance companies, which are concerned with using popular traditions as source of inspiration for their shows. As a result of their attention to local traditions, a specific and unique vocabulary of movement developed among the contemporary choreographers, and in blending p opular traditions with contemporary concepts, they have created a pattern firmly imbedded in the choreography and dance technique of the state. Among the traditional dances that have been staged up to today, frevo has been the one that has influenced the contemporary dance s cene the most. The formalization of frevo has inspired the formalization of other dance traditions in the state, and at the same time, these other dance traditions have consolidated a technique th at is inspiring contemporary choreographers to break new ground in the construction of their styles It can be said that dancers in Pernambuco have been highly influenced by frevo in their dance technique. Used in diverse ways, frevo steps, along with technical nuances, are present in the numerous pieces, and are firmly rooted in the dancers unique body movement. The Significance of this Study As one of the most important Carnival tr aditions in Brazil, frevo was designated a historical patrimony in 2007 by the IPHAN, the Instituto do Patrimnio Histrico e Artstico Nacional (Artistic and Historical National Patrimony Institute). Ho wever, most literature written on frevo explores the music, giving little attentio n to the importance of dance and its influence on theaters and dance companies. An investigation of the ideology that elevated frevo music and dancing to a regional symbol will enha nce our understanding of the tradition. Throughout this work, I consider the literatur e written on racial mixture and the scant literature written on frevo, ar guing that frevo is linked to the nationalist ideology of

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31 mestiagem in twentieth century Brazil. First and foremost, frevo is viewed as a regional identity symbol for the state of Pernambuco. S econd, frevo has been associated within Brazil with the mixture of the three races (African, Amerindian and European). The ideology of downplaying the Afro-Br azilian component in Pernambuco cultural traditions has been present in the dominant class, mostly compos ed of those of European descent. As a dance style, frevo is characterized by the contrast of individual versus group expression. The individualized im provisational nature of frevo st reet performance is being used by contemporary choreographers as inspiration fo r the formalization and st aging of the tradition. The steps once created by the common people in the streets become the inspiration for the tcnica (dance technique) taught at frevo schools. Presenting the importance of these elements for the contemporary dance scene of Pernambuco, this work shows the development of frevo and the influence of traditional te ndencies, spread among the populat ion, on the dance itself, and on its tendency to constantly change. Generations of musicians and dancers have consciously or unconsciously contributed to the development of frevo Frevo dancing has influenced th e emergence of many other dance styles, caught the interest of scholars, and given tourists th e opportunity to experience its significance in the streets of Pernambucos Carniv al. However, despite the pervasive influence of frevo on the tourist industry and on the dance scene of Pernambuco, little scholarly attention has been paid to it as a dance form. As a teacher and performer of frevo, I intend to fill in this void and provide a more accurate historical groun ding for the new generation of dancers, giving more recognition to the people who have developed and maintained the tradition. The informal interviews presented in this study allowed me to collect specific dates, photos and video material on the particip ation of popular artists, includi ng children, in the creation of

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32 methods of teaching and staging frevo. Through my participation and observation in frevo classes, and my experience as a frevo dan cer, I compared the pedagogical methods and choreographic approaches used by dancers during fr evo performances. Archival research visits to the Museu do Frevo, Museu do Homen do Nordes te, Casa do Carnaval, and many Carnival associations in the cities of R ecife and Olinda were helpful for the collection of relevant written material such as books and newspaper articles on the subject. I intend that the recordings and written materi al resulting from my field work contribute not only to the process of formalization and deve lopment of frevo, but also to the consolidation of the professional frevo world, through the inclusion of frevo dancers in the job market. Although being formalized and staged, frevo has been preserved mainly through street performance, surviving as a popular tradition in the Carnivals of Pernambuco. While the presence of frevo during Carnival has continue d to popularize the dance, it has decreased the acceptance of professional frevo dancers in the job market. Th e association of frevo with Carnival to some extent has infl uenced the acceptance of frevo in the professional dance scene of the state, making it harder for frevo dancers to be recognized as professional dancers. For some formally trained dancers, frevo is not considered suitable for the stage. In Pernambuco, professional frevo dancers14 struggle to make a living, which leads them to perform other dance styles as a way out of th eir dire socio-economic condition. Because of the nature of frevo as a dance tradit ion, one that includes the street Carnivals and the stages, it is hard to distinguish an amateur from a profession al dancer of frevo. For the purpose of this study, I consider frevo dancers who are paid to perform as professional. I find it useful to separate them in three groups, since different orientat ion and background link fr evo dancers to class 14 As frevo dancers I refer to dancers who have taken the performance of frevo as a profession, most often known as passistas.

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33 issues illustrating the complex nature of frevo: 1dancers who have learned frevo through their street experience and today perform in tourist events; 2dancers who have learned frevo by attending a school and/or perfor ming for a popular dance company; 3dancers who have been trained in contemporary or classi cal dance, and today perform the new interpretations of frevo, as the style is being staged by contemporary choreographers. Most dancers who best represent frevo are living in the slums surrounding Recife. Although their dedication to frevo facilitates their in clusion in society, for these dancers, performing frevo can not yet be considered a lifetime career. Recognizing the importance of frevo for the people of Pernambuco and its ability to reach the lower classes of the society (since it originated from the povo) will eventually allow frevo dancers to survive as professionals. As one young frevo dancer described [my translation]: Most of the teenagers who live in the same slum I do are looked on as criminals and are feared by everyone. I am different because I dance frevo, so they look at me as the artist, and I am proud of that the problem is that I never make money when I perform, so I will have to find something else for me to do God knows what. (Werison Fidelis, interviewed on 07/16/06) [A maioria dos jovens, que vive na mesma fa vela que eu vivo, vista como bandidos e temida por todo mundo. Eu sou diferente porque eu dano frevo, ento eles olham pra mim como o artista, e eu tenho orgulho diss o o problema que eu nunca fao dinheiro quando eu dano, ento eu vou ter que achar ou tra coisa pra mim fazer sabe Deus o que.] Werison Fidelis is among the hundreds of young passistas who daily face the dire poverty of Pernambuco. Through this work, I analyse the process of formalization of frevo within the sociorealities of the dance scene in the twenty-first centu ry. The popularity of frevo is incongruous with the poverty of th e dancers, and since I see danci ng as a tool for education and change, it is my hope that by providing more information on the topic, I will make progress toward facilitating this change. My research is intended to inform scholar s and others about the

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34 development of frevo, and recognize the efforts of individuals who have i nvested their lives in the preservation of this im portant dance tradition. The Data Collected and Research Methods In 1998, right before I traveled to the U.S. to pursue a career as a professional dancer, I visited Nascimento do Passo. He was teaching frevo in the Escola Municipal de Frevo, a school sponsored by the city of Recife. I had previous ly studied under Nascimento do Passo in a public school, and had learned the steps he created as I worked for the da nce companies, but I had never intended to research frevo formally. With the intent to take my last frevo class wi th Nascimento do Passo before I left my home town, Recife, I spent the entire day at the school. With the knowle dge of my plans to travel, we agreed on a special class, in which we spontan eously danced and discussed the steps he was teaching that day. As we danced for many hours, he explained his teaching methods to me, and he mentioned his dream of having frevo taught in all schools and universities. Before I left the school, he presented me with a booklet he had pu t together with the multi-media artist Antnio Nbrega on his method of teaching, Projeto 50 Anos de Frevo no P (50 Years of Frevo no P Project), mentioning his dream that the booklet was translated into English. He emphasized that my trip to the U.S. might turn out to be an oppor tunity to accomplish that, entrusting me to do so. At the time, the booklet added to my understand ing of the steps he had created, thereafter inspiring my dancing career in the U.S. After taking his class, he insi sted I videotaped a combinati on of steps he had catalogued, so that, in his words, you do not forget them a nd can teach what you know to the foreign people you will encounter (Assim voc no esquece eles e pode ensinar o que voc sabe para as pessoas estrangeiras que voc va i encontrar.) Nascimento do Passo seemed to understand my

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35 desire to teach frevo abroad, but he did not realize how much his philosophy would influence my dance career, and how much it w ould inspire my dance research. Growing up in the 1980s, I had always known Nascimento do Passo as a famous frevo teacher in Recife. He distinguished himself from other frevo teachers by wearing frevo costumes every day of the year, not only during Carnival or performances, and he was known for having taught the best frevo dancers in the state. Although popular dance had been always part of my background (I grew up dancing also other north eastern popular dance traditions, such as pastoril, maracatu, ciranda, coco, xaxado, bumba-meu-boi, etc.), my interest in frevo, other than in Carnival, began when I joined the dance compan y Brasiliana directed by Marcos and Ana Melo in 1990. This dance company rehearsed in the neighbor hood of Afogados, in the suburbs of Recife, and was composed mostly of professional danc ers who had studied under Nascimento do Passo and/or danced for the Bal Popular do Recife. While participating in the Brasiliana I first learned a new way that frevo could be performed on stag e. The company was composed of dancers with little formal education, with orig ins in the lower classes, who in tended to stage popular dance to take it abroad. Our choreographic method consis ted of using frevo steps taught by Nascimento do Passo and Coruja, or particip ating in street Carnivals. Our philosophy was to incorporate people trained in classical ballet in to the company, in order to add more technique and quality to th e performance. My own formal training led to my inclusion to the company. By technique we meant a degree of performance quality that required formal dance training, the ability to me morize dance steps, and to perform them in a certain order. We intended to dance for the audi ences expectations, inst ead of improvising, as frevo dancers do during Carnival or in performa nce for hotel lobbies a nd tourist events. We

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36 thought that only classical ballet training could teach that type of performance quality. Our intention was to show frevo on stage, for this reason we emphasized synchronism, virtuosity, endurance, and performance quality. Our view was that frevo did not belong exclus ively to Carnival nor did it serve only as a tourist attraction, instead it functioned as a source of inspiration for new choreographic creations. Although the Bal Popul ar do Recife had staged fre vo among other popular dances, in our opinion, their productions showed similar characteristics to fr evo performances for tourists. In fact, that companys financia l survival depended of performances for tourists. They intended to preserve what had become known by the pe ople of Pernambuco as the authentic frevo. After joining the dance company Brasiliana, my interest in performi ng popular dance, and in the adaptation of folkloric expressions to formal stage settings increased. Soon after, I joined the Grupo Folclrico de Canto e Dana de Olinda (1991), a folkloric group directed by Carlos Ivan de Melo. This company aspired to show Po rtuguese and Brazilian dance traditions and to reduce the cultural distance between Brazil and Port ugal. Most of our shows aimed at tourists and events for middle-class audiences in Brazil or Portugal due to its tourist approach, in this group, frevo was purposely shown as a fo lkloric expression of Pernambuco. Gradually, the name and frevo steps of Nasc imento do Passo and Coruja became part of my professional life. My friendship with the passista (frevo dancer) Henrique Figueira, and dancers of the Companhia Olinda na (a popular dance company I directed), also motivated my interest in investigating this dance style more fully.15 15 The passista Henrique Figueira died in 2006 for lack of financial condition for health treatment. His determination to have frevo as his lifetime career deeply inspired my work with the dancers of the Companhia Olindana.

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37 At this point, the careers of several fre vo dancers inspired me While Nascimento do Passos booklet serves as a tool for the analysis of the formalization of frevo, it is my sincere hope that by writing this study, I can continue to fulfill part of his dream of having frevo taught in formal settings. I write this work in Corujas and Henrique Figueiras memory, and I wish to dedicate it to Nascimento do Passo as a way of thanking him for his generosity and dedication to frevo, which has been an inspiration to me in my professional dance career. Frevo dancers in the state of Pernambuco ar e numerous, but my own personal experience and data collection led me to focus on the infl uence of Nascimento do Passo and Coruja on the states dance scene, which made the gathering of material about their live s the starting point of my research. In fact, some of the data collected fo r this work dates back to a time before I started my Masters degree at the University of Flor ida in 2005, such as Nascimento do Passos booklet, and several of his quotations which date back to 1998. The information from archives retrieved during my field work in 2006 confirmed the influence of Coruja and Nascimento do Passo on Pernambucos dance scene. This led me to interview former students of Nascimento do Passo, professional dancers, and choreographers of popular dance companies, who, through their da ncing and choreographi c creations reflect Nascimento do Passos and Corujas influe nce and impact of frevo on the popular and contemporary dance scene. For the purpose of this work, I chose to i nvestigate the teaching methodology applied at the Escola Municipal de Frevo Ma estro Fernando Borges, which I consider to be one of the most important sites for the development of contempor ary frevo. It was there, when the school was still named Escola Municipal de Frevo, that Nascimento do Passo developed his own unique method of teaching frevo.

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38 Today, in Pernambuco and beyond, dancers a nd choreographers from diverse dance backgrounds are exploring different ways of staging frevo. Differe nt approaches, dance training, and socio-economic factors lead choreographers to search for new dance styles, thereby influencing the staging of frevo. In my view the use of individual expression emphasized by Nascimento do Passo has directly influenced today s choreographic creations. It is my wish that other dancers, choreographers and dance companies of Pern ambuco, although not specifically highlighted in this study, also be recognized by th is research. Hence, the limited time for field work and the nature of my work forced me to narrow my line of inquiry to these basic issues. While investigating the infl uence of frevo on the contemporary dance scene of the state, my experience with the Bal Bras lica, (which originated from the Bal Popular do Recife) led my choice to write about this dance company sp ecifically. Aditionally, I found the choreography of Valria Vicente to be the most accessible and di rectly related to my research. This is not to say that other contemporary dancer s and choreographers have not c ontributed to the influence of frevo in the contemporary dance scene, but the lim ited nature of this study does not allow me to delve into all of them. 16 Besides the importance of Nascimento do Pa sso and Coruja in Pernambuco, one event guided my work. As I returned to Recife in July 2006 for my field re search, I learned that Nascimento do Passo had been accused of a crime. Shocked by the news, I had to overcome the difficulty of gathering information on a topic wh ich people were avoiding. Most people, dancers and non-dancers alike, were hesitant to inform me about his life due to the fact that he had been 16 The works of Mnica Lira (Grupo Experimental), Maria Paula Costa Rgo (Grupo Grial), Cludia So Bento (Cia dos Homens), Raimundo Branco (Compassos Cia de Dana), Meia-Noite (Grupo Daru Malungo), Trajetos Cia de Dana (Kleber Azevedo), Marlia Hammer and Maringela Va lena (Cia de Dana Artefolia), Christiane Galdino, Srgio Valentim and Olyvier, and my own choreography, among several others, are examples of the interaction between popular and contemporary dance.

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39 fired from the school he had f ounded, and was being prosecuted, while the school had been taken over by the governmental authorities, which proh ibited Nascimento do Passo from returning. Every effort I made to communicate with Nasc imento do Passo was frustrated by peoples fear of being associated with cr iminal activity. Newspaper articles reported the situation from the perspective of a mother of th e student who claimed to be sexually harassed by Nascimento do Passo. Although I will always have Nascimento do Passo as a mentor, in this study, I hope to remain without bias, and I will no t attempt to judge the accusation. I cannot help but note, however, the impact of th is scandal. The fact that this first impeded my research, illustrated to me the type of situ ations that are linked to the impoverished life conditions of most frevo dancers, offering a soci ological dimension to my study. Up to this point, none of the accusations have been proven, but Na scimento do Passo has lost his job. Since the time of the accusation, he has been living on the isla nd of Itamarac, near the outskirts of Recife; he has suffered a stroke, and has stopped danc ing and teaching frevo. It seems unjust that somebody who had always worked towards the pr eservation of frevo wo uld end up spending his twilight years in such dire conditions. How many people inside and outside of Pernambuco have benefitted from his dream of formalizing and preserving frevo? How many are making profit from the method he invented? Nascimento do Pa ssos decline and economic difficulties inform the socio-economic background of this study. The data gathered in th is study illustrate Nascimento do Passos contribution to frevo, and the living conditions of poverty of most people in Pernambuco, not to mention frevo dancer s who suffer from social prejudice and discrimination. The Structure of the Thesis This thesis is divided into 5 chapters. The major purpose is to investigate the development of frevo, and the influence of popular artists in the contemporary dance scene of Pernambuco. In

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40 the previous pages, I have explained my resear ch methods, the data colle cted, the objectives, and relevance of the study, and I provi de the literature re view on the topic. It investigates the previous studies on frevo and addresses the idea th at most scholarship ab out frevo is written by Brazilians scholars (not dancers) in Brazil. Part of my own motivation to undertake this research came from the saudade experienced when I moved to the U.S. As a Brazilian frevo dancer from Pernambuco, living outside her native land, I have trie d to contrast the information written by scholars with my own views and personal experiences. Chapter 2 focuses on the historical contex t for this study. I begin by presenting some general information on the history of Carnival in Pernambuco, and then I analyze the issues of class and race which led to the early manifestations of Carnival imposed by the upper class. The founding of working class Carnival associations in Pernambuco ( clubes pedestres ) is then analyzed in parallel to the beginning of the el ite masquerade ball tradition. This chapter reveals the tendency of the state to control public cele brations, illustrating the rivalry among the military marching bands which began the history of frevo. Discussing the histor ical process after the proclamation of the Republic, I argu e that issues of national and regional identity, exemplified by frevo contests and regionalist movements, illu strated the struggles of the society in the production and reproduction of the frevo tradition. Chapter 3 illustrates the life histories of two popular artis ts, Coruja and Nascimento do Passo, as they worked towards the preservation and transformation of th e tradition. Nascimento do Passos methodology for teaching frevo is contrast ed with Corujas attempt to stage it. The process of taking their life experiences as street dancers to stage the tr adition is explained by information gathered in newspaper articles and through personal interviews. The histories of the

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41 elements that constitute todays authentic frevo, such as the frevo costumes, are also present and illustrate the collaboration of popular artist s in the development of the dance. It also addresses the basic elements of Na scimento do Passos teaching methodology. Chapter 4 focuses on the development of Nascimento do Passos teaching philosophy based on individual expression. Frevo is compar ed to contemporary dance, and personal experiences are used to explain the contribution of th e individual expression shared by these two dance forms. I illustrate the influence of the Movimento Armorial in staging popular traditions of Pernambuco and of the Northeast, explaining the si ngular influence of frevo in the dance training of the Bal Popular do Recife in the past decades. I then analyze the work of contemporary artists of Pernambuco, illustrating the tendency toward both innovation and preservation through research on the historical roots of the tradition, noting how they break away from the concepts of authenticity embedded in frevo as a folkloric expr ession. These data are placed into the historical context presented in the previous chapters through informal interviews and my own participation in dance classes. In chapter 5, I conclude that the individual ex pression of frevo is an essential element for the contemporary dance scene of Pernambuco illust rating its influence in the works of the new generation of contemporary dancers and c horeographers. To understand Pernambucos contemporary dance scene and the unique style of its dancers and choreogr aphers, we must trace its historical roots and recognize the influence of frevo and popular artists in the streets, dance classes and theatres of Pernambuco.

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42 Figure 1-1 Nascimento do Passos Booklet Proje to 50 Anos de Frevo no P. Photo by Juliana Azoubel

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43 CHAPTER 2 FREVO: BOILING IN THE LAND OF RACIAL DEMOCRACY Although frevo is promoted through innumerable TV and radio commercials, music albums, and tourist events as a symbol of identity for the state of Pernambuco, only a very small portion of the population of Pernambuco is aw are of the historical and cultural roots of frevo. The first documented usage of the term frevo appeared in 1907, in the newspaper O Pequeno Recifes population, however, had already been using slang terms derived from the mispronunciation of the Portuguese verb ferver17 (to boil over) to describe the animation and effervescence encountered in the crowds of the Ca rnival. In this chapter, I will investigate the historical roots of frevo in the nineteenth century and then tra ce the development of frevo from the turn of the twentieth century to the present. In order to understand the dance elements of frevo, it is import ant to comprehend the context in which the first steps of this popul ar tradition took place. While 1907 is formally recognized as the beginning of frevo, the deve lopment of the dance techniques and musical repertoire began much earlier. The influen ce of the European marching band tradition and the Afro-Brazilian fight/dance capoeira18 are crucial to understanding the origins of frevo. Additionally, Brazilian colonial history contributed to the cont ext in which frevo originated. In O Folklore no Carnaval do Recife (Recifes Folklore in Carnival), American folklorist Katarina Real describes Brazilian colonial society and the soci o-cultural environment in which frevo groups emerged in the Carnival of Recife (Real 1990, 8). Citing French anthropologist 17 The verb ferver was often mispronounced as frever which is said to be the origin of the word frevo. 18 Considered an art-form, Capoeira originated among Afro -Brazilians as a mechanism of both direct and indirect resistance to the oppressive controls and violence of Braz ils slave culture in the countrys colonial era. (Crook 2005, 181)

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44 Roger Bastidess reference to Carnival in Recife she writes: to the folk lorist observing Recife during Carnival, it seems clear th at this Carnival is a type of music school of old habits and tradition (Bastides 1945, 199 cited in Real 1990, 8). [Para o folclorista que observa Recife durante o Carnaval parece, com grande nitidez, que esse Carnaval uma espcie de conservatrio dos antigos hbitos e tradies.] The elements found in the Carnival of Recife are symbols of cultural identity of many of todays ethnic and social groups present in Pe rnambuco. From the perspective of mid-twentiethcentury scholars, frevo and Carniv al itself represented traditions of the past. Indeed the frevo tradition was constructed around the notion of repr esenting and preserving the authentic culture of the people of Pernambuco, people of mixed or igin, represented by the word povo. Despite the appropriation of the tradition by the upper class, the origin of frevo has always been linked to the povo, the lower stratum of society. From Entrudo to Carnival One of the groups particularly re levant for this analysis is me ntioned by Pereira da Costa in the book Folclore Pernambucano. Da Costa refers to a group of blacks from Recife, who formed the companhias (companies) of dockworkers, and who traditionally partic ipated in the urban festivities of the period called entrudos (Costa 1908, 238). Derived from the Latin introitus, the entrudo was a three-day-long celebrati on that anticipated the Lenten season of Catholicism. Present in Brazil since the beginning of the colonial period in Pernambuco, the entrudo was characterized by the mixing of different social classes and playful games, songs and dances. The first time the term entrudo was used in a formal documen t in Brazil was in a text of November 10, 1553, found in the Denunciaes do Sa nto Oficio in Pernambuco (Silva and Souto Maior 1991, XIV). Sociologist Felip e Ferreira wrote [my translation]:

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45 It was even common during the period before Lent for the big land owners and the small farmers to leave their rural homes to go to the nearest villages to participate in the festivities called fat days, [days before the penitence of Lent] that were for a long time, similar to the festivities of Portugal. (Ferreira 2004, 80) [Era inclusive comum que durante o perodo ante rior Quaresma os grandes fazendeiros e os pequenos lavradores deixassem suas habita es rurais e se dirigissem s vilas mais prximas para participarem das diverses dos chamados dias gordos, que, durante muito tempo, foram similares s acontecidas em Portugal.] Following the model of the urban cities of Portugal, Pernambuco was hierarchically divided into many social groups dur ing the colonial era. Despite these class divisions, the entire population participated in public religious or civic events. Afro-Brazilians comprised the overwhelming majority of the poor population. Following this period, two types of entrudos emerged. The entrudo familiar featured primarily middle-class Euro-Brazilian populatio n and took place inside of the house, and among family and friends. The other entrudo, the entrudo popular involved the poor population of slaves, and ex-slaves and took plac e mainly in the streets. The entrudo familiar was a private occurrence organized by young men and women of the middle class. The entrudo popular was a public celebration characterized by the partic ipation of the economically marginalized population, who often resorted to physicality to assert their pa rticipation in festivities. During most of the year, members of the middl e class avoided leaving their homes at night, fearing the risk of robbery and pe rsonal assaults, safeguarding themse lves in the streets in transit by using carriages or strolling in groups. Many sc holars have argued that this fear caused the streets to be dominated almost exclusively by slaves. Accordi ng to Ferreira [my translation]: Taking advantage of these moments of pleas ure provided by the festive atmosphere of freedom, the black slaves not only participated in the customs of throwing water, but also held festivities in their own manner. During th e days of the entrudo it was not rare to see groups of slaves showing themselves off in processional parades, with dance and music known as congos or cucumbis. (Ferreira 2004, 93)

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46 [Aproveitando-se desses mome ntos de regozijo e do relaxamento dos costumes provocado pela atmosfera de liberdade festiva, os negr os escravos no somente se entregavam s molhaas, mas tambm realizavam festas sua maneira. No era raro ver-se, durante os dias comemorativos do Entrudo, grupos de escra vos exibindo-se em cortejos processionais, com danas e msicas, chamados de Congos ou Cucumbis.] The separation of lower and upper class manifest ations of Carnival was not an official policy, but governmental forms of co ntrol were clearly aimed at the entrudo popular, not the entrudo familiar. As a reaction to these public displays of anarchy, Brazilian elite families used their influence to curtail the street parties of the entrudo popular Ironically, attempts to prohibit the popular festivities never fully succeeded be cause members of the elite also began to participate in the street entrudos At the same time, when participating in the entrudo popular the members of the elite maintain ed their own social standing. For example, the throwing of dirty water at people, one of the common customs, illustrates this division, since the poor were not allowed to throw water back at the members of the upper class. This practice goes against some analyses of Carnival, which considers it a ti me of inversion of social categories (Bakhtin 1968, 15). After the abolition of slavery in the late ni neteenth century in 1888, the population of exslaves formed a sizable portion of the new worki ng class in Recife. They comprised the majority of people who participated in the public entrudo which, since the seventeenth century, had been associated with disorder and so cial anarchy. Since the beginning of the century, Brazilian society was changing rapidly in all areas. The year of 1808 marked the year that the Portuguese monarchy established itself in the Americas escaping Napoleon. The Portuguese Royal Court, having moved from Portugal to Rio de Janeir o, began administrating the Portuguese Empire from Brazil. With the arriva l of about 15,000 new inhabitants in Rio, the Brazilian capital was transformed by the influx of customs of European cosmopolitan culture (dominated by French ideals). For instance, in 1816, D. Joo VI brought the Misso Francesa (the French Mission) to

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47 Brazil with the intention of br inging high culture to the Braz ilian people (Ferreira 2004, 104). This mission began to draw and document the flor a and fauna, as well as the urban centers of Brazil. The ideals of freedom, associated with French Revolution, which later influenced Brazilian Independence, were brought by the new Europe an inhabitants. After Brazil achieved independence in 1822, when Pedro I became Empe ror of Brazil, French cultural influence increased. Portugal was viewed as old-fashioned, while France was considered the center of the modern world by the Brazilian elite, which was co mprised of merchants, planters, governmental workers and the royal court. By 1830, the Braz ilian elite considered the Portuguese-related entrudo unfit for a country that aimed to be equal to the more civilized co untries of the world. This extended to Pernambuco. Wr iting in the Recifes newspaper O Carapuceiro, in 1834, Padre Lopes Gama stated, [my translation]: For what reason, imitating the more cultured c ountries, do we not eliminate the barbaric and rude celebration of the entrudo ? In truth, what does it mean to make a population crazy for three days every year, imitating all excitement of the Bacchae,19 in that unhappy pagan time? Men and women mixing together, getti ng all dirty and muddy, pl aying all types of crazy games! (Gama, Padre Lopes in O Carapuceiro, cited by Arajo 1993, 154) [Por que raso imitando as naes mais cultas, no eliminamos o brbaro, e grosseirissimo divertimento do Entrudo? Em verdade, o que quer dizer enlouquecer todos os annos huma populao inteira por trs dias, imitando todos os devarios, e furores das Baccantes, nos tempos desgraados do Paganismo? Homens e mulheres baralhados, todos sujos, enla [mea] dos e fazendo toda laia de desatinos!] In the attempt to separate themselves from the mess of the povo represented by the popular entrudo the elite developed their own exclusiv e Carnival balls, which were elegant, formalized, and civilized celebrations, inspired by Parisian etiquette and by the Carnivals of the Italian and French cities of Ve nice and Nice. In the social space designed for the elite, members 19 The expression Baccantes is used here to address the people who followed the traditi ons of the Roman god Bacco (Dionysus), the god of wine and pleasure, according to legend.

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48 of the lower class were not permitted to partic ipate. Throughout urban Brazil, Carnival balls civilized and contro lled the pre-Lenten festivity of the upper cla sses. In Pernambuco, there was a desire on the part of the elite to Europ eanize themselves, leading to masquerade balls becoming an important Carnival tradition. Soon af ter that, they moved from private homes where they initially began, to exclusive clubs, theatres and other commercial pub lic establishments. For instance, in 1847, two local sites of elite Euro-Brazilian culture in Recife, the Teatro do Parque and Teatro Apolo, held public Carnival balls for the elite. In short, by the 1850s, the population of Recife had transferred to Carnival the same rules imposed by colonial society in general, separati ng people according to th eir social standing. The lower class continued the dirty games of the entrudo popular while in the masquerade balls of the private clubs and theatres, the members of the ruling class followed contemporary European cultural models. At private balls, the use of masked costumes became fashionable while surviving as an indispensable way for the elite to control entry and participation in such events by the poor who could not afford such elaborate costumes. By the end of the nineteenth century, cont emporary European social dances (waltzes, polkas, schottisches and quadrilles) became an impor tant part of these masquerade balls. Around 1850, the cancan 20 entered the balls, bringing the French popular style of dancing to Brazilian ballrooms. In the beginning of the twentieth cen tury, the influence of North American culture also made its way into the elite balls when the one-step and the ragtime were introduced as dance styles. At the same time, a rhythm known simply as marcha, conceptualized as typically Brazilian, invaded the streets of Brazilian urban centers. 20 Originated from the cachucha a Spanish dance popularized in Paris in the beginning of the nineteenth century, the cancan was originally danced by couples, as a popular quadrille As the dance entered Brazilian ballrooms, the couples would split and freely dance, inventing several steps, including the most popular, the lifting and swinging of the legs, that characterizes the dance up to today.

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49 In Rio de Janeiro, the Carnival marcha was characterized as a mi x of polka, one-step, and ragtime, having its origins in the marcha-rancho popularized by Chiquinha Gonzagas21 composition Abre Alas. The effect of marchas was two-fold as Tinhoro portrays in this way [my translation]: By adopting the formation of religious processions, ranchos brought a measure of discipline to the chaos of Carnival. Chiquinha Gonzagas main motif of her marcha of 1899, Abre Alas, was openly in spired by the rhythms that blacks used in their parade music, as they went al ong singing their b arbaric songs. (Tinhoro 1991, 119) [Foram os ranchos que ao adotarem a formao das procisses religiosas, instituram um mnimo de disciplina em meio ao caos do carnaval, sugerindo desde logo maestrina Chiquinha Gonzaga, em 1899, motivo para a ma rcha abre alas, declaradamente inspirada na cadncia que os negros imprimi am passeata, enquanto desfilavam cantando suas msicas brbaras.] In Recife, the seeds for the beginning of the effervescent rhythm of frevo were planted by the marcha-frevos which coincided with the compositions of the first sambas of Rios Carnival. However, Brazilian folklorist Cmara Cascudo has stated [my translation]: The Carnival of the groups and ranchos of the samba schools of Ri o de Janeiro is not like that of the Carnival of Recife, where there is popular participati on, a human wave that moves, turns and vibrates in the choreogra phy, in the specific and personal time of frevo, suggested by the irresistible and unique marchas-frevos of Pernambuco. (Cascudo 1962, 186) [O carnaval dos grupos e dos ranchos, das esco las de samba do Rio de Janeiro no o carnaval do Recife, o carnaval da participao coletiva na onda humana que se desloca, contorce e vibra na coreografia, a um tem po pessoal e geral do frevo, com a sugesto irresistvel de suas marchas-frevos pernambucanas, insubstituveis e nicas.] In agreement with Cmara Cascudo, later scho lars have emphasized popular participation as one of the core elements of frevo in th e Carnival of Pernambuco. The reference to the personal time of frevo leads to the analyses of the urban scene of Recife, which, influenced by modernization, began in Carnival groups of urban workers. Emerging out of a colonial society of 21 After listening to rehearsals of th e Carnival group Rosa de Ouro, Chiquinha Gonzaga composed the first marcha of Brazilian Carnival. It is said that up to that time, me mbers of Carnival groups of the elite paraded reciting verses, without any musical accompaniment.

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50 slavery and patriarchy, Pernambuco was divided into several social classes th at gave rise to the origin of the Carnival associations and late r to its unique social mixture during Carnival. Although in the nineteenth cen tury the urban population c onsisted mostly of African descendents (in 1839, Afro-Brazilians made up al most 60% of the population), only with the abolition of slavery in Brazil ( 1888), and the advent of the Brazi lian Republic (1889), did newly free blacks of Recife join the Carnival groups formed of urban working class workers. These Carnival groups were formed based on specific occupations. Nonetheless, in 1869, as a result of modernization, the foundation of the first working-class clube pedestre or walking club, known as the Clube dos Azucrins, had officially began th e tradition of Carnival associations, inspiring new groups. These clubes pedestres provided one of the first oppor tunities for the development of frevo as a music and dance style. Within the walking clubs, membership cut across racial lines and included a mix of working class blacks, mestios, mulattos, and whites, who worked as ironworkers, street cleaners, dockworkers, etc. Their presence in the streets of Recife and pa rticipation in Carnival associations challenged the elite control of Carnival and was thus seen as a return to the mess of the entrudos populares The term volta do entrudo (the return of entrudo ) became a recurring theme in the press of the period, not only in Recife, but in most Brazi lian urban centers. The particular way in which the society of Pernambuco reacted to this strugg le for the public space co ntributed to the unique nature of the Carnival in Recife. During this period, the upper classes in Rio imported Parisian cultural models, and their counterparts in Reci fe also borrowed these and imported French models directly, which led to the creation of both national and regional identities in Recife.

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51 Guarding the Nation, Maintaining Order, Controlling the Society Here I will tie in the role of the military to frevo. After the Proclamation of the Republic, in 1889, the military, which once served to preserve order in the nation, re-a sserted its control in the provinces, reflecting th e policy of the central government, became responsible for maintaining local order and for constructing the im age of a civilized society. As part of the military, marching bands were created to accompany civic celebrations. In Pernambuco, bands played an important role in developing the frevo music. They became part of the public performance context of Carnival in whic h frevo was created, mainly through the clubes pedestres The two principal military bands of the tim e in Recife, O Quarto and Espanha, became known for transforming their dobrados and polkamarchas into a faster rhythm. The street Carnival and social clubs, called clubes de rua (street-clubs), incorporated their compositions and changed their tempo to match the movements of the people in the streets. This process gave rise to the marcha pernambucana (later called marcha-frevo ), which, by 1905 had all the characteristics of the rhythm known today as frevo-de-rua (street-frevo). Among the pedestrians who moved along in the wave in the streets, were the capoeiras, who followed the bands and interacted with the frevo music, spontaneous ly moving and creating the dance that became known as o passo.22 Here, I use the word capoeiras to refer to the people w ho played capoeira during the nineteenth century. The practice of capoeira ha d started in the slave quarters of Brazils 22 Valdemar de Oliveira was the first author to distinguish frevo dance from frevo music. According to Oliveira, O passo is the set of steps that characterizes the soloist dan ce performance in the streets of the Carnival of Recife, under the metal sounds of a frev o orchestra (Oliveira 1985, 61). [O passo o conjunto de passos que caracterizam o bailado solis ta executado, nas ruas car navalescas do Recife, sob o estridor metlico de uma orquestra de frevo].

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52 plantations as a way for the slaves to conf ront bush captains and overseers. Following the confrontations, slaves would run seeking refuges in communities which they named quilombos African runaways slave communities in Brazilia n territory. For camouflage, music and dance was incorporated to the practice which allowed it to be passed from generation to generation. As stated by Kenneth Dossar: slavemasters were not entirely deceived. Throughout most of its history, capoeira remained outlawed The fighters in a swing back toward the more frankly aggressive version of the ritual had in instances become trouble makers and gangsters. They were physically uncontrollable, and at one point laws were passed establishing two special colonies for capoeiristas [ca poeiras]. (Dossar 1988, 39) Although the practice of capoeira was prohibite d throughout Brazil, its censure was not as strong in Pernambuco when compared to the states of Rio and Bahia. In Recife, the capoeiras were feared by the police and were actually hired by clubes pedestres to provide protection during encounters with rival clubs. Capoeiras used their strength and agile movements characterized by a combination of precise and tricky steps, to fight their rivals and protect their groups. In the streets, the capoeiras were recognized by the wea pons they used and for their love of music. Authors have claimed that no pa rty took place in Recife without a musical band and the presence of the capoeiras According to Valdemar de Oliveira, [my translation]: Wherever there was a folguedo [ public celebration], there was the capoeira either participating, or watching; it could be bumba-meu-boi pastoril, cavalo-marinho fandango coco or any other brinquedo.23 Music was a constant in their life. The military band functioned as a center for crysta llization, joining toge ther the cafajestada around it. (Oliveira 1985, 83-84) [Onde havia um folguedo, a estava o capoeira, dele participando ou a ele assistindo, fosse o bumba-meu-boi, o pastoril, o caval o-marinho, o fandango, o coco, ou qualquer brinquedo. A msica era uma constante em su a vida. E a banda militar funcionava como um ncleo de cristalizao, agluti nando sua volta, a cafajestada.] 23 The Portuguese word brinquedo, which translates to toy, is often used to refer to popular traditions that combine music, dance and drama. The bumba-meu-boi, pastoril, cavalo-marinho, fandango and coco are all forms of brinquedos, reflecting rites and rituals of rural life.

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53 Cafajestada is a pejorative Portuguese term that refers to acts resulting in a mess, misdemeanor, or general confusion. Oliveira uses this term to describe a group of lower class males who misbehaved, according to the eyes and ru les of the elite. Clearly the behavior of the capoeiras was not only condemned by the higher social class, but was also persecuted by the police. When accompanying marching bands the capoeiras were divided based on the rivalry between the bands. This period featured a partic ularly intense rivalry between the two main military bands mentioned above: the Companhia da Guarda Nacional (the National Guard Band, known by the capoeiras as Espanha, or Spain, after its direct or the Spaniard Pedro Garrido) and the 4 Batalho da Artilhar ia (the Fourth Artillery Battalions, known as O Quarto the Fourth). The capoeiras who accompanied these groups always fought each other (Silva and Souto Maior 1991, 195). In 1860 and 1864, the newspaper Dirio de Pernambuco described two of these battles in which capoeiras on both sides were hurt. The prohibiti on of capoeira during a later period did not affect frevo. On the contrary, it served to so lidify the use of Carnival as the period for its action. However, the police prohibited the capoeiras from using knives or st icks in the streets of Recife. Although contested by recent authors, Waldemar Valente states that the use of umbrellas in frevo was introduced by capoeiras when weapons were banned [my translation]: Not being able to walk with weapons or canes, the capoeiras used chapu-de-sol [umbrellas], even if old, pretending to avoid the bad weather. That way they fooled the police. And the umbrella was remained up to today. (Valente, in Silva and Souto Maior 1991, 373) [No podendo conduzir cacetes ou bengal es, valiam-se do chapu-de-dol, mesmo escangalhado, pretextendo livra r-se do mau tempo. Com o qu ludibriavam a polcia. E o chapu de sol ficou.]

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54 In Pernambuco, only by the end of 1880 did the practice of capoeira become legal, and the social context was ready for frevo to be officially born and to spread to other cities. Despite persecution by the police, capoeira continued to exist. Accordi ng to Crook, In Recife, police repression resulted in camouflaging of capoeira under the guise of a new dance formthe frevo (2005, 184). Although the precise origin of fre vo is still in debate, folklori st Valdemar de Oliveira, as early as 1946, linked the origin of frevo to th e interaction between the military bands and the capoeiras the latter identified mostly as blacks and mulattoes. Later, in his Frevo, Capoeira e Passo Oliveira referred to frevo dance as o passo [my translation]: I believe the origins of the passo to be like a nebulous wave that surrounded the military bands, which, for more than 100 years moved al ong the streets of Recife, distinguished by the movements of blacks and mulattoes, either playing or fighting. Little by little, these movements would define the shape [of the passo ], continuing to develop after Abolition, the declaration of the Republic and of the Provisional Government, and the Navy Revolt, a period known in Brazil as the belle poque. (Oliveira 1985, 66) [Acredito que as origins do passo se insere m numa nebulosa onda, s frentes as bandas militares que h mais de cem anos passados percorriam as ruas do Recife, j se distinguiam vultos de negors e de mulatos, brincando ou brigando. Pouco a pouco, essas sombras viriam a definir seus contornos, at que aps a fase difcil da Abo lio, da Repblica, do Govrno Provisrio, da Revolta da Armada, do Encilhamento, comea, tambm para o Brasil, uma belle poque.] According to Oliveira, the development of frevo is associated with the spontaneous interaction (playing, dancing, fighting), th e defense and attack movements of the capoeiras the military bands, and the clubes pedestres (walking clubs) of the working class. The influence of the clubes pedestres is reflected today in the names of the Carnival associations established at the time, which alluded to the work routine of their members: Vassourinhas (city sweepers), Ps (dustpans), Lenhadores (woodcutters), Espanadores (dusters), Abanadores (fanners), Verdureiros (vegetable sellers), Empalhadores do Feitosa (Feitosas chair caners), just to mention a few. The members of these clubs also influenced the naming of passos de frevo

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55 (frevo steps). This influence is seen to this day, with the steps tesoura (scissors) ferrolho (doorknob) parafuso (screwdriver) dobradia (hinge) and locomotiva (locomotive), named after the work tools used by members of the walking clubs steps which are sti ll performed by frevo dancers. At the turn of the twentieth century, the clubes pedestres with their origins and mixture of European and Afro-Brazilian elements are sy mbolic representation of cultural and social differences in Recife. By opening up the sp ace for popular participa tion in the Carnival celebration that the elite had previous ly tried to control, there was an initial lack of interest by the media or the bourgeousie in these clubs, not to mention the police repr ession which, supported by the press, first decided to prohibit the parades in 1904. During that time, official st atus and support of the pre ss was offered by governmental institutions to the groups that obeyed certain rule s and that adapted themse lves to the standards set by the ruling class. In 1907, the term frevo fi rst appeared in the press as a label for the clubes pedestres By this date the clubes pedestres had become known as grupos de frevo (frevo groups). By the 1930s, the press and official Ca rnival associations of Pernambuco tried to integrate frevo into the Brazilian national Carniv al by creating contests for frevo composers and exporting frevo to Rios Carnival. These latter attempts were unsuccessful, due to the strong regional associations of this dance and music. Frevo was developed as the lower class urban population occupied the public space in the streets of Recife during Carnival. It reflected the social changes a nd alteration of the relations of power, symbolizing the ultimate expression of the popular Carnival in Pernambuco. As Crook has stated: frevo became an emblem of the racial a nd cultural mixture that was emerging as a unifying element of Brazilian id entity. However, the frevo re presented not the national but

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56 rather a regional expression of this idea. Un like the samba, the frevo was never a viable candidate to fulfill the role of the unifying emblem of Brazils national consensus culture. Rather it served as a vari ation on the theme of Brazilia nness, as a regional musical counterpoint to the centralizing discourses involving Brazils nati onal cultural essence. (Crook 2005, 170) The development of frevo in the Carnival of Pernambuco made it a symbol of that state. The analyses of frevo as symbol of identity fo r Pernambuco must be carried out in this context taking into account the specific historical period in which its development took place. Pernambuco Beyond Carnival Since the Proclamation of the Republic in 1888, Brazil has tried to build and maintain national unity. Indeed, since the 1870 s, the identity and direction of the nation were the matters for public debate. By the end of the nineteenth century, many in tellectuals concluded that the economic and social problems of Brazil, freque ntly referred to as B razilian backwardness, were a result of its mixed racial heritage. One solution proposed was to increase the number of European immigrants in an attempt to achieve r acial whitening. As part of the same concern with Brazils African heritage everything that was linked to the mixed population was looked down upon, especially anything related to Africa. However, some of the intellectuals of this period, influenced by the book Os Sertes (1902) by Euclides da Cunha, tried to use the racial ly mixed people of the in terior of Brazil as a counterpoint to the whitening discourse whic h was spreading throughout the rest of the country. According to the romantic ized ideas of these intellectual s, the people and culture of the Brazilian backlands played an important role in the construction of national identity. Not until the mid-1920s and 1930s did the cultural dive rsity of the country and its non-European descendants become recognized as a centr al part of modern Brazilian identity. At the start of the twentieth century, cons tructing a Brazilian national identity prompted many elite artists to incorporate popular themes into their work, as is the case of Villa-Lobos,

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57 who combined traditi onal instruments of congadas 24 with classical instruments during the performance of his orchestra in So Paulos Week of Modern Art in 1922.25 Nonetheless, this example of the cultural explorati on of Brazils non-European root s remained relatively marginal to elite tastes and preferences. In fact, most modernist artists looked to the European Vanguard (Futurism, Dadaism, Surrealism, etc.) for cultural models. As stated by Br azilianist M. Elizabeth Ginway, Although Brazils Modernist Movement centered on the formulation of national identity, critics such as Amaral (1970), Te les H. Martins (1973), and Eullio (1978), among others, have acknowledged the movements ties with the European Vanguard (Ginway 1992, 543). At the same time attempts to civilize the Carnival reflected the transnational ideas of the elite, who maintained that the European influence in their Carn ival balls and parades throughout Brazil were means to ci vilize Brazilian society Meanwhile, in Pernambuco, clubes de frevo (frevo clubs) promoted frevo as a rhythm and dance form which made its way into the elites festivities, finally breaking with the elites Eurocentric preferences, thereby contributing a new factor to th e emerging ideology of Brazil as racially mixed. Yet, the elite of Pernambuco did not embrace frevo simply to embrace the idea of mestiagem ; instead, they attempted to adapt it in order to make it acceptable within European aesthetics. The fact that frevo was present in both worlds is unique. It was present in the EuroBrazilian tradition through the marching bands, and in the Afro-Brazi lian tradition through the participation of the capoeiras While the black and indigenous populations were viewed as exotic by members of the elite during Carn ival, the influence of Afro-Br azilian heritage in the rhythm 24 Congadas are important popular festivals, celebrated at the end of the year, in which white-clad dancers playing guitars and tambourines parade along the seafront are accompanied by a figure of St Benedict in a gaily decorated boat. 25 The Week of Modern Art, in So Paulo, broke boundaries and innovatively blended popular subject matter with European vanguard-form.

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58 of frevo was still downplayed. The social mixi ng resulting from frevo as a music and dance form, transformed the Carnival of Pernambuco, ma king it distinct from other states in Brazil. This deeply held integration has been roma nticized by the elite and scholars of this period. Arajo, who argued that the iconography of the time ex emplifies the association of Carnival with nationalistic ideas, stated that for the first time the Brazilian press showed indigenous and black people symbolically shar ing the space with th e European-white in newspapers photography of Ca rnival [my translation]: The section Carnaval of the Jornal Pequeno always included many pictures related to Carnival traditions, which usually showed Eu ropean Carnival costumes and characters: pierrs, harlequins, domins ladies, gentlemen and medieval costumes. However, before the Carnival of 1910, the same sectio n offered four ne w pictures: one ca boclo two black men and one black woman. (Arajo 1996, 389390) [A seo Carnaval do Jornal Pequeno, era acompanhada por inmeras pequenas gravuras relativas aos folgares carnavalescos, que, ge ralmente, evocavam pe rsonagens do Carnaval europeu: pierrs, arlequins, domins, damas e cavalheiros, figuras em trajes medievais. Entretanto, s vsperas do Carnaval de 1910, a dita seo estampou quatro novas gravuras: um caboclo, dois negros e uma negra.] At the same time, the inclusion of local e xotic tradition is not equal to the embrace of national mestiagem. The dominant worldview of this pe riod was still largely Eurocentric. Things did not change until the 1920s, when G ilberto Freyres ideas contributed to the recognition of African influence in the formation of the Brazilian identity. The publication of his Casa-Grande e Senzala (1933), which became a manifesto for the nationalist movement, strongly influenced the intellectua l discourse of the period. Freyres ideas were also used in the creation of the Brazilian myth of racial democracy, a national na rrative characterized by racial harmony and social mobility despite racial difference. In Pernam buco, this myth was paralleled by the creation of an urban myth of frevo, characterized by the inclus ion of all levels of Recifes society. While samba was consolidated as a nationa l rhythm, frevo was consolidated as a symbol of identity for Pernambuco, as stated by Crook:

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59 The most celebrated Carnival music of Recife that came to symbolize this intercultural and racial mixing was the frevo It is importa nt to note that by the 1930s, the frevo had already entered Brazils national music industry as a form of regional counterpoint to the samba and the Carnival march from Rio de Janeiro. (Crook 2005, 156) Regionalism and Frevo Regionalist movements have played an important role in the history of Pernambuco and its society. They have given value to local cultural traditions and establishe d ideas of authenticity, rooted in idealized representa tions of the states population. The population of Pernambuco is characteri zed by a mix of European, Indigenous, and Afro-Brazilian peoples. In the ur ban center of Recife, the higher socio-economic classes tend to be composed of mostly European descendents, while the mestios" (mixed race) tend to occupy the lower strata of the society. The popular ity of regionalist ideas started around the 1920s, when intellectuals such as Gilberto Freyre tr ied to explain the forma tion of the society of Pernambuco by analyzing historical data with anthropological and sociological concepts. Popular cultural symbols were appropriated to represent the harm onious interaction of antagonistic segments of Brazilian society. Freyres idea contributed to the recognition of the African influence and the relation of Afro-Brazilians to the formation of Brazilia n society, which became the foundation for the creation of the myth of racial democracy. Inte llectuals and artists supported these ideas. Although they contributed to the relation of power established by the dominant class and paid recognition to popular culture, their analyses were distorted by their origin in the middle-class with its Afro-phobic discourse. Th ese intellectuals were caught be tween two contrasting worlds that they tried to reconcile: that of the official, formal culture, and that of popular culture. The creator of the Movimento Armorial the writer Ariano Suassuna, is one of the most prominent examples of this tendency. As an intellectual wh o came from a traditional Euro-Brazilian family,

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60 deeply involved with the government in Pern ambuco, he nonetheless followed Freyre's ideology and struggled to bring about the acceptance of popular culture by the upper clas ses of the society, concepts rooted in the culture of modernism of the 1920s and 1930s. As stated by historian Jeffrey D. Needell: The younger generation of Brazilian intellectuals associated fre nchfied culture of Brazils belle poque with the sagg ing faade of the social and political status quo Regionalism and So Paulos modernismo were reactions against what was increasingly seen as an imitative, official high culture divorced from Brazilian real ity. (Needell 1995, 9) By the 1950s, the attempt to valorize popular cu lture made its way into frevo contests, which were organized by these intellectual cultur al mediators involved in the state government. The contests can be considered as the first attemp t of codifying frevo steps, and in this context the elite paid homage to popular artists, who, th rough their performances, began their trajectory toward formalizing the tradition. In Antologia do Carnaval do Recife the folklorist Leonardo Dantas Silva has written [my translation]: The Concursos de Passo [frevo contests], de veloped by the press and later by the TV and radio stations, came to motivate the creativity of the passistas [fre vo dancers]. That was how Egdio Bezerra, who has since passed, but who was known as the Rei do Passo [the king of frevo], along with Sete Molas, N ascimento do Passo (Francisco Nascimento Filho), and Coruja (Arnaldo Francisco das Ne ves), came to be well known, to the point of founding dance schools. They taught Pipoca (Antlio Ma dureira), MeiaNoite, and many other representative artists of the new ge neration of passistas [frevo dancers]. (Silva, in Silva and Souto Maior 1991, 204) [Os chamados Concursos de Passo, desenvol vidos pelos jornais e posteriormente pelas emissoras de rdio e televiso, vieram in centivar a criatividade dos passistas. Assim despontaram, chegando a fazer escola, Egdio Bezerra, hoje falecido, mas em sua poca conhecido como o Rei do Passo, Sete Mo las, Nascimento do Passo (Francisco Nascimento Filho), Coruja (Arnaldo Francisc o das Neves), que vieram a ser professores de Pipoca,(Antlio Madureira), MeiaNoit e, e tantos outros representantes da nova gerao de passistas.] Although the elite understood that frevo had devel oped via various elements of all social classes in Pernambuco, they tended to downplay the participation of the Afro-Brazilian community. Inspired by the nationalistic discourse in the country, the regionalists looked to

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61 popular creations as the basis for the formation of the culture of Pernambuco. Yet, these popular creations were viewed as being representative of Brazils racially mixed culture. In most cases, attention was focused on the mixture of its cu ltural identity of European and indigenous elements, avoiding and denying the im portance of the African heritage. In 1961, intellectuals, artists, actors musicians, and students founded the Movimento de Cultura Popular (MCP-Popular Culture Movement), which was based on the ideas of Paulo Freire, who was recognized for his socially conscious pedagogy. Paulo Freire wrote Educao e Atualidade Brasileira where he conceptualized education outs ide the institution. As he stated, ... it is precisely, an education like this, that going beyond the walls of the institution, need to be adopted (Freire 1958, 85). [... precisamente uma educao assim que, ultrapassando as paredes das escolas, precisa ser incrementada entre ns.] The Movimento de Cultura Popular was aimed at the education of children and adults and, as stated by Telles, [my translation], the increase of the cultural level of the students in order to improve th eir capability of acquisition of social and political ideasbroadening the proc ess of political understanding of the masses, and motivating social initiatives (Teles 2000, 77). [Elevar o nve l dos instruendos (sic) para melhorar sua capacidade aquisitiva de idias so ciais e polticase ampliar a politizao das massas, despertando-as para a luta social.] Supporters of Paulo Freires ideas included the writer Ariano Suass una, the playwright Hermilo Borba Filho, the sculptors Francisco Br ennand and Abelardo da Hora, and the future Mayor of the city of Olinda, Germano Coelho. Th is group of elite intellectuals used popular art for didactic purposes, creating a department for cultural development (Departamento de Formao da Cultura) in an attempt to inter pret, develop, and systematize popular culture. They chose six public plazas of th e suburb of Recife to use for performances of folkloric groups

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62 with the idea of promoting interest in popul ar culture among the population. The Recife-based movement greatly influenced other national ideas, and was supported by the political left wing of the country, such as the Student National Union, UNE (Unio Nacional dos Estudantes), and the Brazilian Communist Party, PCB (Partido Comunista Brasileiro), (Teles 2007, 77). After the military coup in 1964, the ideas of th e movement were prohibited and several of its militants arrested.26 In order to pursue their leftist id eals, the playwright Hermilo Borba Filho and the writer Ariano Suassuna founded the Teatro Popular do Nordeste (Northeastern Popular Theatre). Eventually there were ideological differences between Ariano Suassuna and Borba Filho, who accused Suassuna of maki ng use of popular culture to serv e political ends. After their disagreement, Suassuna started planting the first seeds for anot her regionalist movement which flourished in the 1970s, namely the Movimento Armorial The Movimento Armorial Suassunas Movimento Armorial aimed at the creation of a nor theastern literary art, based on the mix of classical and popular traditions. Th e movement started largely as an opposition to North American cultural hegemony in Brazil. The impact of Suassuna's initial ideas attracted other artists and intellectuals to the movement, which expanded its artistic expression to include painting, sculpture, music, theatre and dance. However, the beginning of the movement was characterized by Suassunas struggle to achieve his main objective: to introduce a better understanding of the popular culture of the North east to the Brazilian po pulation in general. For the new industrial Brazil of the South and Southeast, the cultural and economic backwardness of the Northeast im peded the acceptance of northeas tern cultural richness. With 26 In June 1964, Freire was imprisoned in Brazil for 70 days. After a brief stay in Bolivia, he lived in Chile for five years working in the Christian Democratic Agrarian Reform Movement. In 1967 he published Education as the Practice of Freedom, and in 1968 he wrote his famous Pedagogy of the Oppressed published in Spanish and English in 1970, and in Brazil in 1974 (Bentley, 2005).

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63 the folhetos de cordel (cordel literature), 27 as its main inspiration, the Movimento Armorial had to break historical, cultural, a nd regional boundaries that were hi storically constructed, including the ones imposed by the previous regionalist m ovements, and the growing distance between economically developed Southeast and the b ackward Northeast. As stated by Crook: From the nineteenth century on, Brazilians in creasingly conceptualized their country as one divided into northeastern and southeastern regions, each area endowed with distinct attributes and characteristics. The notion of the indelible di fferences between the South (as culturally progressive, industr ialized and modern) and the Northeast (as culturally conservative, rural and traditional) was an im portant part of the way Brazil emerged as a modern nation. (Crook 2005, 13) The Movimento Armorial officially started on October 18, 1970 with a concer t in front of the Igreja de So Pedro dos Clrigos titled T rs Sculos de Msica Nordestina: do Barroco ao Armorial (Three Centuries of Nort heastern Music: From the Baroque to the Armorial), and an art exposition in the Ptio de So Pedro, in the downtown of Recife. With th e intention of creating a Brazilian art based on the mix of classical and popula r culture, Suassuna gathered musicians with a classical background willing to in corporate and play popular music. This public event united hundreds of people from all levels of Recifes society. The concert served to connect the musical and literary elemen ts present in the ideology of the movement. Armorial art was defined as an art that portrays the realistic spirit and the magical elements of the cordel literature of the Brazilian Northeast. Inspired on the definition of the word Armorial used as an adjective for things re lated to heraldry or heraldic arms the movement tried to revitalize the medieval troubador tradi tions of Luso-Brazilian culture of that region, which was represented by the relationship between the music played by the viola, the rabeca, 27 The cordel literature is composed of little booklets of popular poetry that are sold in the street markets in the Northeast of Brazil. They are composed of popular artists verses that are deve loped from themes related to life in the Northeast, often mentioning historical figures like Lampio and Maria Bonita, or important happenings related to local politics.

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64 and the fife that accompanies the verses of cordel literature, as well as by the spirit and format of the popular spectacles that are related to this type of literature (Suassuna, 1974). According to Suassuna, cordel literature represented the as pirations of the northeastern people and of the Brazilian spirit. It initially co mbined three artistic e xpressions: popular poetry, drawings (that illustrate the covers of the bookl ets), and music, which represents the way popular artists recited their poetry. In this popular tradition, the reciting of the verses is usually performed by the same person who writes them, and then plays the rabeca, a folk violin originated from the Iberian influence in the region. Although successful in praising popular culture, the ideology of Pernambucos regionalist movements, including the Movimento Armorial did not greatly value th e local traditions based on African heritage. Frevo has been always c onsidered by the middle-cl ass intellectuals and artists involved in these movements as symbol of identity for lower class mixed population of Pernambuco, downplaying its African influence. Since they tended to minimize the African influence in the culture of Pernambuco in genera l, they also denied th e influence of African culture in frevo. In such a context, frevo went through a similar proce ss of whitening that influenced the history of Carnival, the same process that also sought to civilize the entrudo. From the police repression of the capoeiras to the process of formalization of the tradition motivated by the regionalist movements, there wa s a constant attempt to clean up the dance and to make it more appealing to white eyes. Frevo Contests, Nascimento do Passo, Coruja and Pernambuco's Dancing Scene Yet even before the flourishing of the Movimento Armorial frevo continued to be developed by the common people in the streets of Recife. In the 1950s, the state of Pernambuco (official Carnival associations, ra dio, TV stations, and the press) created contests to acknowledge the years best frevo dancer. This was one more attempt to control the Carnival of Recife.

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65 Inspired by the contests of the samba schools in Rio de Janeiro, the concursos de passos (frevo contests) motivated the creativity of frevo dancers. 28 Although the contests stimulated new interest in frevo, the constant attempt of the elite to control Carnival and its popular traditions was also behind the creation of such events. The contests held in the Ptio de So Pe dro during the 1950s and 1960s had the objective of controlling the violence of fr evo on the streets. While the poor part of the crowd was under control as they watched the vi rtuosity of frevo dancers, the u pper classes enjoyed Carnival in social clubs, and felt safer in their automobile parades, known as the corsos.29 The emphasis on European notions of beauty and virtuosity was a pre-requisite to win these contests. These qualities served as insp iration for the people on the streets who then imitated the performance style of frevo contest winners. Graduall y, the dance that was once the expression of anger and fear during the fights between clubes pedestres was now being adapted to the competition rules set by the institutions cont rolled by the elite. Performance quality rather than selfdefense was the key to winning the comp etition. In these contests, two dancers, Coruja and Nascimento do Passo, became known for thei r frevo performances, the latter creating a method for teaching frevo, and the former creating the first performance group dedicated to frevo. These popular artists have taken their e xperiences of the street to the stages of Pernambuco, contributing to the preservation of a popular tradition. 28 At the time, a parallel competition for frevo music compositions was also established in Pernambuco. 29 The corsos were automobile parades of the middle and upper classes where prizes were given for best costumes and best car decoration during Recifes Carnival.

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66 CHAPTER 3 FROM THE STREETS TO THE STAGE The origins of frevo are compelling and yet ha rd to understand. Offici al authorities have usually failed to support popular fr evo artists, due to the socially marginalized roots of frevos historical tradition. This lack of support has also serve d, ironically, to inspire these popular artists to preserve frevo. I argue that while masquerading within th e colors of Carnival, frevo, as a social phenomenon, represents the constant stru ggle of the lower classes for social space and integration into the wider society of Pernambuc o. This chapter descri bes the role of key performing artists in this struggle. As people dance frevo on the streets during Carnival, they are unc onsciously contributing to the preservation of this tradition. As I write about frevo, I would like to acknowledge dancers, tourists, and unrecognized people for their spontane ous contribution towards the evolution of the dance style. However, two popular artists, w ho believed in the teaching and performance of frevo as tools for social change, carried out wo rk essential to the preservation of frevo. The dynamic lives of Nascimento do Passo and Coruja re veal their ascending pa ths from disciples of street Carnival to masters of a dance style. Their life stories illustrate the motivation behind the pr eservation, transformation and formalization of frevo as a dance style. Their lif etime dedication to the tradition is reflected in todays performances in theatres around the worl d, and their style of dancing, developed in the frevo contests, is now an inte gral part of the contemporary dance scene of Pernambuco. Brazilian writer, musicologist and folklorist M rio de Andrade, cited by Valdemar de Oliveira, described the choreographic abilities of frevo da ncers and their spontaneity in creating steps in the following way [my translation]: The sudden vibration of frevo is almost inti midating. It is a true allegro in a national presto. It represents without any doubt, the enthusiasm and the ardent Dionysian orgy of

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67 our national music. And that in credible dancer? How is it pos sible for a choreographer like him to be ignored by the theatres and othe r dancers? How beautiful! What admirable fluidity! Such talent is a very rich source of inspiration. He deserves a true title of glory, but the country ignores his talent simply because there are so few among us who truly believe in our own culture. (Mrio de Andrade, cited in Oliveira 1985, 119) [A vibrao paroxstica do frevo realment e uma coisa assombrosa. enfim, um verdadeiro allegro num presto nacional. se m dvida, o entusiasmo, a ardncia orgaca, mais dionisaca de nossa msica nacional. E aquele rapaz que danou! Mas ser possvel que uma coreografia assim ainda se conserve ignorada dos nossos teatros e bailarinos? Que beleza! Que leveza admirvel! uma fonte riqu ssima. um verdadeiro ttulo de glria, que o pas ignora, simplesmente porque en tre ns ainda so muito raros os que tm verdadeira convico de cultura.] When Andrade describes the incredibl e dancer as a choreographer who goes unrecognized by the official theatres and dancers, and that his flui dity is as a rich source of culture, he makes clear reference to one of the many unknown frevo dancers who spontaneously performed frevo steps during Carnival. The dance rs improvisational skills, as he choreographed his own performance, caught Andrad es attention at the time, and the style continues to attract the attention of tourists and people around th e world today. When Andrade asked why such talent remains unappreciated, he was recogni zing the intricacy of frevo movements spontaneously performed on the streets, while pr edicting how little financial and artistic support official authorities would provide to frevo dancers during the following years. During Pernambucos celebration of 100 years of frevo in 2007, the media attempted to recognize the contribution of popul ar artists such as Coruja and Nascimento do Passo in preserving the dance style. However, the difficult li ves of both artists illustrate that the society of Pernambuco is still a long way from truly re cognizing their contributio n to the tradition. It appears that the traditional mentality of the sl aveowners in the patriarchal social order of Pernambuco is still present in todays society: the entertainment of the privileged becomes the job of the less fortunate, who must live in a c onstant struggle for recogni tion of their work as artists.

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68 The lives of these two popular artists were dedicated to the dream of preserving the tradition they considered to be the cultural heartb eat of their city. Their countless hours of work never matched their income, which led them to suffer from a constant financial struggle. Corujas death in 1996 ended his dedication to no rtheastern traditions and frevo, leaving his family in dire financial straits, despite the f act that his sons, who are musicians, tried to perpetuate the cultural legacy he left behind. Nascimento do Passo is still alive, but his story as a frevo performer and teacher has been also charac terized by financial struggle and sadly criminal prosecution. The lives of Nascimento do Passo, Coruja, a nd many others popular artists illustrated in this study exemplify the reality of the dance wo rld in Pernambuco. These dancers have struggled to pursue their dreams in a society that uses a fo rced happiness to cover up its problems, and uses the colors of Carnival to mask its deep so cial inequalities. The pedagogy created by these popular artists to preserve frevo can be seen a subversive respons e to the exclusionary society they live in. Nascimento do Passo: A Life Dedicated to Frevo Francisco do Nascimento, or Nascimento do Passo as he is known in Pernambuco, considers frevo as the key to his long life. In da ncing frevo he finds the strength to face his daily problems. In his words [my translation], it wa s thinking about the people of Pernambuco, and understanding their memory of a suffering past that inspired me to create the special formula for teaching frevo (Foi pensando no povo de Pern ambuco, e entendendo a memria de um passado sofrido que eu me inspirei a criar um a frmula especial de ensinar frevo.) The information in the paragraphs to follow was taken from his booklet in frevo and an interview I conducted with Nascimento do Passo in 1998. The booklet represents a wealth of knowledge which he had been compiling ever since he started to dream of a frevo school of his

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69 own. It presents the main object ives for the formation of the Escola Recreativa Nascimento do Passo (Nascimento do Passos Frevo School), whic h was created not only [my translation]: to assure a solid learning process and developi ng in the students the physic al ability to perform frevo, but also to spark their interest in beco ming frevo dancers (assegurar um bom processo de aprendizado e desenvolver nos alunos no s a habilidade fsica de danar frevo, mas o interesse em se tornar passistas.) Born in the state of Amazonas, Nascimento do Passo lived in the city of Manaus before dedicating his life to frevo. He pl aces great importance on his expe rience in the folklore of the northern state of Amazonas and belie ves that this experience has influenced his unique style of dancing frevo. In Manaus, he lived by Praa 14 (Plaza 14), located close to the house of Boi Caprichoso (Caprichous Ox). The boi is an important dramatic dance tradition of Amazonas. Composed of many theatrical roles, the boi is a community presentati on which is named after the most important character of the tradition, the ox. From age seven through thirteen, Francisco do Nascimento lived in the neighborhoo d of Cachoeirinha, close to the Boi Corre Campo Also known as Gibi among the children of his neighbo rhood, Francisco do Nascimento played every role in another boi the Boi Malhado .30 Nascimento do Passos participation in this tradition symbolizes his connection with popular culture while growing up, revealing his artis tic abilities, as well as his humble social condition. Coming from the poor sector of the society, Nascimento do Passo experienced an instant immersion in this popular tradition. Accord ing to Nascimento do Passo, he was part of 30 Since the 1930s, due to the influence of the folklorist Mrio de Andrade, the boi has been considered the most characteristic dramatic dance in Brazil. It has been considered one of the most complete and important cultural expressions in Amazonas.

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70 the boi because everyone was, explaining how comm on it was for kids of his age and social background to be involved in trad itional form of popular culture. Nascimento states that besides having the da nce in my blood, I also had an adventurous spirit (Alm de ter a dana no sangue, eu tambm tinha um esprito aventu reiro.) At the age of thirteen, he traveled from Amazonas to Benjamin Constante in a boat that took him to the state of Pernambuco. On his way back, he took the sh ip Almirante Alexandrino in 1949, arriving in Recife, where he decided to stay and begin life in the big city. The young Francisco do Nascimento had to earn his living, and when he received his first pay check from working as a dockworker in the port of Recife, he rented a room behind the club house of the Carnival association Vassourinhas Soon, he was watching the rehearsal of that Carnival association and felt instantly attracted to frevo. His love for frevo motivated him to participat e in frevo contests, wh ere he won some and lost others. In 1950, he achieved his greatest moment as a frevo dancer in the Primeiro Concurso de Passo (First Frevo Contest), sponsored by the Empresa Pernambucana de Turismo (Tourism Industry of Pernambuco) and Emissoras Associadas ( Associated Radio Stations ) The try-out was directed by TV host Fernando Castelo, with the announcer Csar Brasil, who first named the young Francisco do Nascimento, Nascimento do Passo, when he won first place in the contest. On that occasion, he danced to the musi c of Nelson Ferreira, and in his own words, he is still proud of being judged by Egdio Bezerra,31 who then had the title of the Rei do Passo (King of Frevo). The contests were pivotal in Nascimento do Pa ssos life. After winning the first contest in 1950, he received many invitations to perform at pa rties; he was featured in several Carnival 31 Egdio Bezerra was one of the first Pernambucan passistas [frevo dancers] to dance frevo outside Pernambuco.

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71 magazines, and became proud of popularizing frevo in Pernambuco. In 1966, after Egdio Bezerra passed away (1962), Nascimento do Passo won the pri ze Lbano do Recife32 sponsored by the Associao dos Cronistas Carnav alescos (Carnival Writers Association). In 1973, Nascimento do Passo founded his own fre vo school, and in 1988, he received a medal honoring his work from the Fundao Joaquim Na buco. For the occasion, he wore his innovative frevo costume: colorful shirt tied around his wais t, a pair of baggy pants, and a small colorful umbrella. These articles of clothing would become important tools for his teaching method in the following years. Nascimento do Passo envisioned teaching frevo as part of a larger cu ltural movement. He dreamed of a frevo school that would de velop many human qualities in the students their moral, intellectual, and aesthetic sensibilities in addition to their development of an awareness and recognition of the cultural roots of fr evo. His methodology envisi oned the process of learning frevo as a way to create educational and professional opportuniti es, motivating artistic production, cultural appreciation and th e historical heritage of frevo. According to Nascimento do Passo, the schools objective was [my tran slation] to give the student the opportunity to express his cultural traditions through sound, movement and feelings (Dar oportunidade para o aluno expres sar sua tradio cultu ral atravs do som, do movimento e do sentimento.) Soci ability and creativity were the main goals in structuring the stage ability of the student. Hi s motivation was based on the be lief that frevo was the perfect means to integrate lower-class teenagers into the educational system. Nascimento do Passo claims that the performance elements of fre vo embody key educational cu ltural values, and as a 32 The prize Lbano do Recife was give n to the best frevo dancers in the Ca rnival balls held at the Clube do Lbano (Lbano Club), an elite club in the Recife neighborhood of Boa Viagem. The site of the contest indicates the control of the event by the elite.

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72 musical and dance style, frevo represents the trad ition of a region and its pe ople with its specific characteristics and a specific way of life. For many years, Nascimento do Passo did not have a place to teach his philosophy or the frevo steps he created, but his ideal of preserving the tradition compelled him to continue his life as a frevo teacher. Before 1998, when I visi ted the school in the Recife neighborhood of Encruzilhada, Nascimento do Passo taught his classes in many poor neighborhoods of Recife such as Casa Amarela, Vasco da Gama, Alto Sa nta Isabel, Alto do Mand, Alto da Esperana, Alto N. Sra. de Ftima, Alto 13 de Maio, Alto do Eucalpto, Bomb a do Hemetrio, Crrego do Euclides, Crrego do Ouro in Visgueiro, and Morro da Conceio. He also taught in five of the municipal elementary and high schools: Escola Re itor Joo Alfredo, Escola Mrio Melo, Escola Antnio Herclito, Escola Aderbal Ga lvo and Escola Vasco da Gama. In these schools, he was employed as a fr eelance teacher, and during his free time, he taught classes in the streets of the neighborhoods mentioned above for free. On many occasions, his only compensation was to see the change in his students. In his words, I knew that some of my students were involved in m uggings and fights, but they stopped when they started dancing frevo. Some of them are even becoming frevo te achers (Eu sabia que alguns dos meus alunos tavam involvidos com roubo e briga, mas eles pararam assim que comearam a danar frevo. Alguns deles at viraram professores de frevo.) Nascimento do Passos teaching philosophy was based on his need to move from place to place and his intention to have an impact on th e life of kids from the poor neighborhoods of Recife. He would go from street to street, from neighborhood to neighborhood and from school to school to teach his art, in his words, como um artista mambembe (as a street actor). Inspired in the European artists of the middle ag es, who used to carry their whole lives on their

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73 shoulders and move from town to town looking fo r performance venues, stre et actors in Brazil used the term mambembe as an adjective for their lifestyle. In the middle ages, the street actors moved periodically from city to city, carrying their costumes, s cenery and make-up because they did not want to be restricted in their artistic expression, but were considered outlaws for that reason. Their eagerness for artistic freedom resulte d in a tradition banished by the church, which looked down on theatre and performances. According to Guzik (2007, 22), one hypotheses fo r the use of the term in Brazil, although contested, is that the term or iginated from the African la nguage (Quimbundo), designating distant and then was appropriate d in the theatrical pr actices as an adjective for the actor or theatre groups that moved from place to place to perform for financial survival and artistic expression. In Pernambuco, govern mental authorities have neit her recognized nor supported frevo enough, forcing teachers like Nascimento do Pa sso to move from place to place to teach frevo. His ideas of inst itutionalizing the art of dancing fre vo led him to dream of founding a frevo school which would be the location for th e development of his teaching methods. Speaking about his financial condition and his dream of founding the school, Nascimento do Passo stated [my translation]: I realized that I could not afford to have my own frevo school. It was impossible, it was too expensive. It was something that the government had to pay for. I started teaching in the public school system in 1987, and I started to hassle the public administrators and congressmen to help me create a frevo sc hool. (Nascimento do Passo interviewed in 1998) [Eu vi que no dava pra ter minha prpria es cola de frevo. Era impossvel, era muito caro. Era uma coisa que o governo tinha que pagar. Eu comecei a ensinar em escola pblica em 1987 e comecei a aperrear os homens l, os depu tados, pra me ajudar a criar uma escola de frevo.] Ideally, in his frevo school, Nascimento do Pa sso dreamed of a structure that would offer the following classes: workshops, the history of frevo, the practical in troduction to frevo, its music, and dance training. Another important ob jective of his methods included the preparation

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74 of frevo dancers for the job market, which la ter had a great impact on the contemporary dance scene of Pernambuco. Nascimento do Passo summar izes his teaching methods, stating that in addition to practicing all the frevo steps, st udents should follow The Ten Commandments of Frevo (Os 10 mandamentos do Frevo, Figure 3-1). According Nascimento do Passos Ten Commandments of Frevo, performing the dance is an exercise that develops all the senses. By dancing frevo one would improve vision, hearing, taste, smell as well as cognition. There is also a connection between intui tion and the reality of life. Dancing frevo can lead one to a life of more love, and ca re, while also developing one's mind; to learn how to dance frevo is to have more energy. In Nascimento do Passos words, Frevo is not Carnival, frevo is therapy (Frevo no Carnaval, frevo terapia). It was this philosophy on which Nascimento do Passo based his method of teaching. For Nascimento do Passo, frevo is taken beyond Carniv al, and in addition to his experience as a street dancer, made a point of incorporating concepts that went beyond the frevo tradition, which later influenced his creative pr ocess of naming steps, with chor eography resulting in the unique style found in his students. The originality of the frevo steps Nascimento do Passo claims to have created exemplifies his open mentality as a teacher. The Frevo Steps by Nascimento do Passo It is impossible to trace a ch ronological history for the crea tion of frevo steps. Most of them were invented by unknown dancers in the streets of Pernambuco. However, evidence shows that Egdio Bezerra, Coruja and Nasc imento do Passo were the dancers who first attempted to formalize the tradition by givi ng names to frevo steps and by using this nomenclature to teach frevo. More research w ould be necessary in order to trace the specific contributions of Egdio Bezerra and Coruja in th is process. The following paragraphs will focus on the method created by Nascimento do Passo, it s influence in the popula r dance companies of

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75 Pernambuco, and the modifications this method ha s been undergoing with the new generation of dancers and teachers as it reaches the contemporary dance scene of the state. In his Histria Social do Frevo Ruy Duarte makes an allusion to the dance of frevo as he describes it [my translation]: A male figure with his bare feet cr ossed, in a dance step, with his body curved, wearing loose pants, in shirt sleeves with a torn-up umbrella, held in one hand up over the head; this is the full body portrait of the traditional frevo da ncer (Duarte 1968, 35) [Uma figura masculina com os ps descalos e cruzados, em passo de dana, corpo meio curvado, cala arregaada, mangas de camisa e um chapu-de-sol, meio roto, seguro por uma das mos, acima da cabea eis o retrato de corpo in teiro tradicional e caracterstico do frevo.] The choreography performed by frevo dancers ( passistas) in the streets or on the stages of Pernambuco has maintained the same body language mentioned by Ruy Duarte. The people on the streets and the capoeiras of the past with their bare feet c ontinue to represent the essence of frevo. But despite of this histor ical association, in r eality, the frevo steps of today have almost no resemblance with the movements played in th e games of capoeira. Speaking of todays capoeira, American scholar Brbara Browning has stated: Capoeira is always played in a roda The same circle formations that delimit all traditional Afro-Brazilian dances. Two players enter the roda at a time, and their focus remains on each other, while they may pivot either clockwise or counterclockwise throughout the game. Motion is generally circular. Kicks a nd sweeps are more often than not arched or spinning and they loop together in a series of near misses. The ideal is to keep ones eyes fixed in ones opponent. At times, this necessita tes having eyes in the back of ones head. But the relative placements of body parts or faci al features seem to be constantly ridiculed anyway. The capoeirista spends a good deal of time inverted, with hands planted firmly like feet on the ground, feet slapping happily like palms in the air. (Browning 1995, 89) In capoeira, the essence of the game, played in a circular mo tion, in a mixture of dance and fight, dictates the nature of the steps. In frevo, this essence is dictated by the main environment in which the dance continues to develop: the st reet Carnivals. Capoeira, since its beginning on the slave plantations, took the circular forma tion, which preserved the tradition and its people.

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76 To a certain extent, the roda (cir cle) and the use of music in capoe ira helped the survival of the tradition, disguising its rebellious nature. Browning has stated: The Portuguese tolerated the roda de capoeira because it was merely danceperceived as motion without purpose or effect other than aesthetic. And w ith the circles, African in Brazil trained like fighters in the art of dissi mulationhow to grin upside down (Browning 1995, 92). But this contradicts the historical records of the nineteenth centur y. In addition, by the time capoeiras accompanied marching bands, influencing the development of frevo, there was an attempt to include them as part of society by the upper classes. This absorption benefited the dominant class and asserted the a ffirmation of Afro-Brazilians, the capoeiras, blending ethnicities, at least during Carnival. The steps of frevo truly repr esent this blend, and found in Carnival the most appropriate scenario for their development. During Carnival the relation of power is chal lenged, different classes of Brazilian society occupy the same physical space. Ideally, this is an equality desired by members of the lower classes, but in reality it is a permanent struggle that can be as epheme ral as the nature of Carnival. The mechanics of frevo steps are the be st examples of that struggle. Frevo steps are characterized by hybridity a quality that is appealing to dancers since they encompass a great variety of agile squatting movements, jumps and leaps, involvi ng the entire body and challenging the laws of balance a nd musicality of the performer, exemplifying Carnivals abilty to mix social classes and ethnicities through joy in the binary time of the frevo music. The verb pular (to jump) define s best the action of a frevo dan cer. But in dance, the verb to jump has several meanings. From high lifts of the body, as in to leap, to lower squatting motions and somersaults, or any motion that pushes the body weight against gravity. The Portuguese dictionary also define s this verb in several ways. I found that an analogy of these meanings to the mechanics of frevo steps could lead to the understandi ng of frevo steps as a

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77 combination of performance and cultural affirm ation. By performing frevo steps during the street Carnival, the passista is combining the ability to spri ng off the ground, to move suddenly in one motion, as in surprise, but also to move voluntarily (o r involuntarily), as he responds quickly to the pushes of the crowd. Metaphorica lly, the quick binary b eat of frevo music and the environment of Carnival push dancers against gr avity as if to struggle to find their place in society. Going back to associating frevo steps with its capoeira heritage, the performance of frevo, with the torso upright, among ot her characteristics has driv en the body aesthetics of both traditions away from each other. Brownings an alysis of capoeira is done through the lense of capoeira as a strategy of survival, and she uses the word maneuvers to describe the movements of capoeiristas. She has stated, Many of capoeir as maneuvers are inversi ons, whether literal or ironic, physical or linguistic. I would de scribe frevo by movements rather than by maneuvers, since frevo may be represented by a notion of exuberance an d individual freedom. Frevo has been providing social license, pushing members of the soci ety to levels that they did not originally belong, challenging the laws imposed by the ruling classes, and therefore, finding the balance necessary to preserve a tradition. Th is individual freedom of frevo is illustrated by the spontaneous and improvisational characteristics of frevo steps. In the late 1950s, Felcitas, a dancer from Rio de Janeir o who researched indigenous dances and Brazilian folklore, stated in her book Danas do Brasil [my translation]: The frevo is rich in spontaneity and impr ovisation, allowing the dancer to create with his inventive spirit and master the most varied steps, fr om the simplest to the most acrobatic imaginable. And therefore, they even perform truly acrobatic steps that challenge the laws of balance. (Felcitas 1958, 190-191) [O frevo rico em espontaneidade e improvi sao, permitindo ao danarino criar, com seu esprito inventivo, a par com a maestria, os passos mais variados, desde os simples aos mais malabarsticos, possveis e imaginveis. E assim, executam, as vzes, verdadeiras acrobacias que chegam a desafiar as leis do equilbrio.]

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78 Capoeiristas often refer to their upside-down move ment, and the use of their hands on the floor, as their way to find balance while fi ghting. Scholars have linked the use of hands to ancestral connection. Ironically, this search for ba lance in frevo is represented by the position of the torso (upright), and the use of the umbrella, th at serves as a symbol for the authentic frevo to be discussed in the following pages. Attempts to preserve the tradition by naming fr evo steps is noted on Felcitass book as she cites Dalmo Belfort de Mattoss desc ription of frevo steps; he descri bes a total of five steps, each one with a corresponding name, as cited by the author: dobradia, parafuso or saca-rlha da bandinha corrupio and cho de barriguinha Felcitass book did not make any allusion to who could have named the steps at that point. Howeve r, as my research will show, these same steps were included in 1973 in Nascimento do Passos method of teaching frevo, so it was hard even for Nascimento do Passo himself to distinguish the steps he had created from those he had learned from watching others. When Felcitas wrote her book in 1958, it was ha rd to find out who had invented the frevo steps, considering that most of the time pe ople spontaneously performed these steps during Carnival or even in frevo contests, unaware of their names. Felcitas also mentioned that there were many other steps in the dance of frevo, but unfortunately there was no written material listing the names of these steps, if they even ha d names at the time. According to the scholar Almirante (1967),33 [my translation]: The passo [frevo] had undergone several tran sformations since its birth. It would be difficult, if not impossible, to state today, the order in which the numerous body movements took place One of them, for exampl e, is named ch de barriguinha. Ch is a mispronunciation of the French word chain e (chain), an expression used in the old 33 Almirante is the nickname of Henrique Foris Domingues (1908-1980) on the popular music scene. He was a singer, and radio broadcaster from Rio de Janeiro, and in 1963 published No Tempo de Noel Rosa, initiating his academic career.

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79 dances, especially in the quadri lles to indicate that the move ment of ladies and gentlemen, holding hands, formed a chain: chaine de da mes, chaines de chevaliers. In frevo, ch de barriguinha is also the chain that the dancers, holding hands, walk in a large space pushing their bellies forward; they almost alwa ys return, pulling their bellies in and doing the opposite movement; but in this case the ch has another name (Almirante 1967, 3) [O passo sofreu grandes tranformaes e acrsc imos desde que nasceu. Seria difcil, se no impossvel, dizer-se hoje qual foi a ordem em que foram surgindo seus inmeros movimentos Um deles, por exemplo, tem o nome de ch de barriguinha. Ch deturpao da palavra francesa chaine (cadeia, corrente), expresso usadssima nas danas antigas, especialmente nas quadrilhas, para indicar aquele movimento em que damas e cavalheiros, de braos dados, formavam uma corrente: chaine de dames, chaine de chevaliers. No frevo ch de barriguniha tambm a corrente em que os danarinos, dando-se os braos, caminham um bom pedao empinando a barriga para a frente; quase sempre recuam, recolhendo a barriga e fazendo o movimento contrrio; mas a ento o ch tem outro nome] Almirantes statement not only illustrates popu lar participation in the development of frevo, but also the influence of French culture in the process of naming frevo steps. As mentioned in Chapter 2, the French quadrille was one of the first Eu ropean dances to enter Brazilian ballrooms for Carnival celebration. When frevo reached the higher levels of society, the steps were also influenced by European cu lture. Names of frevo steps and/or ways of performing them can be analyzed from this angl e. However, the association of frevo dancers with the lower classes of societ y (o povo) predominated, and oral tradition tends to explain the origin for the name of each step more fully. The name of the step mentioned above by the scholar Almirante, for example, is commonly known as the mispronunc iation of the Portuguese noun ch which would be translated into English as tea. While some state that the correct name is ch de barriguinha Nascimento do Passo advocates for the correct name, which according to him, is ch de barriguinha, because the people talk this way. [ ch de barriguinha porque as pessoas falam assim]. And he continued, I guess they wanted to say, ch de barriguinha but they would end up saying ch ; now I am not sure why they would call a step like that b elly tea (ch de

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80 barriguinha) [laughs]. (Eu acho que eles queriam dizer ch de barriguinha, mas eles acabavam dizendo ch; agora eu no tenho certeza porque eles chamariam um passo como aquele ch de barriguinha.) Nascimento do Passo explanation illustra tes the unconscious adaptation of foreign influence by the people of Pernambuco. The na me of the step is even explained by the mispronunciation of a French word, exemplifying how much foreign culture has contributed to frevo. As stated by Farris Thompson, as he speak s about the influence of European culture in milonga, Dancers become translators reconciling styles from different worlds (Farris Thompson 2005, 136). In frevo, these two different worlds become one through Carnival, as steps are being performed, and as they are bei ng taken to dance schools, and dance companies around the world. Maria Goretti Rocha de Oliveira (1993) has traced the transformation of popular dance to theatre spectacles in Pernambuco. In her work, she discussed the importance of frevo contests and the constant struggle of Nascimento do Passo mentioning his teaching of frevo steps to the Bal Popular do Recife and to the Grupo Folclri co Cleonice Veras, the two groups that first staged popular dance in Recife. According to Oliveira in the Dirio de Pernambuco of 1977, Nascimento do Passo had listed, along with th e teacher Jurandir Austermann, 48 basic frevo steps (Oliveira 1993, 86). By the time Oliveira published her book in 1993, Nascimento do Passo had listed some 120 steps. In order to make his teaching methods more efficient he had selected 30 basic steps of fre vo that he believed to be e ssential for the education of a passista

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81 (frevo dancer).34 Nascimento do Passo stated in his own booklet that when the passista is able to perform the 30 basic steps, he is ready to perform all the others. When I attended Nascimento do Passos classes, he emphasized the importance of performing all the basic steps, a nd the memorization of the order in which they were taught in class. In Nascimento do Passos pedagogy, the first step warms up the body to perform the second and so on, [my translation]: There is no n eed to perform all thos e exercises that people do at the gym. If you are a frevo dancer, you will be ready for anything, a nd if you are not ready yet, you will be after you perform all of them, but only if you perform them in the right order, of course. (No tem nenhuma necessidade de fica r fazendo esses exerccios que as pessoas fazem na academia. Se voc danarino de frevo, voc t pronto pra qualquer coisa, e se voc ainda no t pronto, voc vai ficar depois que voc dan ar todos eles, mas s se voc fizer eles na ordem certa.) Nascimento do Passo truly believe d in his methodology as the best way to train frevo dancers, and he carried out his t eaching philosophy in every class he taught. As a formally trained dancer, I noticed that hi s class was a mixture of his life as a street dancer and his ideal of preserving a tradition th rough the formal education of his dancers. While he emphasized the improvisational skills necessary to be a passista he also encouraged uniformity of movements in his students [my tr anslation]: If you are trained in my method you have to do as I do, not as you want to, he ye lled during class. (S e voc treinado no meu mtodo voc tem que fazer como eu fao, no como voc quer.) 34 The 30 basic steps cited by Oliveira are: lavanca, rtmo, swing de ombro, a onda do passo, saciperer, ponta de p e calcanhar, trocadilho, pontinha de p, pontilhando, chutando de frente, chutando de lado, muganga, abre o leque, folha seca, patinho, cumprimentando, passa-passa em cima, passa-passa em baixo, base, carrossel, tesouro, gaveta, faz-que-vai-mas-novai, serrote, banho-de-mar pra frente, banho de mar pra trs, guerreiro, rojo, abre alas, and pernadas.

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82 The structure of his class illustrated his te aching philosophy. Every class required a great degree of discipline. Nascimento do Passo did no t allow sitting, talking, or taking a water break during his classes. At the end of every class, a ll students were required to perform a solo for the other students. He believed this practice made dancers accountable for the material taught, and motivated individual creativity. According to Nascimento do Passo [my translation], If you cannot do all the steps in your solo that means you did not pay attention to the steps while I was teaching them, unless you are lazy or something like that. Otherwise, you should be able to do them, because I repeat them over and over during class (Se voc no consegue fazer todos os passos no seu solo, isso signifi ca que voc no prestou ateno nos passos enquanto eu tava ensinando, a no ser que voc seja preguioso, ou alguma coisa parecida, porque seno voc pode fazer eles, porque eu repito eles sempre.) The emphasis on repetition was another character istic of his class. Nascimento do Passo believed that the more you perform the steps, th e stronger you get, and you do not need to go to the gym, you just need to dance frevo. (Quanto mais voc faz os passos, mais forte voc fica, e no tem que ir pra academia de ginstica, s da nar frevo.) Following his technique was another requirement in his classes. His students had to da nce as he did, but with a lot of swing, in his words, The entire body has to move while danc ing frevo, especially th e shoulders; they should move right on the beat, otherwis e it is not frevo, it becomes so mething else (O corpo todo tem que mover quando se dana frevo, especialmente os ombros, eles tem que mover no rtmo certo, seno, no frevo, vi ra outra coisa.) In Nascimento do Passos teaching methodology, a frevo class is divided into four parts, with each accomplishing different goals. In the fi rst part, the students are told to relax and warm up (some basic frevo steps are included), and in the next three parts they begin to perform the

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83 steps in a logical order, from the easiest to the hardest. To give an idea of how the steps were named after his street experiences will help elucid ate the core of his work. I will translate their names, making an association with the social context in which they arose and then try to associate this social context with the body mechan ics of frevo. The steps below are listed in the order chosen by Nascimento do Passo for his classes: Part 1 1Passo = the basic step 2Remador = the rower 3Boneco de Olinda = the giant male doll from Olindas Carnival 4Manivela = hinge 5Cata-vento = pin wheel 6Abanador = the fan 7Bico de papagaio = parrots beak 8Lavanca = Nascimento do Passos mispronunciation of alavanca, the Portuguese for mechanical crane 9Primeiro metr em cima ou metr de superfcie = the first subway Part 2 10Maaneta = doorknob 11Base descendo = squatting on the foundation 12Sobe em rtmo = going up on the beat 13Swing dos ombros = shoulder swing 14Onda do Passo = the frevo wave 15Saci Perer = Saci Perer (a folkloric figure of a one-legged black boy from the Brazilian folklore35) 16Ponta de p-calcanhar = toeheel 17Trocadilho = grape vine 18Pontilha de P = on the toes 19Pontilhando = dancing on the toes Part 3 20Balano = the swing 21Chapa quente = hot grill 22Chutando de frente = kicking forward 23Chutando de lado = kicking sideways 35 The fact that Saci Perer is one legged is the reason fo r the name of the step, which consists of jumps on one leg, while the other leg is bent and hooked on the back of the other knee in a four shape.

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84 24Muganga = having fun as you dance 25Abre o leque = opening the fan 26Folha seca = dry leaf 27Sobe e faz passa-passa em cima e desce de ccoras = passing the umbrella while jumping then squatting. 28Passa-passa em baixo = squatting and passing the umbrella 29R eletrizada = electrified frog 30Carrossel = carroussel Part 4 31Tesouro = big scissors 32Gaveta = drawer 33Faz que vai, mas no vai = teasing 34Serrote = the saw 35Banho de mar para frente = swimming in the ocean free style 36Banho de mar para trs = backstroke in the ocean 37Guerreiro = the warrior 38Rojo = firework 39Abre-alas = based in the expression abre-alas that translates to aski ng permission to start dancing for Carnival parade. 40Pernada = kicks According to Nascimento do Passo after completing the steps above, the student should be able to perform all the following steps: 41Tesoura passando a sombrinha = scissors passing the umbrella 42Vo da andorinha = the swallows flight 43Tesoura em retrospecto = the reverse scissors 44Tesoura no ar = scissors in the air 45Tesoura cruzando no ar com a esquerda e a direita ou cruzando em vice-versa = scissors crossing in the air with the right or left leg 46Coice de burro = donkey back kick 47Pernadas = kicks 48Tesoura simples = basic scissor 49Tesoura tramelando = locking scissors 50Dobradia = hinge 51Ferrolho = doorknob 52Parafuso = bolt 53Ch de barriguinha = the belly movement 54Pulando corda com as duas sombrinhas = jump roping using two umbrellas 55Tramela tramelando = tramela is a type of door lock, and by tramela tramelando he means a continuous movement of the door lock. 56Passeando na pracinha = walking around the plaza 57Pisando em brasa = stepping on coals

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85 58Rojo = firework 59Pontinha de p = tip toes 60Espalhando brasa = spreading coals 61Saca rlha = cork screw 62Serrote = the saw 63Carrossel = merry-go-round 64Ligadura = link (this is Nascimento's version of the Portuguese noun ligao, which means link) 65Locomotiva = the train 66Plantando mandioca = planting manioc 67Festival de bailarino = the ballet dancer festival 68Patinho = duckling 69Apertando a porca = tightening the screw 70Enxada = hoe 71Chave de cano = plumbers wrench 72Alicate = the pliers 73Tesouro = the big scissors 74Britadeira em movimento = movement of the screw driver 75Metr subterrneo = the subway 76Metr de superfcie = trolley car 77Pulo de grilo = grasshopper jump 78P de vento = fleet of foot (l iterally wind foot) 79R eletrizada = the electrified frog 80Psso do cinquento = the step of the fifty-year-old man 81O ginasta no passo = the gymnast dancing frevo 82Passo do mamulengo = the marionette step 83Passo do capoeira = the capoeira step 84Passo do bbado = the drunken step Nascimento do Passo emphasizes the repetiti on of certain steps throughout the class as necessary for the physical preparation of the dancer. For instance, the step rojo (step 38 and step 58 of the list) should be pe rformed twice toward the end of hi s class (see list, part IV). He justifies this repetition by the nece ssity of the student to review some principles of that step that he might understand only after performing other steps in between. In this specific case, the performance of steps 39 to 57 would lead to improve the performance of the step rojo. This may be meaningless to a non-tr ained dancer, but the more fr evo classes I teach, better I understand Nascimento do Passos philosophy. This sp ecific step, for instance, functions to a frevo dancer almost as a pli functions to a ballet dancer, as a foundation. The more you

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86 perform a pli, or in the case of frevo, the rojo better you perform other steps, and as you master other steps, you improve th e way you perform your foundation step. The preservation of the historical roots of frevo is also illust rated in Nascimento do Passos methods. The majority of the steps are named afte r the tools used by the urban working class at the beginning of the twen tieth century. Out of th e list above, at least 33 st eps have names related to working instruments; example include serrote (saw), parafuso (screw), and ferrolho (door lock), among others. There is al so a close associati on between the names of the steps and the environment where frevo is danced: the big city of Recife, surrounded by the ocean, and its modern buildings. Examples include such steps as banho de mar pra frente (swimming on the ocean free style), step 35, banho de mar pra trs (backstroke in the ocean), step 36, and metr (metro), steps 75 and 76, among others. Peoples everyday experience and the important in fluence of Carnival are also reflected in the names of several steps: plantando mandioca (planting manioc), step 66, Abre-Alas (which derived from the Carnival expression base d on the music Abre Alas), step 39, Boneco de Olinda (the giant male doll from Olindas Carnival), step 3, and several ot hers in the list above. Nascimento do Passos performance of the passo do bbado (the drunken step) exemplifies his spontaneous way of naming and performing frevo st eps. He proudly states that the creation of this step just happened while he was drunk during Carnival. Although he claims to have stopped drinking af ter he started dancing frevo as a lifetime career, he still remembers the times when the st eps were just flowing in his mind. As I asked him about his creative process, Nascimento do Passo stated [my translation], This step. I never thought about it, I swear. I just remember that every time I got drunk I did it, but I think I also got inspired by other people that were drunk during Carnival ... I was not the only one to be

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87 drunk during Carnival. (Esse passo. Eu nunca pens ei nele, eu juro; eu lembro que toda vez que eu me embreagava eu fazia, mas eu acho que eu tambm me inspirei nas outras pessoas que se embreagavam no Carnaval Eu no era o nico no a ficar bbado no Carnaval) In the class I attended in 1998, Nascimento do Passo held a plastic cup full of water and imitated a drunken person performing frevo steps to explain how this st ep had just naturally happened for him. The passo do bbado (the drunken step) is char acterized by the lack of balance of the dancer, as if one had lost contro l of his center of gravit y. When performed today, dancers explore circular motions of the torso and arms in contrast with precise movements of legs and feet. Two forward heel steps are followed by the circular motion of the arms, resembling the motion of a drunken, except that in stead of carrying the d rink in one of the hands, the dancer carries a frevo umbrella. The video below shows Nascimento do Passos performance of this idea. Object 1-1 video of Nascimento do Passo performance of the drunken step(9,813kb, .mpg) The connection between the name of the steps and the perfor mance of the movements is used as an important pedagogica l element of Nascimento do Passo s method, since it facilitates the students understanding of their performance. The simple words used to describe each step also makes the frevo vocabulary very accessibl e for children and people with a low level of formal education. In many cases, the names of th e steps are simply translated from the main characteristic of the movement performance, as for example, chutando de frente (kicking forward), chutando de lado (kicki ng sideways), passa-passa de fr ente (passing the umbrella in front), etc. I am afraid my attempt to descri be frevo steps will either simplify the dance or complicate the understanding of the reader. I woul d much rather dance! We can always connect steps with words, but in order to understand fre vo, we have to connect our heartbeat to the

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88 movement. The examples to follow will just serve as illustrations for the meanings of some frevo steps: Tesoura (scissors): Begin with weight on one of th e feet (i.e. left), with the other foot extended on the side, resting on heel. Jump toward the foot that has your weight and place the other foot back landing one foot in front of the other with toes of both feet pointing outward (toe to heel, heel to toe). Jump toward the same direction landing on right foot, left foot extended to left side, heel on gr ound. Jump back toward left foot placing the right foot behind it. Jump again continuing to go toward the sa me direction, landing on le ft but extending right foot, resting on heel. The arms (one hand is ca rrying the umbrella) are making diagonal lines while the feet are scissoring. Abre-Alas (named after the expression abre-alas th at translates to asking permission to go through in Carnival parade): With the weight on both legs, keep them spread apart with the knees slightly bent. Both elbows out, with the umbrella held by one of the hands both hands are placed toward the belly-button. Move sti ffly forward as if elbowing through a crowd. Shoulders are leading the entire body to move fo rward, alternating the movement of the torso toward right, and left. Ferrolho (doorknob): Legs spread wide, feet set apartone forward, one back the weight of the back leg is on the ball of the foot, and the weight of the front leg is on the heel. Flip from the ball of one foot to the heel of the other as you make both legs strai ghten as you hop from one direction to the other suc cessively, changing the direc tion of the entire body. Ferrolhando (the movement of the doorknob): Same of the step above, but performed in double time, not in the usual binar y time of most frevo steps.

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89 Nascimento do Passo recognizes cultural divers ity and international in fluence in the names of frevo steps. For instance, the majo rity of the dancers associate the step passeando na pracinha (strolling in the square) with one of the steps performed by American dancer and actor Fred Astaire in his musicals. This step reminds us of the European grapevine, except that due to the binary fast-paced rhythm of frevo, the da ncers pivot less and hop more, while carrying the umbrella. At the same time that steps were being codified at formal frevo contests, American cinema had a strong influence on Brazilian culture, re inforcing the ideology of the defenders of the white origin of frevo, who s till associate some of the danc e movements exclusively with European or American sources. The squatting m ovements that are the highlights of many frevo performances are often associated with the Sl avic influence in Pernambuco (Figure 3-2). The director of the Bal Popular do Recife, Andr Madureira, cited by Oliveira has stated [my translation]: You will notice that the frevo has absorbed the best steps and movements from the universal culture, but in Pernambucos own way. As you watch the frevo steps, you will find them in Russia, in the Russian ballets, especially the squatting steps: locomotive, patinho, encaracolado, parafuso. You will notice that all thes e steps have a very strong origin in the steps of Russian dance, but performed in Pernambucos way. Why is that? Because in the 50s, many Russian dance groups came hereThey danced on the streets, and performed in theatres and on the streets. The people would watch the Russians dancing and what would they do? In the next Carnival they would incorporate those steps into their own dancing. (Oliveira 1993, 152) [Voc vai ver que o frevo ele absorveu o que de melhor tem em passos e movimentos da dana universal. S que maneira prpria de Pernambuco. Ento voc v os passos de frevo, voc vai encontrar eles na Rssia, nos bals russos, principlamente os embaixo: locomotiva, patinho, encaracolado, parafuso; to dos esses passos, voc vai ver que tem uma origem muito forte nos passos de dan a russa s que numa maneira danada pernambucana. Por que isso? Porque na dcada de 50, aqui vinham muitos grupos de dana russa Eles danavam na rua, tinham ap resentaes de teatro e as apresentaes de rua. O povo via aqueles russos danando e o que faziam? No carnival seguinte eles colocavam da maneira como eles achavam que era o passo na rua, danando.]

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90 As a member of the lower class, Nascimento do Passo tends to asso ciate these squatting movements in frevo with the influence of capoeira rather than the influen ce of European dancers. Although some ambiguity can be found in Nascimen to do Passos view of the origin of frevo he contradicts himself at times most likely because of his unconscious assimilation of the dominant (whitened) ideology he teaches the African influen ces in the history of frevo and sees this as an extremely important component of his method. When putting the booklet together, Nascimento do Passo emphasized the importan ce of the historical knowledge for the frevo dancer. Linking frevo with capoeira he defined the frevo dancer as the gymnast who, at some point in history, was called capoeira valento (the brave capoeira ). He thought it important that students know that the capoeiras used weapons while dancing in front of the marching bands in the Carnival of Recife and Olinda, and that as a result of the police repression toward the practi ce, the dancers replaced their weapons by umbrellas. In this context, he views the frevo umbrella as a symbol of resistance, and stre sses that the students understanding of that part of hist ory could transform them into bett er dancers. In his words, It is important that they [the st udents] understand and feel what th ey are dancing ( importante que eles (os alunos) entendam e sint am o que eles esto danando). Nascimento do Passo claims to incorporate in his method the things he experienced in the streets, bringing a sense of social reality to fr evo. The use of the umbrella is one of the best examples of this. He states that all the movements in frevo can be done toward the right or left side of the body, and one should be able to carry the umbrella in either one of the hands. In his words, Since the use of the umbrellas in fre vo derives from attacking and defending, you should be able to hold the umbrella with your right and with your left hand. When you are fighting, you do not have time to choose between the right and left hand, you have to defend

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91 yourself no matter what. (J que o uso da sombrinha de frevo originrio do ataque e da defesa, voc tem que segurar a sombrinha com sua mo di reita e esquerda. Quando voc est brigando, voc no tem tempo de escolher entre direita e esquerda, voc tem que se defender de qualquer jeito.) The non-religious association of frevo explains the utilitarian use of the umbrella; which is mostly associated with defense or balance of the dancer. But this use goes beyond defense. The umbrella is for frevo what the use of props is in most dances of the Afro-Brazilian tradition: a symbol. The dances of the orixs in the Candombl religion incl ude objects that represent tools of their trades, for instance, the ir on implements or swords of the orix Ogun, the mirrors of the orix Oxum, and several other objects that are representative of th eir personal characteristics. In the case of frevo, no religious value is give n to the umbrella, but the tradition of using the umbrella as a symbol of authenticity could be associated to the Afro-Brazilian heritage, hence the importance of umbrellas as a royal symbol in West Africa, and in the Afro-Brazilian maracatu tradition. But in frevo, instead of a royal or religious symbol, the umbrella became a symbol for the traditional/authent ic frevo. No frevo dancer perfor ms frevo without an umbrella. As I teach frevo, I tell the students: the umbrella is the frevo dancers best friend, adding some sentimental value between the performer and the object. Nascimento do Passo taught me by saying that a good frevo dancer should know how to drop and how to catch the umbrella while performing, should know how to take care of the umbrella, and when possible, even learn how to make and fix the object. In his own words, by the way you use the umbrella I know who you are, as a passista and as a pe rson (Pela forma que voc usa a sombrinha, eu sei quem voc como passista e como pessoa). This statemen t defines the use of the umbrella beyond frevo

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92 performance. As in Afro-Brazi lian traditions, moral and personal values are associated to an object that serves as a tool for its preservation. This is not to say that there is a direct a ssociation between Nascimento do Passo, or frevo dancers in general, to Afro-Brazi lian rituals. In fact, I do not recall his religious beliefs, which can also be indicative of very little attachment to religion on his part, considering how much time I spent with him. But instead, I want to acknow ledge the strong influence of the Afro-Brazilian heritage, which is intrinsic to the dance of Pernambuco, through body movement, through the presence of objects, and through sentimental values. In trying to bring frevo from the streets into classrooms, Nascimento do Passo states that frevo does not assign any gender difference, another ch aracteristic that could be associated to the practice of capoeira and several Afro-Brazilian rituals. In frev o, men and women typically play the same roles and should be able to perform the same steps (Figure 4-3). He reinforces this idea by saying that, in the beginning, only me n used to dance frevo, first the capoeiras, and later the winners of frevo contests, but as ti me passed, as it happens with capoeira, women learned the steps and became in some cases, even better performe rs of the style. The presence of women in frevo can be a determining factor for some of the stylistic changes frevo has undergone. But Nascimento do Passo reinforces that it wa s mainly from his street experience as a frevo dancer and frevo contest winner that he named some of the steps he uses in his method, despite gender. Inspired by th e Rei do Passo (King of Frevo) Egdio Bezerra, who had named some of the steps he performed in the contests Nascimento do Passo named the steps he learned from men and women who performed in the streets, and also addresses th at as he created the steps, he did not care if it was a male step or a female step, they ju st happened, according to

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93 him. In this same way, his students also cont ributed to the creation of frevo steps, despite gender. And although frevo functions as a religion for Nascimento do Passo and should be studied with great respect, he always em phasized that the frevo dancer s hould have the freedom to invent new steps. The attention to innovation within th e tradition is based on the individual expression that Nascimento do Passo observed during his life time as a street dancer. Traditionally people spontaneously created the steps as the music wa s played by the frevo bands and as the crowd moved during Carnival. After pract icing in the streets and in his home, Nascimento do Passo named each step and created new ones. When I as ked how he went about creating frevo steps, Nascimento do Passo stated [my translation]: The people in the street just created them, and I found them beautiful, so I would go back home, imitate, and think to myself: what does this step remind me of? Oh, a scissor! You know scissoring the legs opening and closing them the way we do and from then on that step would be named tesour a [the scissor step.] [O povo na rua simplesmente criava eles, e eu achava eles bonitos, ento eu voltava pra casa e pensava comigo mesmo: esse passo me lembra o que? Ah! Uma tesoura, Voc sabe, abrindo e fechando as pernas como eu fao e daquele dia em diante aquele passo era chamado tesoura.] Some dancers in Pernambuco claim that Nasc imento do Passo did not invent the frevo steps he claims to have invented. However, it is imperative to recognize that either by creating, by naming or just by organizing the steps into his teaching method, Nascimento do Passo played an important role toward the development and pr eservation of frevo as a dance style, and in doing so, he contributed to the formalization of many other popular dance traditions. Today, because of Nascimento do Passo, people who have never attended a frevo class are able to recognize the most popular steps of frevo, similar to the way in which classical dancers learn to identify essential steps of ballet.

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94 The grammatical mistakes found in the names of some of the frevo steps are a consequence of the spontaneous way that Na scimento do Passo named them together with his lack of schooling. When questioned on the correct pron unciation of one step, he answered [my translation]: If I created the steps, I should be the one who names them, in the way I speak. And people should pronounce their names in the same wa y I do, and if people insist in pronouncing them in the way they learned in their school, ju st to be fancy, then they do not want to learn them in the right way: in Nascimento do Passos way. [Se eu criei os passos, eu tenho que ser quem d o nome deles, do jeito que eu falo. E as pesssoas tm que pronunciar o nome deles do jeito que eu falo, e se as pessoas insistirem em pronunciar do jeito que eles aprenderam na escola deles, s pra ser chique, porque eles no querem aprender eles do jeito certo: no jeito de Nascimento do Passo.] And as we discussed the subject and da nced, he mentioned [my translation]: Do you see this step you are dancing right now? I always called it carancolado. The other day, a woman came here saying that she was doing res earch at the university. As soon as I taught her this step, she said : but mestre, you are saying carancolado, you should say encaracolado. That was when I lost control and sa id: You know what? encaracolado [curly] is your hair! My step is carancolado [Mispronunciation of encaracolando making it curly]! Dont you think that if I created the st ep I should at least have the right to say it the way I want? [V esse passo que voc est fazendo agora? Eu sempre chamei isso de carancolado. Outro dia, uma mulher veio aqui dizendo que ela tava fazendo uma pesquisa pra universidade, assim que eu ensinei ela a fazer esse passo, ela disse: mas mestre, o senhor t dizendo carancolado, o senhor deve dizer encaracolado. Foi quando eu perdi o controle e disse: quer saber de uma coisa? Encaracolado o cabelo da sua cabea! Meu passo carancolado. Voc no acha que se fui eu quem criou o passo eu devo pelo menos ter o direito de dizer do jeito que eu quero?] Nascimento do Passo considered it an in sult that the researcher corrected his pronunciation. In Pernambuco the use of the expr ession encaracolar is very common and translates to making it curly. For Nasc imento do Passo, carancolado, instead of encaracolado is used as an adjective to describe c urly hair. This way of naming frevo steps shows the relationship between Nascimentos spontan eity as a street frevo dancer and his dream to preserve the tradition by codifying and naming fr evo steps in his own way.

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95 While Nascimento emphasizes his work in creating and naming the frevo steps, he acknowledges that he was not the first passista to do this: Egdio B ezerra was the one who started it and I learned a lot by watching him dancing. Since Egdio Bezerra was already considered O Rei do Passo before Nascimento do Passo had won his first frevo contest, Egdio likely inspired Nascimento to construct his own method of teaching and his own performing style. In his Frevo, Capoeira e Passo Valdemar de Oliveira quotes Egdio Bezerra [my translation]: Ive been dancing frevo since I was a little boy. I invented many steps: peru de chapa quente when the body bends, [turkey on a hot grill] ; tesoura area a jump crossing the legs, [airborne scissors]; todo duro a system of bending the body successively, [named after a Brazilian boxer]; cortando jaca, jumping with the legs open and rounded, [cutting the jack fruit]; escamado, dancing in diagonal on the pa ss way, [ fish scales]; mulher carregando o menino, when the umbrella stays in be tween the legs, [woman carrying a boy]; and parafuso [the screw], when the legs stay cr ossed changing direc tions constantly. (Interview with Egdio Bezerra to the journalist Ney Lopes de Souza, in the Jornal do Comrcio in Recife, in the Carnival of 1967) [Dano frevo desde menino. Criei vrios pa ssos: peru na chapa quente (envergadura no corpo); tesoura area (saltos cruzando as pernas); todo duro (sistema de envergaduras sucessivas), cortando jaca (pulando com pern as abertas em circunferncia); escamado (saracoteando em diagonal na passarela) ; mulher carregando o menino (sombrinha e declive nas pernas) e parafuso (pernas tran adas com mudanas contnuas de posio).] In addition to the creation of frevo steps, there is a strong similarity between the backgrounds of Nascimento do Passo and Egdio B ezerra. Both have similar life trajectories, both won frevo contests and traine d generations of frevo dancers. Even with their limited degree of formal schooling (they often had to ask ot her people to write down the steps they were creating), their efforts to name the steps was a way to look into the future and consciously or unconsciously preserve the tradition. The names of the steps created by Egdio Bezerra, and later, by Nascimento do Passo are widely known, and are mentioned in some of the most popular songs of the Carnival of Pernambuco. With their unique cr eation process, they differ fr om most choreographers who

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96 attended a formal dance school in order to be able to choreograph. Egdio Bezerra and Nascimento do Passo learned choreography through oral transmission and informal practice, by passing or failing the tests on the streets. Nascimento do Passos dream of formalizing th e tradition has come true, as frevo is now taught in classrooms. He considers frevo the mo st important of all rhythms in the state of Pernambuco and views frevo as the leading dance st yle of Carnival, the one that incorporates all the other regional dance styles and music from Pernambuco and the entire Northeast. He wants frevo to be taught in the schools to be as close as possible to th e way people dance in the streets, but his ideas clearly link the teaching of frevo to all sector s of society thro ugh contact between rich and poor. For example, in hi s booklet he writes [my translation]: We should sing and dance some frevo-canes36 praising the frevo composers, and the passistas [frevo dancers] from the past and fr om the present. We should recognize the work of reporters and journali sts, the writers, theatre direct ors, photographers, and all the Carnival people who have kept frevo alive, by teaching frevo not only in the classrooms but in the streets, main avenues, and in th e ballrooms of Recife and Olinda. (Nascimento do Passos booklet 1998) [Ns devemos cantar e danar os frevo-can es, exaltar os compositores de frevo, e os passistas do passado e do presente. Ns deve mos reconhecer o trabalho dos reprteres e jornalistas, os escritores, diretores de teatr o, fotgrafos, e todas as pessoas do carnaval que mantiveram o frevo vivo, ensinando o frevo no apenas nas escolas, mas nas ruas, grandes avenidas, e nos clubes do Recife e de Olinda.] As Nascimento do Passo taught his frevo classes, he became known for his openness as a teacher. When speaking about the time he taught at one of Recifes samba schools, Galeria do Ritmo, he observed that the step s of frevo are imbedded in many di fferent dance styles, including samba. Speaking of the samba dancers lear ning process he commented, As time went on, I began to notice that as they le arned frevo, their bodies developed more freedom than when they 36 Frevo-canes [frevo-cano] are solo song frevos with instrumental jazz-band accompaniment that first developed in the 1930s among professional popular composers in Recife. Typical instrumentation includes trumpets, saxophones, trombones, electric guitar and bass, drum kit and piano. A solo singer is backed by a small mixed chorus. The frevo-cano is not linked to any particular Carnival association.

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97 danced samba, especially their arms. (Qua ndo o tempo foi passando, eu comecei a notar que medida que eles iam aprendendo o frevo, o corp o deles comeou a mover com mais liberdade quando eles danavam samba, especialmente os braos.) Nascimento do Passo was referring to the incorporation of his teach ing method and style in the samba school classes, a style characterized by the freedom of ar m movement in contrast to the precise movements of the legs. Today, Nascimento do Passos students are recognized as they perform frevo in Pernambuco and beyond. Besides mastering the steps created by Nascimento do Passo, his students have a distinct style fr om other dancers represented by th eir particular way of dancing frevo characterized by loosene ss in the arm and shoulder movement, described by Nascimento do Passo as the swing of frevo. This swi ng is found in the frevo performed by the common people on the street Carnival, but not necessarily in the fr evo performed by some dance companies. According to Nascimento do Passo, he has always dreamed of bringing the street style to the classroom, teaching his students wh at he has learned in the school of life. Frevo Costumes During Carnival, tourist events and theatri cal performances, frevo costumes are an essential part of frevo dancing. The starting point of my investig ation into the origin of frevo costumes was based on my assumption that, even though frevo dancing had its origin in the movements of the capoeiras protecting the marching bands in Recife, the frevo costumes of today have no direct association with the white pants worn by the capoeiras of the past, or even the capoeiristas of the present (Figure 3-3). In addition, the frevo costumes dancers wore before the 1950s bear little resemblance to todays costumes (Figure 3-4). Having been exposed to frevo since chil dhood, I never learned th e origin of frevo costumes, but was always intrigued by the standa rdization of the Carnival frevo costumes and the ones used in theatrical performances. The emphasis on individuality and innovation that

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98 characterizes frevo as a dance style and the indi viduality expressed in all frevo steps are also transposed to the frevo costumes of today. If in frevo, dancers are not following a specific religious or cultural tradition, why is there a specific way of dressi ng is associated with frevo? Who chose the authentic frevo costume, and for what reason? As one of Nascimento do Passos students, I wa s also intrigued by the fact that I had never seen him wearing anything other than a frevo co stume in every class he taught. Furthermore, whenever I encountered Nascimento do Passo in a supermarket, bank, or even walking on the streets of Recife, he was always wearing a colo rful frevo costume. What I did not realize was that todays frevo costumes are, in fact, one of Nascimento do Passos inventions, and one of his important contributions to the dance style. Most popular traditions in Pernambuco are asso ciated with a historic al period or religious tradition which set the style for the costumes wo rn by their participants. For instance, the popular tradition of maracatu, as it passes through the street Carn ivals of Recife and Olinda, transports spectators to the coloni al period of Brazilian history with its costumes that represent both Afro-Brazilian expression and the influe nce of the European Royal Court. The maracatu is a parade representing an African nation and it is culturally linked to the coronation of the king of Congo in past centuries. Up to these days, pa rticipants wear elaborate costumes resembling those of Louis XV (Carvalho, 2000). When participating in the m aracatu people of all ages, social, and financial conditions transform themselv es into kings and queen s, wearing historical costumes that are important for the pres ervation of that trad ition (Figure 3-5). The caboclinhos, a Recifes Carnival tradition, is represented by groups of people that dress in stylized indigenous outf its and features music played by a small flute, metal shakers and a drum (Figure 3-6). In both examples, costumes are used for group identification: in the first

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99 case, as Afro-Brazilians, and in the second, as a blend of indigenous and European heritage. Here it is clear that a mixture of cultu ral identities is at the root of these two popular expressions: the former, the Afroand EuroBrazilian mix, and in the latter, the Indigenous and Euro-Brazilian. At the same time, frevo costumes, do not identif y ethnic elements so much as symbolize the struggle of one frevo dancer, Nasc imento do Passo, as he tried to make his way to a higher level of society. Nascimento do Passos permanent struggle to preserve the tradition was followed by his individual struggle to establish hi mself as algum de valor (someone of value) in the society of Pernambuco. His lower class origins, and backgro und as a street dancer, never allowed him to be recognized by society at large. In his word s, in our society, if you are born poor you will always remain poor and be seen as somebody w ith no manners, almost like a criminal. [Na nossa sociedade, se voc nasce pobre, vai ser sempre pobre e vai ser sempre visto como algum sem educao, como um criminoso]. Metaphorica lly speaking, through his frevo, Nascimento do Passo wanted to jump to another level in the society. In an informal conversation in 1998, he demonstrated how much prejudice had interf ered with his life as a frevo dancer. As we discussed the topic further, I noticed that he had unconsciously developed his own prejudice against Afro-Brazilian culture as a survival mechanism. For instance, when I mentioned my trip to the U.S. he advised me to learn any style of dance I wanted, but emphasized, Please do not get involved with capoeira, since I have heard that capoeiristas have gone to the U.S. as well. If you have the oppor tunity to better yourself, please do not get involved with them. (Por favor s no se i nvolva com capoeira, porque eu ouvi dizer que os capoeiristas j esto por l tambm. Se voc t tendo a oportunidade de se tornar algum melhor, por favor no v se envolver com eles.)

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100 His statement is explained by the historical roots of frevo and the police repression suffered by the first frevo dan cers, at the time known as capoeiras,37 at the turn of the twentieth century similar to what Nascimento do Passo ex perienced as a street dancer during the 1950s. Nascimento do Passos background and position in the society explains his fear of my involvement with capoeira. He firmly stated, Although frevo has its roots in capoeira, frevo dancers should be different; they should try to compel society see them as better people. (Mesmo tendo razes na capoeira, os danarinos de frevo tm que ser di ferente; eles tem que tentar fazer com que a sociedade olhe pra eles como pessoas melhores.) It was in search for this difference, and soci al ascension that Nascimento do Passo began as a frevo dancer, and, in continuing his efforts, he essentially invented todays frevo costumes. When I interviewed Rosane Almeida, director of the Espao Brincante38 in So Paulo, the spouse, and professional partner of the musician and dancer Antnio Nbrega, who also has been one of Nascimento do Passo's student, and helped him to write his booklet in 1998, she mentioned an episode which first influenced Na scimento do Passo in fighting for his recognition as a frevo dancer [my translation]: In a bank in Recife, he signed a check as Na scimento do Passo instead of Francisco do Nascimento, his real name. According to Nasc imento do Passo, the fact that the cashier would not recognize him as the same person served as the biggest push for him to understand that all the work he had done to spread frevo had not yet had strong enough impact on society. He needed people to know who he was, and only then, they would respect him as a frevo dancer. (Ros ane Almeida interv iewed on 12/18/2006) Foi num banco em Recife, que ele assinou um cheque como Nascimento do Passo ao invs de Francisco do Nascimento, o nome verdad eiro dele. De acordo com Nascimento do 37 Scholars often refer to the people who fought in front of the marching bands as capoeiras, but the people who practice the formalized martia l art/ dance style of capoeira as capoeiris tas, respecting the nomenclature of the period, the former, the eighteenth/nineteenth century, and the latter, after the formalization and legalization of the style in the 1930s. 38 The Espao Brincante is a theatre-s chool founded by Antnio Nbrega an d Rosane Almeida to teach Brazilian popular music and dance.

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101 Passo, o fato de que o caixa no reconheceu ele como a mesma pessoa, serviu como o maior empurro pra que ele entendesse que todo o trabalho que ele tinha feito pra divulgar o frevo no tinha sido suficiente para causar impacto na sociedade. Ele precisava que as pessoas soubessem quem ele era, e s assim el es o respeitariam como um danarino de frevo.] From that day forward, Nascimento do Passo de cided to wear, in his daily activities, the same costume he wore while dancing frevo in the streets. He decided that his outfit had to be comfortable, and remind him of Carnival. The id ea resulted in weari ng a shirt tied around his waist, and a pair of pants that matched the shirt. In another interview, Nascimento do Passo stated [my translation]: From then on, this [what his wearing at th e interview]was the outfit Nascimento do Passo wore every time he left his home. Of cour se, as I made money performing and teaching classes, I made other outfits that I could use on different occasions or do you think I would wear the same outfit for a birthday part y and a funeral? They had to be different, although the ones I invented look a bit a like... [laughs]. (Nascimento do Passo, interviewed in 1998) [Daquele momento em diante, e ssa [a roupa que ele estava vestindo durante a entrevista] foi a roupa que Nascimento do Passo vestiu toda vez que ele saiu de casa. Claro que quando eu fui fazendo dinheiro me apresentando ou dando aulas, eu fiz outras roupas que eu pudesse usar em diferentes ocasies ou voc acha que eu usei a mesma roupa pra um aniversrio e um funeral? Elas tinham que ser di ferentes, apesar de que as que eu inventei se pareciam um pouco umas com as outras.] Nascimento do Passo justifies the choice for the shirt tied around the waist and the baggy pair of pants, usually made of satin, on the groun ds that they were more comfortable for dancing frevo. In my view, his uses of the third person when talking about himsel f, placing himself as an observer of the tradition he crea ted, demonstrates that it is almo st as if he cannot believe the widespread impact of his own creat ion. According to Nascimento do Passo, his outfit also had to represent the joyfulness of Carnival, and its colorfulness is the best representation of this lightheartedness [my translation]: Why do we wear only black when people die? B ecause we are sad, but if we are happy, we should wear as many colors as we can, and th e frevo is all about joy. Speaking of joy, it took a long time, but now, everybody knows who Nascimento do Passo is, and I am happy

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102 about that Look how many colors I am w earing right now [laughs]. (Nascimento do Passo, interviewed in 1998) [Por que ns s vestimos preto quando as pe ssoas morrem? Porque estamos triste, mas se estamos felizes, a gente tem que vestir quant o mais cores a gente puder, e frevo s alegria. Falando nisso, demorou muito te mpo, mas agora, todo mundo sabe quem Nascimento do Passo, e eu tou feliz com isso Olha quantas cores eu tou vestindo agora.] The frevo outfit created by Nascimento do Passo has become one of the main symbols of todays authentic frevo (Figure 37). Even before performing a step, a frevo dancer will be recognized first by the outfit he is wearing. During Carnival, people from Pernambuco profit from frevo costumes which represent symbols of th eir state and are sold to tourists from all over the world. In the dance world, not only Na scimento do Passos students, but many of Pernambucos popular dance companies proudly wear va riations of that outfit, which is essential to the preservation of the tradition. Unfortunate ly, they do not always recognize the importance of Nascimento do Passos invention and its symbolic value. Coruja: The Image of All Northeastern Rhythms During the same period in which Nascimento do Passo was participating in frevo contests, another popular dancer became known for his vi rtuosity as a frevo dancer. It was by the nickname Coruja (owl) that most people from Pernambuco identified Arnaldo Francisco das Neves (Figure 3-8). Coruja do Pandeiro (Cor uja of the Tambourine), Coruja do Passo (Coruja of the Step), or simply Coruja, are all nickna mes that came into use when Neves was a street vendor and carried an owl on his shoulder to pump up the sale of plastic table cloths in the Mercado de So Jos (the largest street market in Recife). In his life story, what is unique about him is th at he has come to repr esent all northeastern rhythms which were influential in his style of fr evo dancing. The diversity of his artistic talents represent the diversity found through out the state of Pern ambuco itself and was recognized in the frevo contests in which he participated. As one of the first cont ributors to Pernambucos

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103 diverse contemporary music and dance scene, Coruja s blend of the urban streets traditions of Recife with those from the interi or brought together the sound of xaxado,39the influence of Lampio and Maria Bonita,40 the music of Luiz Gonzaga,41 and Jackson do Pandeiro,42 thereby contributing to the hybridity of frevo. Corujas path proves that frevo may have st arted in the streets of Recife, but it has incorporated elements of the entire state of Pernambuco. Knowing Corujas background is essential to understanding the im portance of his contribution to the history of frevo. As a pandeiro (tambourine) player, born in the state of Paraba but having lived in Pernambuco since age 12, Coruja resided in the lower class neighb orhoods of Casa Amarela, Nova Descoberta and Alto do Mand. According to Coruja, his friends hips with Jackson do Pandeiro and Amaurlio Nicias, who first met him as a street vendor, were instrumental in getting him jobs on the TV program A Taba se Diverte, a nd at radio broadcasts Rdio Cl ube and Rdio Jornal. In his interview with the Dirio de Pernambuco on March 23, 1990 Coruja stated [my translation]: I was hired by the Rdio Clube and stayed th ere for 3 years. Around 1955, I went to Rdio Jornal. Since I was already friends with Jack son do Pandeiro, I often replaced him when he was traveling for shows. I spent five years on the radio and then went on TV Jornal, after being taken there by Amaurlio Nicias. ( Dirio de Pernambuco 1990) [Fui contratado para a Rdio Clube, onde fique i trs anos. Por volta de 1955, fui para a Rdio Jornal. Como j era amigo de Jacks on do Pandeiro, sempre o substitua, quando ele viajava pra fazer shows. Foram cinco anos na rdio e fui para a TV Jornal, levado por Amaurlio Nicias.] 39 Xaxado is a dance tradition from the interior of the northeast. 40 Lampio and Maria Bonita were considered outlaws who be sides fighting for their own rights in the backlands of the Northeast, became known for dancing xaxado 41 Luiz Gonzaga is the most famous musician from the Nort heast. He is credited for having created and spread a rhythm called baio throughout Brazil, later also known as forr. 42 Jackson do Pandeiro is considered one of the best tambouri ne players of all times, also credited with spreading the music of the interior of the Northeast in Brazil.

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104 Coruja started his artistic life as a tambourine player in Felinhos Conjunto Regional, where he played tambourine in the opening of the Rdio Tamandar. Later, because his experience as a street vendor in the urban center of Recife, he pa rticipated in Carnivals for many years, and was attracted to frevo, founding the firs t frevo school in Pernam buco at his house. In his school, hundreds of kids learned what he use to call the swing, ginga, and turbulence, of frevo. At the time, he was recognized as th e greatest frevo dancer in Pernambuco and was invited to integrate frevo danci ng into the first Vo do Frevo 43 of the prestigious upper class Clube Internacional do Recife. He was also the principal teache r at the Sociedade Folclrica Nordestina in Santo Amaro ( Dirio de Pernambuco 1987). In the newspaper Jornal do Comrcio on February 22nd 1981, Coruja commented on the importance of frevo reaching the school syst em of Pernambuco, and on the importance of spreading and preserving this da nce tradition. Considering Pernam bucos Carnival as o melhor do mundo inteiro (the best of the entire world), he was proud of particip ating in the first Vo do Frevo (Flight of Frevo), and of having danc ed accompanying the orchestras of famous frevo composers Nelson Ferreira and Jos Men ezes in the city of Rio de Janeiro.44 Another highlight of his career was the opportunity to travel to Bras lia as part of The Show of Braslia, directed by Walter de Oliveira. This show intr oduced the northeastern popular traditions bumba-meu-boi and caboclinhos to the nations capital, while also br inging Coruja and his company (Coruja e seus Tangars), along with a frevo orchestra, led by composer Nelson Ferreira, to the attention of a wider audience. 43 The Vo do Frevo was a flight organized by people of the middle and upper classes who were members of the Clube Internacional do Recife. In this flight, they would visit a foreign country and take Frevo as their 'present' to the country visited. 44 Up to today, the expression acompanhar (to follow) is us ed by frevo dancers as they refer to their performances with the orchestras.

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105 The fact that Corujas participation in TV documentaries helped spread frevo throughout Brazil, and is also mentioned in his newspaper interviews as one of the highlights and most cherished parts of his career. As he receive d homage from the members of the Brazilian Assistance League, LBA (Legio Br asileira de Assistncia), in a program dedicated to seniors assisted by that association, he mentioned be ing touched by seeing people over 90 years old dancing frevo like children. On that occasion he as ked Carnival lovers to continue to play Carnival, to perform the steps a nd to represent the fr evo of Pernambuco with elegance and peace ( Jornal do Comrcio 1981). Corujas financial survival as a popular artist was due to his ability to create diversity in his work. From his first performances as a frevo dancer, Coruja continued to preserve frevo but always complained about the lack of support fr om local institutions. Although had glaucoma in his left eye, and was almost bli nd by the last days of his life (even after surg ery), he maintained the same enthusiasm for the Carnival in Pernam buco. As a survival strategy, he directed several groups simultaneously, and thereby shared his knowledge and expertise among the different groups he founded, creating a true legacy of followe rs, including his ten sons. His groups (Coruja e sua Orquestra, Coruja e seus Ta ngars, Coruja e seus Passistas, and Forr dos Tangars) played and danced all northeastern rhythms, possibly initiating the attempts to stage northeastern popular traditions that would become the subject of study for dance companies of Pernambuco. However, unlike Nascimento do Passo, Coruja di d not consciously attempt to formalize his dancing. Unconsciously, as part of his survival st rategies, he used his experience as a tambourine player to link the musical traditions of the interior of the state, such as baio and forr with the urban tradition of frevo.

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106 During his career he wished he had recorded a CD that was to be produced by Luiz Gonzaga, who, to use Corujas expression, was taken by God before Coruja himself was. Coruja deeply desired to make a CD symbolizing a trip throughout the Northeast, featuring the rhythms of xaxado, forr and the marabaixo from the northern state of Macap45 (Dirio de Pernambuco, 1990) Versatility became the distinctive factor of th is popular artist. Oral tr adition shows that the frevo steps he created linked rural and urba n cultures, the backlands and the city. By transforming the frevo steps performed on the st reets into performances, Coruja facilitated communication between popular tradition and the media, linking the many different social worlds present during Carnival on the crowded streets of Recife. The musical group Coruja e seus Tangars, th at he founded, animated street parties and clubs during the 1960s, many times accompanying the famous tambourine player Jackson do Pandeiro. The group participated in national TV programs such as Slvio Santos and Chacrinha, and traveled throughout many Brazilian st ates following Luiz Gonzaga in the Projeto Pixinguinha.46 They also became known in Europe a nd in the U.S. through TV documentaries produced by foreigner scholars. Speaking about his group, Coruja stated [my translation]: In 1960, when the TV station opened up I started slowly to put together a small ensemble, preparing the choreography. At that time I wa s already friends with Luiz Gonzaga. I showed him the choreography of the xaxado, and Gonzaga, who had met a group of cangaceiros47 in the city of Ex, showed me how the authentic dance was done. However 45 The marabaixo is a rhythm that, according to Coruja [my translation], is different from ciranda, resembles the carimb but is danced in a big circle. 46 The Projeto Pixinguinha is a cultural event creat ed by the FUNARTE (Fund ao Nacional de Arte National Foundation for the Arts) in 1977. The event is named af ter the one of the most important Brazilian composers Alfredo da Rocha Viana, nicknamed Pixinguinha, who died in 1973. 47 Cangaceiros were outlaws of the Brazilian b acklands. Besides, their criminal activity, they became associated with xaxado a music and dance tradition of the people of the interior.

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107 the ensemble did not yet have a date set to perform it for the first time ( Dirio de Pernambuco 1990). [ Em 1960, quando a TV foi inaugurada, comecei a formar um conjunto devagarinho, preparando a coreografia. Por essa poca, j tinha amizade com Luiz Gonzaga. Mostrei para ele a coreografia do xaxado, e Gon zaga, que havia conhecido um bando de cangaceiros em Ex, mostrou-me a dana autnt ica. S que o conjunto ainda no tinha data certa pra estria.] While reading the book Seleta Brasileira, Coruja found the name for his music and dance ensemble, and soon the group started playing and performing the music and dance of xaxado the dance of the cangaceiros as he referred to it [my translation]: It was there [in the book Seleta Brasileira ] that I found the dance of the Tangars, from the family of Chico Santo. Because I was known as Coruja do Pandeiro, Amaurlio Nicias baptized the group Coruja e seus Tangars. We started on Floriza Rossis TV program, A Tarde Nossa, and were a total hit! Ther e were countless phone calls and cars in front of the TV station. ( Dirio de Pernambuco, 1990) [Nela (na cartilha Seleta Brasileira ) eu descobri a dana dos Tangars da famlia de Chico Santo. E Amaurlio Nicias batizou o grupo de Co ruja e seus Tangars, j que eu era o Coruja do Pandeiro. Estreamos no programa de Floriza Rossi, A Tarde Nossa. Sucesso Total. Foram inmeros telefonemas e carros na frente da televiso.] Although the trajectory of the group was ch aracterized by success, scant financial resources characterized the groups existence. Ne vertheless, Corujas death in 1994 left a legacy for the state of Pernambuco; his group, Coruja e seus Tangars was firmly established as one of the best forr bands in Brazil. Formed by ten musician s and singers, all of them Corujas sons, they played tambourine, accordion, drums, zabumba,48 electric piano, bass, guitar, sax and triangle. In July of 1996, the band distributed thei r first CD, in which the members paid homage to their father for having invested his entire life in promoting the culture of Pernambuco. The life of this multi-talented popular artist illustrates his cont ribution to the formalization of frevo by the creation of his performance ensembles as well as his own frevo school. 48 Zabumbas are large bass drums played with a stick and the hands, traditional of the interior of the Brazilian Northeast.

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108 Incorporating his background as a xaxado dancer characterized Corujas unique way of performing and teaching frevo. More research on his style of dancing frevo is necessary to prove the influence of xaxado a dance of the interior of the state, in todays urban frevo. However, his importance in the formalization process is not rest ricted to the creation of his ensemble and of a frevo school. Coruja and Nascimento do Passo ar e mentioned by Andr Madureira, director of the Bal Popular do Recife, who recognizes these two dancers as the main frevo teachers and source of his research for his own dan ce company [my translation]: The popular passistas Nascimento do Passo and Coruja were the ones w ho passed on the basic notions of frevo so that the dancers of the Bal Popular do Recife could follow their ow n paths developing and creating steps of their own (Oliveira 1993, 151). [Foram os passistas populares Nascimento do Passo e Coruja os que transmitiram-lhes as noes bsi cas para que os danarinos do grupo seguissem desenvolvendo e aperfeioando os passos por conta prpria.] The contribution of Nascimento do Passo and Co ruja in teaching the dancers from the Bal Popular do Recife will be discussed in the following chapter as we trace the course of frevo from the popular to the contemporary dance scene of Pe rnambuco. My field work in July 2006 in the city of Recife will be used to illustrate th e presence of these artists in the two distinct interconnected frevo worlds of st reet and theatre in Pernambuco.

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109 Figure 3-1 The Ten Commandments of Frevo by Nascimento do Passo. Source: Nascimento do Passos Booklet Projeto 50 Anos de Fr evo no P. Photo courtesy of Juliana Azoubel

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110 Figure 3-2 Passista Bruno Henrique performing a frevo step that for the people of Pernambuco resembles a Russian dance. Photo courtesy of the Escola Municipal de Frevo Maestro Fernando Borges Figure 3-3 Capoeira outfits. Photo courtesy of the Quilombo Center in Chicago, IL

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111 Figure 3-4 Frevo costumes of today. Source: Frevo. Conjunto de Frevo. Atlas Universal Interativo. Coleo Recreio. Ed. Abril. www.terrabrasileira.net/folclo re/regioes/5ritmos/frevo.html Figure 3-5 Maracatu Costumes. Source: Maracatu de Baque Vi rado ou Nao. Dona Santa, Rainha do Maracatu Nao Elefante. Source: Arquivo Katarina Real, Iconografia da FJN. Rocha Lima, Cludia M. de Assis http://www.fundaj.gov.br/notitia/servlet/new storm.ns.presentation.NavigationServlet? publicationCode=16&pageCode=679&textCode=5092

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112 Figure 3-6 Caboclinhos Costumes by Bal Popular do Recife. Source: Danas Populares Brasileiras Photo by Romulo Fialdini Figure 3-7 Nascimento do Passo wearing one of his frevo costumes. Source: www.municipios.pe.gov.br/municipi o/Nascimento_Passo.asp

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113 Figure 3-8 Coruja. Source: Jornal do Comrcio, 1883.

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114 CHAPTER 4 FREVO TODAY: FROM THE POPU LAR TO THE CONTEMPORARY In Pernambuco and beyond, dancers and chor eographers from diverse backgrounds are staging frevo. Dance training, ideology and soci o-economic conditions lead many dancers to experiment with different types of dancing, there by influencing the staging process of frevo. This illustrates Nascimento do Passos philosophy as we ll as the notion that individual expression is the core element for choreograp hic innovations in frevo today. In this chapter, I will illustrate the de velopment of Nascimento do Passos teaching methods, and his philosophy of individual expressi on. I will emphasize his influence on Recifes municipal frevo school (today Escola Municipal de Frevo Maestro Fernando Borges), the tension between his philosophy and the one adopted by the school administrators of today and how that tension has influenced the contemporary dance sc ene of Pernambuco. I chose to investigate the methodology applied at this school, since I consider it an important site for the development of frevo. It was there, when the school was still na med Escola Municipal de Frevo, that Nascimento do Passo officially started putting his me thod of teaching frevo into practice. In July 2006, at the IV Mostra de Dana do Re cife, a dance festival held in the Teatro do Parque, I first watched the performance of th e young dancers from the Escola Municipal de Frevo Maestro Fernando Borges. In an attempt to analyze the staging process of Nascimento do Passos work, I planned to videotape the Escola Municipal de Frevo Maestro Fernando Borges performance and to speak with Nascimento do Passo, since I had not seen him since 1998. On that evening, I watched Recifervendo, a frevo piece that I never expect ed to see performed by Nascimento do Passos students.

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115 In different sections of the piece, frevo m ovements were choreographed to slow frevo music,49 which is by itself an innovation, and the da ncers were placed in a structured stage formation, incorporating a differe nt movement vocabulary than the one used by Nascimento do Passo. At the time, as I thought about Nascimen to do Passos methodolog y and the performance style of his dancers, and I w ondered about the reason behind the change I observed. Nascimento do Passo never emphasized the synchronization of the dancers or their symmetrical placement on stage, both important elements in Recifervendo.50 It was not until the next day, when I visited the frevo school and spoke with the new director Brbara Heliodora and the school choreographer Alexandre Macdo that I was info rmed that Nascimento do Passo was no longer teaching there. Object 4-1 Video of the piece Recifervendo(98,299kb, .mpg) With the absence of Nascimento do Passo at the school my study took a new direction, forcing me to compare past and present teach ing of the school. The choreographer Alexandre Macdo had been a member of the Bal Popular do Recife and of the Bal Brincantes, two of the local dance companies known for staging popul ar traditional dances in Pernambuco. His participation in these groups explained the st yle of the piece performed on stage, since both groups focused on staging popular tr aditional dances into theatre settings. On the day I visited the school, I gathered information from an in formal conversation with several of the young performers I had watched in the dance fes tival. Frevo dancer Deyvson Vicente describes Macdos working method [my translation]: 49 Recifervendo was choreographed to Antnio Nbregas version of the frevo Vassourinhas composed by Joana Batista and Matias da Rocha in 1909. In this version, Vassourinhas is recorded as a waltz, played by the rabeca mixing erudite and popular culture. 50 The piece Recifervendo was chor eographed by Alexandre Macdo, fo rmer choreographer of the Bal Brincantes.

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116 Alexandre [Macdo] lets us improvise, but only dur ing rehearsals. He tells us that we have eight counts to work with, and each group create s a little piece; later he puts everything together. In this way, I think he extracts the best out of each one of us. (Interview with Deyvson Vicente August18, 2006) [Alexandre deixa a gente criar, mas s durante os ensaios. Ele diz pra a gente que a gente tem oito tempos pra trabalhar, e cada gr upo cria uma combinaozinha, depois ele junta tudo. Dessa forma, eu acho que ele extrai o melhor de cada um.] The freedom and ability to improvise a nd create during rehearsals, but not during performances, distinguish Macdos choreograp hic philosophy from Nascimento do Passos. Heliodora attributed the change I had witnessed to the methods that are currently being taught at the school: What we do here is a street frevo th at we make happen on stage. [O que a gente faz aqui o frevo de rua que a gente faz acontecer no palco] Her statement revealed an eagerness to make a distinction between street frevo and s tage frevo, a topic I decided to investigate further. Although she classified the frevo they performe d as street frevo, there was a deliberate formalization of frevo in the piece. To what ex tent was frevo being modified in order to be staged? Several elements showed the difference be tween the dancers of th e Escola Municipal de Frevo Maestro Fernando Borges of today and th e dancers directed by Nascimento do Passo in the past. In Nascimento do Passos method, frev o dancers followed a specific routine during class and rehearsals, but at the time of performance, they were free to create and improvise as people do during Carnival. In Macdos, the opposite happened: during the choreographic process, students were encourag ed to improvise to create the only final product that was to be performed on stage. Once set, the choreography was to be performed with minimal improvisation. When I attended a frevo class in the same sc hool, I found Mestre Joo Pequeno (the oldest capoeira master alive), and two other capoeiristas watching the young frevo dancers. That was a

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117 unique opportunity, not only to inve stigate the contemporary development of frevo as a formal dance technique, but also to analy ze the changes in frevo as compared to capoeira. Although capoeiras influenced the beginning of frevo, th e two traditions, frevo and capoeira have followed different paths, and today are consider ed two distinct styles (capoeira also being considered a combination of dance and martial art). Mestre Joo Pequeno served as a living represen tation of the influence of capoeira in frevo. As he watched the performance of frevo student s and found himself acquainted with some of the moves, he simplified the discussion stating [my translation], capoeira and frevo are so much alike, but we do not use the um brella in capoeira. (Capoeira e frevo so muito parecidos, mas a gente no usa a sombrinha na capoeira). Making th e discussion of the topic much less important than physical movement, upon my insistence, he moved to the music of frevo, showing his spontaneity and familiarity with the vocabulary of the style and giving kinesthetic explanations to many of my questions. This was, without a doubt, one of the most touching moments of my research, as I witnessed a live exampl e of almost a century of tradition. Object 4-2 Video of Mestre Jo o Pequeno dancing frevo(10,257kb, .mpg) Mestre Joo Pequeno is not al one in claiming the connection of both traditions. Following Freyre, Valdemar de Oliveira finds the spirit of capoeira in frevo [my translation]: I find the spirit of capoeira in what Gilber to Freyre has called the physical and even artistic expression of young virile energy. W ithout intending to discover in them the unjustified and forgotten, reacting victorious ly to the marginalization imposed by the social environment, I am not able, in considering the passistas [frevo dancers], to get rid of the masculine figure of the capoeira (Oliveira 1985, 100 -102) [Encontro o esprito da capoeira aquilo a que Gilbeto Freyre chamou a expresso fsica e at artstica da energia moa e virile. Sem neles pretender descobrir, apenas, injustiados e esquecidos, reagindo vitoriosam ente, marginalizao imposta pelo meio social, no consigo ao considerar os passi stas, desvencilhar-me da figura mscula do Capoeira]

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118 Clearly, Freyre and Oliveira believ ed that an essential part of capoeiras masculinity carried over into frevo. Nascimento do Passo and ot her frevo dancers agree w ith that, in spite of the fact that today frevo female dancers are more common than male dancers in Pernambuco. As the style was formalized and taught in the dan ce schools, it became the emblem of professional dance companies, and the male presence in the da nce diminished. Although frevo continues to be the pride of all people born in Pernambuco, the male presence in frevo often represents a small part of a predominantly feminine universe, in hibiting males from taking frevo classes. For instance, today, most middle-class teenagers at tend capoeira classes as a sign of status and masculinity, and while it is acceptable to dan ce frevo during Carnival, they would refuse to attend formal frevo dance classes. In my experience, when frevo solos are spont aneously performed duri ng Carnival, they are performed by professional dancers, or people who have been exposed to frevo as a dance technique. However, it is rare to find a non professional perf orming intricate frevo steps, although most men born in Pernambuco would claim to know how to dance frevo. Today, contrary to capoeira, the intricacy of frevo steps is mostly asso ciated with professional dancers and not with common people on the streets. Also inspired by the reaction of Mestre Joo Pequeno toward frevo, I analyzed the formalization of frevo steps comparing that proc ess with the creation of the capoeira schools in Brazil (capoeira angola and capoeira regional) .51 According to Mago, a capoeirista from Recife, today there are three styles of playing capoeira: capoeira angola, capoeira regional, and stage 51 In 1932, Manoel Machado, also known as mestre Bimba, opened the first Academia de capoeira in Bahia. His new style, Capoeira Regional, was based on physical fitness and discipline, and was inspired by other fighting arts, changing the movements of the traditional capoeira to a standing position. Vicente Pastinha, known as mestre Pastinha, opened an academy in 1941 to preserve and teach the traditional form of capoeira the Capoeira Angola which stressed the purity of the style, based in flexibility, strength, floor techniques and a special attitude called malcia (malice or trickery).

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119 capoeira.52 My experience working with capoeira Mestre Jelon Vieira53 at the University of Florida, and in Bahia, has shown me part of the transformation of capoeira as it is staged. The capoeira performed by the capoeiristas of Master Jelons dance company, Dance Brazil, represents a stage adapta tion of capoeira regional, an exam ple of the stage capoeira or the capoeira atual. The capoeiristas who belong to more traditional groups in Brazil aim to find their own way of playing, but the one s who are exposed to modern capoeira classes are required to learn their masters version of the formalization pr ocess capoeira has undergone. This process in the modern capoeira classes is similar to the met hodology applied in todays frevo schools and constitutes one of the core elements of a staged frevo performance. The difference between the styles taught in the Escola Munici pal de Frevo Maestro Fe rnando Borges and the style taught by Nascimento do Passo al so illustrates a similar process. Geared to a specific kind of audience, staged dance performance intends to fulfill certain expectations, usually based on the dancers technique and virtuos ity. Alexandre Macdo summarized the difference between Nascimento do Passos method and the new method applied at the school [my translation]: The type of work done by Nascimento do Passo was not intended to be staged. But since I started teaching here [in the school], I began th inking about frevo as not only street frevo but as stage frevo. For stage frevo we n eed another vocabulary. Even in class, we think a lot more about the body than he did, because I have a degree in phys ical education. Since I started teaching here, there we re certain things missing that I considered important. For example, he had a warm up sequence, but I did not find that enough to prepare the students body for the stag e. (Interview with Alexandre Macdo, July 16, 2006) [O trabalho que Nascimento do Passo fez ante s dagente no tinha inteno de palco. Mas desde que eu comecei a ensinar aqui, eu com ecei a pensar sobre frevo no como um frevo de rua, e no frevo de palco a gente prec isa outro vocabulrio. At nas aulas a gente pensa muito mais no corpo do que ele fazia, porque eu tenho formao em educao fsica. 52 In her Samba: Resistance in Motion (1995), Browning calls the modern capoeira, Capoeira Atual. 53 Mestre Jelon Vieira is the founder of the Capoeira Brazil Foundation and the artistic director of Dance Brazil, a contemporary dance company that has its movement vocabulary inspired in capoeira and Afro-Brazilian traditions.

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120 Desde que eu comecei a ensinar aqui, eu sint o falta de algumas coisas que eu considero importante. Por exemplo, ele tinha uma sequ ncia de aquecimento, que eu no achava suficiente pra preparar o co rpo do aluno para o palco] Macdos opinion reflects his recogniti on of the difference between the two methodologies: the former prepared the students to dance frevo in the streets, and the latter prepares the students to dance frevo on stage. However, considering Nascimento do Passos teaching philosophy, it is important to recognize th at he always emphasized a difference between his pedagogical methods, based in his street expe rience, from the frevo performed and staged for tourists by popular dance companies in hotels, tourist events, and small improvised stages. One of Nascimento do Passos goals as he spread frev o was to make and maintain this distinction [my translation]: the people from the tourist agencies always wa nt to showcase us to the tourists, as if it were Carnival. Outside of Pernambuco, people speak only about our Carnival. They do not talk about the beauty of the dance [frevo]! Th ey do not mention that the dance [frevo] has a method, that frevo is an art form, is energy, th at it is something of Pernambuco. They say: go passista, jump, jump, jump, jump! They ma ke the conductors, musicians and passistas crazy, asking us to pretend that it is Carnival, right there in the port. (Nascimento do Passo cited by Oliveira 1993, cover page) [as pessoas das agncias de turismo ficam querendo apresentar a gente pros turistas, como se fosse Carnaval. S falam pro turista, l fora, do carnaval pernambucano. Eles no falam da beleza da dana [frevo]! Eles no fa lam que a dana[frevo] tem uma didtica, que a dana uma arte, energia, pique, coisa pernambucana. No falam disso no. Quando vm aqui : Vai, passista, pula, pula, pula, pula! E agonia os maestros, os msicos, agonia os passistas querendo que a gente faa aq uela encenao, que finja que Carnaval, ali no Porto.] Besides the difference encountered between Nascimento do Passos method and Macdos choreographic approach, severa l different styles exist in Pernambucos dance companies. Heliodora mentioned the importance of individual expression and innovation within the tradition as she stated [my translation]: Each person has a different style, since fre vo was never really codified. Nobody ever said that frevo has a certain number of steps, as in other dances like classical ballet. Frevo is

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121 something that is being created every day; ev ery day a new step is created; our students, for example, create new steps every day. (In terview with Brbara Heliodora July16, 2006) [Cada pessoa tem um estilo diferente, j que o frevo no foi realmente codificado. Ningum nunca disse que frevo tinha uma qua ntidade x de passos como em outras danas como o bal clssico. Frevo algo que t sendo criado todo dia, todo dia um passo novo criado; nossos alunos por exemplo, el es criam passos novos todos os dias.] According to Heliodora, the new technique emphasizes improvisational skills and the individual expression of frevo dancers. Usi ng terminology common to capoeira, Mago stated, Its all about ones body, some people dance a more traditional frevo, with more swing, more ginga, more malcia.54 But while Heliodora states that, some people think that what the school is doing now is not frevo. Heliodora e xplained that Nascimento do Pa ssos frevo and the new frevo of the school differ in teaching style, and in the preparation of the students body prior to dancing frevo [my translation]: It is the same frevo, but now we are more careful, we do half an hour of stretching before each class, so they do not hurt their joints. Be fore, there was nothing like this; they started with frevo and danced frevo throughout the class. But frevo is something that requires a lot of work from ones body; if one does not stre tch before class, the knees will be damaged. Dont you think? (Interview with Brbara Heliodora, July16, 2006) [ o mesmo frevo, mas agora a gente t, a gente tem meia hora de alongamento antes de cada aula, pra que as articulaes no doam. Antes, no tinha nada disso, eles comeavam com frevo e danavam frevo a aula toda. Mas frevo um negcio que requer muito trabalho do corpo, se a pessoa no alonga antes da aula, o joelho vai ser prejudicado. Voc no acha?] In Nascimento do Passos teaching, the first pa rt of the class is used for relaxation and stretching, but his background as a st reet dancer led him to view fr evo steps as ideal for warming up, instead of using specific stretching exercises. However, according to the new director, using only the frevo steps is not enough to prepare the dancers for their performances [my translation]: Especially if you intend to perform in dance festivals, you need to be ready to dance the stage 54 The Portuguese word malcia does not translate to the word malice, but refers to the ability to fool to psych out and mentally disarm an opponent, just as slaves fooled their masters. It is an important part of the capoeira angolas philosophy, which teach es the student to be on guard and to be ready for fighting.

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122 frevo, which requires a lot more work. (Especialm ente se voc pretende danar em festival de dana, tem que estar pronto pra danar o frevo de palco, que requer muito mais trabalho). Once more, Heliodora was borrowing concepts from th e teaching methods of formal dance training present in modern dance. Since modern dance has established itself as a dance technique, the concern for proper warm up of the dancers body has been widely sp read, especially since most of the modern dancers and choreographers come from classical ballet-structured routines. Professional modern dancers have learned ways to warm up their bodi es according to the needs of the stage. The repetition and execution of certain movements which usually fits much more the demands of the choreographer than the dancers themselves require the dancers body to be ready to execute them. Most modern and contemporary teach ers and choreographers have developed their own way to warm up the dancers bodies based on their own teaching approach. According to Heliodora, the stage frevo that is performed in theatres and dance festivals is geared towards a specific audience at a specific event, whereas the street frevo is performed during Carnival by the povo.55 Therefore a formal warm up would not be necessary. Considering this distinction, Nascimento do Pa ssos frevo would fall in between these two categories. He has always been a firm believer in the formalization of the style, and thought a warm-up sequence to be necessary for his dancer s. However, because of his experience as a street dancer and his lack of knowledge of modern dance, he ne ver believed that a dancer must perform a certain sequence other than frevo steps to be ready to dance frevo. For Nascimento do Passo, frevo itself, when taught through his method, was enough to prepare the dancers to perform. 55 The word povo is used here to describe the people who are enjoying Carnival, who do not have any dance training, including tourists.

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123 The capoeirista Mago mentioned a frevo dancer from Recife, Luciano, who currently works with the nationally known musician/dancer An tnio Nbrega and performs a type of frevo that reminds him of capoeira. Raising the questio n of authenticity, Mago desc ribed that particular dancers style as a more authentic frevo. What is considered an authentic frevo? How can street frevo be separated from stage frevo, and based on this division, in which category can Nascimento do Passos frevo be placed? How has the codification of frevo steps contributed to this distinction? When the popular artists Nascimento do Passo and Coruja created schools or performed frevo, they became pioneers in the codification of frevo steps and planted the first seeds for the staging of frevo. In addition to their contribution to the formalization of frevo, Nascimento do Passo and Coruja also participated in one of the first attempts to stage popular dance in Pernambuco indirectly in the Movimento Armorial thereby contributi ng to the idea of authentic frevo which spread throughout the population. Nascimento do Passo and Coruja taught the first steps of frevo to the Bal P opular Recife, the popular dance company which was created as a result of the Movimento Armorial and first staged popular dance in Pernambuco. Movimento Armorial and Frevo The Movimento Armorial had its first involvement with dance through the creation of the Armorial Bal in 1977. Suassuna asked Andr Madur eira to create a dance group to preserve the popular dance traditions of the Northeast. This group was first named Grupo Circense de Dana Popular and later Bal Popular do Recife (Recife Popular Ballet). According to director Madureira, Suassuna never considered the Bal Popular do Recife genuine ly Armorial. However, it is imperative to recognize its contribution to the process of staging popular traditions, including frevo.

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124 To date, the Bal Popular do Recife has cat aloged more than 500 dance steps, besides creating new movements, as a way to preserve spread, and document the northeastern popular dance traditions. The group has its own moveme nt vocabulary and has in spired the founding of other professional dance companies, includ ing the Maracatu Nao Pernambuco, Companhia Trapi de Dana, Bal Brincantes, Companhia Tr ajetos, and Companhia de Arte da Cidade Alta de Olinda. With the help of the dancer Walmir Chagas who drew pictures and created names for dance steps, Madureira documented the dance steps found in several folk traditions of the Northeast. Among others traditions such as the bumba-meu-boi, maracatu, caboclinhos, coco, xaxado, and ciranda, the frevo was studied and then taught to the first generation of the Bal Popular do Recife. The steps found in these traditi ons are vast and diverse, and tend to be linked to a specific ethnic group that performs the traditions. As such, the steps have become representative of these ethnic gr oups. For instance, the steps of maracatu strongly represent Afro-Brazilian influence in Pernambuco, whereas the steps of caboclinhos represent indigenous heritage. In the case of the Bal Popular do Recifes research, the dancers found that by mixing two steps of one tradition they could cr eate a third step that they ta ught to other dancers. The fusion of these steps was innovative and contributed to the unique dance vocabulary found in the performances of the Bal Popular do Recife. Madu reira has stated: This is the reason why if you compare the steps of bumba-meu-boi56 that the Bal [Bal Popular do Recife] performs today with those of the traditional bumba-meu-boi you will notice a great difference (Oliveira de 1993, 151) [Essa a razo pela qual se voc comparar os passos do bumba-meu-boi que o Bal 56 The bumba-meu-boi was one of the first Northeastern popular traditions staged by the Bal Popular do Recife.

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125 (Bal Popular do Recife) dan a hoje com os passos do bumba-meu-boi autntico voc vai notar uma grande diferena.] This hybridity has always been an important element in frevo, since traditionally frevo tends to combine elements from different ethni c groups. The dancers of the Bal Popular do Recife concluded that frevo was the most all-encompassing of all the dances, not only due to the plasticity of each movement, but because the st eps of frevo combined characteristics of other traditions. I would argue that other factors also made frevo the key dance style in the movement vocabulary and in shaping the performances and th e physical preparation of the dancers from the Bal Popular do Recife. For instance, the orig ins of the Bal Popular do Recife as a dance group developed by middle class artists from the urban center of Recife. At the time of the founding of the dance company, frevo was a familiar style to the dancers, much so than any other popular tradition, sure they were familiar with it from Carnival. They were already inside the tradition by the time the company was established. Other popular dances, on the contrary, were located far from thei r range of experience. In order to learn the steps of the maracatu for example, the dancers had to trav el to the outlying areas of Recife, where this tradition was practiced. Their unf amiliarity with the dance vocabulary found in maracatu, in contrast to their familiarity with frev o, most likely influenced their decision to use frevo as the core dance style for their training. The non-religious and non-ethnic association of frevo may al so have facilitated that process. There is no affiliation with religious beliefs in the staging of frevo. This also facilitates the understanding and teaching of that traditi on. The staging of othe r traditions are often associated with a religious or ethnic group, of ten requiring permission on the part of the people

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126 involved to stage them. For example, many chore ographers have been criticized for staging the dances associated with the Afro-Brazilian practice of candombl.57 Several popular traditions are performed using a combination of dance, music and drama, such as bumba-meu-boi and the cavalo marinho therefore requiring kno wledge outside of Recifes popular dances. While the Bal Popular also staged th ese traditions, in this company, dancers were taught through the method of catal oguing steps and exploring the main ideas of these traditions, instead of thei r individual storylines or dram atic features. The method of cataloguing steps was also based on Nascimento do Passo and Corujas way of teaching frevo, who named and taught frevo steps and taught them to the Bal Popular do Recife. However, the frevo staged by the Bal Popular do Recife has characte ristics of its own, and according to the director Andr Madureira, it is adapted from the dance lessons he took with Nascimento do Passo and Coruja. After learning th e basic steps, he adapted them to the style he was creating for his company, a style also infl uenced by combining elements from many other popular traditions. Speaking about the importan ce of frevo for the Bal Popular do Recife, Madureira states [my translation]: The vocabulary of frevo, when talking about st eps, is the most complete. So today in frevo we have, not counting new inventions and the variations of the steps, some 90 steps. Actually, frevo has always been the strength of the Bal Popular do Recife. The Bal always tried to develop its t echnique based on frevo. Also, the rhythm is very catchy, very exciting, for both the dancers and the audience. So, it is clearly a theatrical trick to finish our show with frevo. (Madureira, cited in Oliveira 1993, 151-152) [O manancial de Frevo em relao a passos, ele o mais completo Ento hoje, no frevo, a gente tem, fora as recriaes e as vari aes dos passos, a gente tem noventa passos de frevo. Quer dizer, e depois, o frevo sempre foi o forte do Bal. O Bal sempre procurou desenvolver a sua tcnica de dana em ci ma do frevo. E depois o rtmo, ele muito 57 Candombl is a religious practice that developed specially in Pernambuco and Bahia with West African belief system involving a pa ntheon of deities (orixs and voduns), mostly associated with nature gods, resembling Santera in Cuba.

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127 involvente, muito empolgante, tanto pra quem dana como pr a quem assiste. Ento j uma artimanha cnica, terminar o espetculo com o frevo.] By acknowledging the strong influence of fre vo as a technique in the Bal Popular do Recife and the groups influence on other popular dance compan ies, it is safe to recognize the enormous influence of frevo on the dance scene of Pernambuco. My research into the states contemporary dance scene reinforces this infl uence. Contemporary dance companies feature dancers experienced in the popular dance tradi tions of Pernambuco, ma ny of them former members of the Bal Popular do Recife. For this reason, these dancers te nd to incorporate frevo steps in their movement either consciously or unc onsciously. As examples of this transition from the streets to the stage, and the frevo influence on the contemporary dance scene, I examined two dance groups: the Bal Braslica, a dance company best known as the youth ensemble of the Bal Popular do Recife, and the dance company of th e Escola Municipal de Frevo Maestro Fernando Borges, originally the Escola Municipal de Frevo, founded by Nascimento do Passo. Bal Braslica: Transforming Popular Dance Most of the popular dance companies in Pe rnambuco were founded by former members of the Bal Popular do Recife, and they tend to follow the same pedagogica l model established by that company. An offshoot of the Bal Popular do Recife, the Bal Braslica, was founded on September 27, 1991 with the show O Baile do Menino Deus (The Baby Jesus Ball). At the time, the group was formed by dancers from 12 to 19 years of age, who aspired to become professional dancers in the Bal Popular do Recife. The group has presente d many shows in and out of Pernambuco, including the remake of the Bal Popular do Recife show, Oh! Linda Olinda (Oh Beautiful Olinda) in 1992; the show of celebration of 15 years of a Bal Popular do Recife, O Romance da Nau Catarineta (The Romance of the Nau Catarineta); and the show As Presepadas do Dr. Munganga (The Tricks of Dr. Munganga), which opened in 1993. Originally envisaged as

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128 an amateur group associated with and dependent on the Bal Popular do R ecife, in 2002 the Bal Braslica became an independent group and bega n to be included in the professional dance world. The group started with the creation of a dan ce method to teach northeastern popular dance traditions to students aspiring to become profe ssional dancers. This method was first developed by members of the Bal Popular do Recife in their attempt to enact typical folkloric expressions, such as the reisado, caboclinhos, frevo maracatu, bumba-meu-boi,58 etc, for their movement vocabulary for new shows. The method consists of fusing of all these dances and adapting the steps to fit the demands of the stage. Sim ilar to the Bal Popular do Recife, this group emphasizes frevo as its core dance for the learni ng of other dance styles. Frevo is present in almost every class of the Bal Braslica, and is often combined with one or two other styles of northeastern popular traditions. Directed by the dancer Deca Madureira, one of the sons of the Bal Popular do Recifes director, the Bal Brasl ica differed from the Bal Popular do Recife in its dance philosophy. The Bal Popular do Recife gears its methodology to wards staging popular da nce traditions for tourist performances by codifying traditional da nces. Breaking from that model, the Bal Braslica focuses on interpreting popular dance traditions by mixing them with contemporary dance practices. This is evident from the way da nce classes were taught, including the warm up in which I taught Pilates59 and contemporary dance technique s, and another dancer, Breno taught yoga. Looking back to those days, I find it ironic that for the dancers, including myself, 58 Reisado, caboclinhos and maracatu are Northeastern popular traditions that are linked to religious and identity expressions. 59 Pilates is a system of body stretching and strengthening that has been widely used in the dancers world to prepare dancers for the demands of the stage, preven t injuries and rehabilitating dancers body.

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129 things just happened that way, contemporary ideas were just blended with traditional dance, in a process similar to the way people made fr evo steps just happen in the streets. According to Deca, the Bal Braslica needed to be different from the Bal Popular do Recife in order to find its place in the dance scene of Pernambuco. As he informed me [my translation], People are tired of seeing the same thing over and ove r [referring to the shows of the Bal Popular do Recife] (As pessoas esto cans adas de ver as mesmas coisas sempre.) His statement reflected a concern for finding a pla ce in the job market, and his ideology toward innovation was that the Bal Popul ar do Recife had established its elf by codifying the steps of northeastern popular traditions and that the Bal Bras lica needed to break aw ay from that model. Similar to the Bal Popular do Recife, the Bal Braslica had two main target audiences: tourist events, and shows in thea tres. However, by 2002, tourist events had diminished due to the countrys precarious economic situation. According to Deca, Before, the Bal Braslica used to be much more sought after, (Antigamente o Ba l Braslica era muito mais procurado), since theatrical events made efforts to showcase contemporary dance companies that were newly established. The Bal Braslica attempted to mix both worlds of contempo rary and popular dance traditions with the intent of incr easing its dancers marketability. For as much as the new philosophy helped th e group achieve success, the lack of payment by theatre producers often stopped rehearsals. The financial str uggle made difficult for the group to establish itself in the dance scene of the st ate, since most of its members came from poor financial background, and when they were not paid fo r a show, the next set of rehearsals lost half of the cast, or the show was can celled outright. Most of the dancers lived far from rehearsal space, which made transportation an issue. Thes e financial issues made it impossible for the dancers to dedicate themselves to the pr ofessional demands of the Bal Braslica.

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130 When I visited Recife in 2006, Deca had m oved to So Paulo, following his brother ngelo Madureira, who, along with his partner, Ana Catarina Vieira, had founded the Escola Braslica de So Paulo.60 In Recife, the Bal Braslica is sti ll active, but under different direction and a different approach. However, the pioneer ing nature of this gr oup should be recognized. The Bal Braslica made one of the first attemp ts to blend popular and contemporary dance to create a new teaching method and movement aesth etic. This new method influenced the dance scene of Pernambuco, transforming the philosophy of many other dance sc hools, companies, and choreographers, seen clearly in the approach taken by the director s of the Escola Municipal de Frevo Maestro Fernando Borges. The Escola Municipal de Frevo Maestro Fernando Borges Today It is impossible to ignore the political dimensi ons of theatre and dance. As frevo is being staged and consolidated as a method, the suppor t (or lack of support in most cases), of governmental authorities determine the path followe d by artists. In the sp ecific case of todays frevo, the constant struggle for financial suppor t has shaped the way frevo has developed. As Oliveira has stated in her anal ysis of the transformation of th e popular dance styles to stage shows in Pernambuco, it is important to consider that [my translation]: The theatrical approach of dance has at least two dimensions: one is aesthetic and the other is political, and they are clos ely connected. The political dimension of dance spectacles is clearly revealed by the strength and conviction of the dancers who want to be professional, and are able to overcome all obstacles to realize their goal. (Oliveira 1993, 190) [As realizaes cnicas de dana tm pelo menos duas dimenses: uma esttica e outra poltica, que existem intimamente relacionada s. A dimenso poltica dos espetculos de dana tambm se revela do mpeto e da ga rra dos danarinos que querem e conseguem superar tantos obstculos para a plena realizao dos mesmos.] 60 The Escola Braslica de So Paulo has taken as its source of inspiration the method Braslica of the Bal Braslica do Recife.

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131 The Escola Municipal de Frevo was founde d on March 6, 1996 by Nascimento do Passo, but by 1999 the school had its name changed by th e government to Escola Municipal de Frevo Maestro Fernando Borges. Since the date of its foundation, the school has contributed to social inclusion of the underprivileged through dance by training hundreds of frevo dancers each year. Today, the school holds free frevo classes for mo re than 300 students a year, and sponsors a dance company formed by its 30 best students betw een the ages of 13 and 25. When Nascimento do Passo stopped teaching in 2003, the school has since been run by the municipal government; its employee Brbara Heliodora directs the schoo l, and choreographer Alexandre Macdo, also employed by the municipal government, is resp onsible for the frevo classes and the dance company choreography. When I visited the school, the informal interv iews and my participation in frevo classes contributed to my understanding of the philosoph ical ideals held by the school director and choreographer. They were following rules impos ed by the city government, which justified the new methodology applied as part of their admi nistration. At the same time, Nascimento do Passos teaching techniques continue to influe nce the students and the way they think about frevo. Despite his influence on da ncers technique, the school methodology is now more geared toward contemporary ideas, which added another element for my investigation. As seen on stages and in other formal dance settings in Pernambuco this frevo school has been transformed into a common ground for re search to trace the deve lopment of frevo. Yet, there is a tension between frevo teachers and ch oreographers, since formalization pulls frevo in one direction, toward European trai ning and aesthetics, and its histor ical roots pull it to another, to its Afro-Brazilian heritage.

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132 During my second visit, I filmed and intervie wed several students in a class in which I participated. During class, about 11 dancers between six and eighteen years of age performed frevo steps. They had no hesitati on in showing their expertise, ev en in front of the camera. The dancers joy was contagious, and their spont aneity became an inspiration to my work. After class was over, they que stioned why I was there and why I wanted to videotape them. When I explained the reasons for my visit, they spontaneously volunteered to speak, which made the interview process much easier than I had anticipated. I had purposely not formulated any specific questions that day. I wa nted to hear what they had to say about frevo; I wanted their spontaneity to lead our discussion in a manner similar to the way frevo performances unfold. While they showed a great deal of pride in thei r knowledge, they respected me as their teacher, which reminded me of Nascimento do Passos ph ilosophy, since I am older than they are, and Nascimento do Passo always stressed the hierarchy of age in the dance world. I was acutely aware of the precarious financia l condition in which th ey lived, since I knew that the school was funded by th e city government and most of these young dancers were living in the slums surrounding it. During the interviews I asked about th eir future, questioning their thoughts and desire about becoming professiona l dancers. They soon corrected me saying, Dancers no, passistas as they emphasized the difference the title made in their lives. As Nascimento do Passo always insisted th ey attended frevo classes to become passistas,61 not to become any other kind of professional dancer. They also demonstrated th eir eagerness to teach and spread frevo (Figure 4-1). However, due to Pernambucos socio-economic reality, the difficulty of surviving as a popular dancer is only equal to the difficulty of surviving as a fre vo dancer, especially 61 In this case, the word passista is referring to someone who is highly trained in the frevo technique, someone who masters all frevo steps, as the word capoeirista defines the capoeira player.

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133 considering that the audiences for frevo performances tend to be limited to Carnival or the seasonal tourist industry. Their passion led them to specialize in frevo, but encouraged by teachers, choreographers, and the mentality pres ent in the dance scene of today, they believed that mastering a diversity of styles could he lp their dance technique improve their frevo performance and their job pr ospects. Thus, while they saw themselves mainly as passistas they were pragmatic about their need for ma stering diverse styl es (Figure 4-2). Their statements reflected the new philos ophy that has emerged since Nascimento do Passo left the school. The idea of constructing this new technique for stage performances, plus increased exposure to dance festivals has motivated students to seek out different dance styles. As Bruno Henrique stated [my translation], As dancers we should learn not only frevo but other dance styles of our culture such as maracatu, coco, caboclinhos as well as jazz, ballet, and contemporary dance. [Como danarinos ns temos que aprender no s o frevo mas outras danas da nossa cultura como maracatu coco, caboclinhos como tambm jazz, ballet e dana contempornea]. In addition to the demands of entering the job market, the cultural diversity characteristic of Pernambuco seemed to raise dancers interest in increasing their dance vocabulary. Another dancer, Werison Fidelis stated [my translation]: In particular, I love classical ballet and cont emporary dance, and it is hard to say which one I like best. When somebody asks whic h style I like the most, I pref er to say that I have lots of sons and daughters, and as a father I can not say which one I like best. [Particularmente, eu amo ballet clssico, cont emporneo, e difcil dizer qual o que eu gosto mais. Quando algum pergunta, de que est ilo eu gosto mais, eu prefiro dizer que eu tenho um monte de filhos e filhas, e como pai eu no posso dizer de qual eu gosto mais.] The perspectives of these young passistas, Bruno Henrique and We rison Fidelis, guided my investigation into the elements that constitute stage frevo. While assessing how much other styles have affected or changed frevo, Br uno Henrique also stated [my translation]:

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134 It is not a question of change; they [the othe r styles of dancing] help. Because during the time of Nascimento do Passo, the frevo he taught was purely improvised. But since today we are members of the schools dance compa ny, we dance in theatres, not only in the streets. Because people think that frevo is so mething danced in a crowd, but that is not entirely right, frevo can be choreographed. And since we dance on stage, we need the posture that only ballet and j azz can give us, especially since we are all so loose (as he drops his shoulders down). [No uma questo de mudar, eles [os outro s estilos de dana] ajudam. Porque no tempo de Nascimento do Passo, o frevo que ele ensinava era muito solto. Mas j que hoje ns somos membros da companhia de dana da es cola, a gente dana em teatros, no nas ruas porque as pessoas pensam que frevo s aquela multido, mas no, frevo pode ser coreografado. E j que a gente dana no palco, a gente precisa da postura que s o ballet clssico e o jazz pode dar pra a gente, especi almente j que a gente assim to solto (ao mexer com os ombros).] Bruno Henriques understanding was contrary to the freedom emphasized by Nascimento do Passos methodology. For this young dancer, perfor ming with a more upright trained posture was a pre-requisite for the stag e (Figure 4-3). In his comments he favored European ballet aesthetics over local tradition, which is based more on Afro-Brazilian aesthetics. Frevo is being shaped by the concepts of beauty and aesthetic struct ures emphasized in the ballet world. The African origins and influence on the style are sub tly being denied even by the frevo dancers of Pernambuco. The constant influence of other dance styles may have contributed to the development of these dancers technique towards a contempor ary direction. The performance of Werison Fideliss piece in the IV Most ra de Dana do Recife, and his acquaintance with contemporary dance concepts illustrate this development. In the festival, Werison performed with a chair as a prop. His piece may have suffered for lack of orig inality, had Werison Fidelis not surprised the audience with the virtuosity of his performance. When asked about his acquaintance with the contemporary dance world, Werison pr oudly told me [m y translation]: I started as a passista but the Escola Municipal de Fre vo Maestro Fernando Borges opened my eyes, showed me that there are many ways to go, such as classical ballet, contemporary dance, jazz, etc That is when I decided to go to the Bal Bolshoi. They asked me for a

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135 video of a dance piece. It could have been something I had performed before, but I decided to create something new, and that was when I created the chair dance. I sent it [the video of the piece] there [to the dance festival ], they selected me, and that was it. [Eu comecei como passista, mas a Escola Municipal de Frevo Maestro Fernando Borges abriu meus olhos, me mostrou que tem muito s caminhos pra ir, como ballet clssico, contemporneo, jazz, etc... Foi quando eu decidi ir pro Ballet Bolshoi. Eles me pediram um vdeo de uma coreografia. Podi a ter sido qualquer coisa que eu j tivesse danado antes, mas eu decidi criar uma coisa nova, foi quando eu criei a dana da cadeira. Eu mandei pra l (IV Mostra de Dana do Recife), eles me selecionaram, e foi isso.] Werison explained that his intention in that pi ece was to show the audience that a dancer is not limited to the stage [my translation]: Some times people think that dancing in the theatre really means just dancing in the theatre, on that dance floor. I wanted to show that it can be different, that the stage is only an extens ion of the creativity of each dancer, each choreographer. (s vezes as pessoas pensam qu e danar no teatro real mente significa danar no teatro, no linleo. Eu queria mostrar que di ferente, que o palco s uma extenso da criatividade do bailarino, do core grafo.) Werison Fideliss piece exemplifies a contemporary way of working with props. The use he makes of the chair and the technical strength he shows in his dancing adds another face to the contemporary dance scene. However, I believe his ability could have resu lted from his training as a frevo dancer and his practice using the frevo umbr ella. After watching the performa nce and interviewing Werison, I concluded that his piece is an example of the constant exchange of dance styles present in Pernambucos current dance scene. On the one hand, dancers are being trained and influenced by the popular traditions of the st ate, and end up joining the cont emporary dance scene (as in the case of Werison); on the other, popular dance traditions are being influenced by contemporary ideas (as in the staging of frevo and the di fferent performances of dancers trained in contemporary technique).

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136 Hundreds of dancers circulate from the popular to the formal and to contemporary dance training on a daily basis in Pernambu co as Werison Fidelis does. The passistas of the past are now the contemporary dancers of the present. Th eir dance training, comprising the conscious or unconscious blending of frevo with other dance techniques, serves as the foundation for a hybrid style of dance technique that Pernambuco is e xporting to the world, allowing frevo to cross boundaries and to go beyond its local folkloric root s and regional expression. The Contemporary Dance Scene: Frevo Beyond its Folkloric Expression The insistence by traditionalist dancers a nd choreographers on separating the popular and contemporary dance of frevo does not stop th e theatres and streets of Pernambuco from functioning as melting pots for these dance styles The celebration of 100 years of frevo also symbolizes the establishment of a new menta lity toward dance in Pernambuco. While schools, popular dance companies, the media, and official institutions celebrate th e frevo centennial based on the idea of an authentic frevo, the cont emporary dance scene appr oaches the celebration differently. It breaks away from the clichs that have surrounded the subject and explores new forms of staging the tradition. Since I started to write this work in Februa ry 2007, the month and year of the official anniversary of frevo, numerous dance shows ha ve been breaking away from the authentic frevo. Throughout the state, several is sues are relevant to the analysis of frevo as a dance style. It would be impossible to investig ate all of Pernambucos dance companies and choreographers who have created works based on the renewed inte rest in frevo. For the purpose of this study, the electronic material available guided my inve stigation. The article Uma Investigao Sobre o Frevo, by Recife-based dancer and journalist Va lria Vicente caught my attention, providing the focus of my investig ation. Vicente has stated [my translation]:

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137 The issued surrounding the use of popular dance or social dance in the contemporary dance scene is one of the subjects that has been haunting me. Maybe because in Recife, where I was raised, a great variety of these dances are performed all year long in the everyday course of public events; or perhaps because I have been noticing that the information provided by these dances cons titutes part of my own body language such that ignoring them will not allow them to go away.... (Vicente 2006) [A questo do uso das danas populares ou danas sociais na cena de dana contempornea um desses assuntos que me perseguem. Talvez porque no Recife, onde me criei, uma grande variedade dessas danas se reveza dur ante o ano no cotidiano dos eventos pblicos; talvez porque venho percebendo que as informaes dessas danas compem minha corporalidade de tal forma que i gnor-las no as retira da cena] Like many dancers from Pernambuco, Valria Vicente first trained in popular dances and then, by being exposed to contemporary dance, finds herself reflecting on the influence of popular dance in her dance vocabular y. Along with other five dancers Leda Santos, Calixto Neto, Marcelo Sena, Iane Costa, and Jaflis Nascimento (Nascimento do Passos son) Vicente researched frevo and concluded that it has a sp ecific body language that profoundly contributes to the creation of movements in contemporary da nce pieces. These dancers have observed that the process of staging frevo in Recife has b een characterized by synchronizing movements and the use of traditional stage settings (dancer s positioned toward th e audience and rarely demonstrating movement innovations). These formally trained dancers view frevo a nd its large repertoire of steps, body dynamics and individual creation, as sour ces of inspiration. And thr ough their choreography, they have created different movements in which they shift their body weight by moving naturally and allowing the steps to happen as a consequence of natural movement. This research in the mechanics of body movement is intended to show that frevo and its body language constitutes a unique dance style, since it combines several te chniques, thereby creatin g cultural and social legacy. As Jaflis Nascimento says in the same article, Frevo is the plasticity of Pernambuco, referring to the way the dance became a cultural symbol for the state and defines its people.

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138 This new generation of dancers (many of th em former frevo dancers) view frevo as something that goes beyond its folkloric expressi on, representative of an artistic legacy, and technique in constant development. When speaking about the pedagogy surrounding the frevo dance style, Vicente stated [my translation]: The pedagogical organization of the teaching of frevo was structured through cataloguing steps, baptizing and defining their form. Therefor e, frevo is learned through its basic steps: ponta-de-p-calcanhar, tesoura, saci-perer, trocadilho Considering that teaching method influences the perception of the dance, and its forms of scenic approach, it is of interest to note that the di vision of frevo into steps was a specific choice, and although anchored in many social aspects, as seen in the facts of its context of the origin and development this approach should not be the only one to determine it. Dividing frevo into steps is just one way of comprehending it, but we cannot avoid noticing that this way of approaching the tradition is linked to a spec ific socio-political vi ew of frevo. (Vicente 2006) [Tambm a organizao pedaggica do ensino do Frevo foi estruturada atravs da catalogao de passos, batizados e definidos em sua forma. Assim, aprende-se Frevo atravs de seus passos bsicos: ponta-de-p-calcanhar tesoura, saci-perer, trocadilho Pensando que a forma de transmisso indica percepes sobre a dana e formas de abordagens cnicas, talvez seja interessante notar que a diviso do Frevo em passos foi uma opo e, apesar de ancorada em vrios aspectos, fatos e situaes do surgimento e desenvolvimento do Frevo, essa abordagem no precisa ser vista como a nica ou a que define melhor o que ele A diviso do frevo em passos apenas uma das formas de compreend-lo; e no podemos deixar de notar que a forma de abordar o movimento est ligada a pensamentos norteadores.] Another part of this research focuses on th e relationship between frevo and violence. How are we to understand the orig in of frevo, knowing that its elements, once characterized by violence and social struggle, have now become symbols of j oy and virtuosity? Vicente argues that one possible approach to th e subject is to return to the pa st and recognize the Afro-Brazilian influence in the body movement of the frevo danc er. The article suggests that [my translation], One way of finding the real orig in of frevo was to desembranquec-lo, [to exclude its white elements], in order to temporarily escape from the transformations caused by its stylization for the stage or from the attempts to make it beautiful according to European aesthetics. Vicente and this group of dancers believed that when frevo was staged [my translation]:

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139 it became easier to perform, and as we see ourselves dancing we realize that it was the white Iberian eye, with its traditional per ception of beauty, that made frevo danced in a more upright position, with closed legs, with less ginga and less malcia, and, when performed on stage, to be more synchronized. (Vicente, 2006) [ficou mais fcil dan-lo. E ao nos vermos danar, pudemos ver que foi o olhar brancoibrico e uma percepo clssica do belo, que deixou o frevo mais ereto, com pernas fechadas, com menos ginga e malcia, pa dronizado, e em sua execuo no palco, sincronizado.] This ideology of authenticity linked to raci al identity recognizes two different types of frevo, one frevo linked to the Afro-Brazilian her itage, performed more spontaneously, with less rigid movements, and another performed more upright, in a more synchronized way, following stage structures that would fit European concepts of beauty. However, by returning to the roots of frevo, we have a different interpretation of the process of formalization which took place whenever frevo was staged or ta ught in schools as a formal dan ce technique. This historical perception recognizes the pr esence of the Afro-Brazilian heritage in the origin of the style, since it brings a different understanding of the process of formalization. Instead of preserving frevo, the staging process can be considered a negation of its roots, because it imposes European ideas of formalization. Here the dancers/choreographers justify ideas about authenticity in the investigation of the historical roots of frevo movements, which they e nvision as related to soci al struggle, not only to the African-based aesthetic. Considering that frev o as a folkloric expression is a constant in Pernambuco up to today, and that it has a consider able influence on the dance scene, how can we reconcile its African origins with its place in modern dance? The research above mentioned resulted in the stage production Fervo in September 2006 in Recife. In Fervo the history of frevo is told in several pieces, from a contemporary perspective. Assuming that frevo started in a cont ext of social tension, th e show returns to the past to explain the present of th e tradition. This is a very inno vative approach and contrasts with

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140 the traditional way the anniversary of 100 years of frevo has been celebrated. In this show, frevo has encounters with rock, hip-hop, roda de pogo,62 and even the waltz, trac ing its social history and breaking away from the traditional institutio nal folkloric celebration of the style (Figure 44). The choreography is not based exclusively in the movements originating from frevo, but in the social context in which frevo started the post-slavery abolition period, and the subsequent repression of Afro-Brazi lian culture. Following the whitening ideas prevalent in the nineteenth century, and later in frevos hist ory, the expression of joy symbo lically overcomes suffering, and pain is transformed into pleasur e. The codification of the step s fits the ideals of whitening characteristic in the evolution of the styl e. According to Vicente [my translation]: The questions that cause us fear are historically constructed. The legacy of slavery is not only part of the slaves who were beaten, but ar e also part of the master who beat them. The way the city of Recife deals with this t oday is the same as it was 100 years ago. The violence of todays social problems, exist in peoples bodies, but th is is not recognized. (Vicente, 2006) [As questes que nos afligem so historicamente construdas. A herana da escravido no est somente no escravo que apanhava, mas ta mbm no senhor que batia. A forma como o Recife lida com isso nas relaes sociais pare ce ser a mesma de 100 anos atrs. Existe, nos problemas sociais de hoje, uma violncia no corpo das pessoas, mas que no est assumida.] In Fervo newspapers are thrown on the stage floo r to symbolize the information the group researched in the public archives of Recife. Th e newspapers are part of the stage scenery to 62 Pogo dance is one of the most important elements of a punk show in Brazil. The dance consists of the moments of joy and energy, when punks and the surfers hug each other. The verb Pogar translates to the verb to dance in a punk context: to dance to a hard sound, full of energy. The entire body vibrates and the dancer tends to jump, to run, kicking the world. The roda de pogo is a natural evolution of the pogo with the participants intuitively dancing towards the same direction, but only in circles. It seems to be natural to move counterclockwise. It is also common to find the participants smiling, symbolizing the freedom of a punk party.

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141 reveal that the printed material a bout violence in turn-of-the-centur y Recife is similar to that of today, when Recife was beset with numerous social conflicts, filling up the pages of the newspapers with stories of deat hs, torture and the search for criminals by the police, which recalls the shocking medi a coverage of today. As the show begins, dancers ye ll out the events printed in th e newspaper to show that an overdose of news can also be violent. According to Vicente, The press is part of the society. As in any artistic expression, it is a very inte resting place to find and comprehend the social structure. In Fervo we show this role as played by th e press. As she explains the creation process of the show she points out the importance of the artist s collaboration and individual expression [my translation]: Today, this is the only way I see for the show not to fall into preconceived notions. It is true that we are able to leave the comfort z one, for being more familiar to us. But as soon as the cast members take on their creative roles, the movements are defended with more authority and the audi ence can clearly see the pro cess suffered by the living body, and not just one sculpted by technique. (Vicente, 2006) [Atualmente esta a nica opo que eu e nxergo para que o espetculo no seja uma imagem pr-criada. verdade que samos de um lugar mais seguro, por ser mais conhecido. Mas assim que o elenco assume se u papel criador, as movimentaes so 'defendidas' com mais propriedade e, prin cipalmente, o pblico pode ver o processo do corpo vivo, e no apenas esculpido por uma tcnica.] Vicente used the individual expression of th e cast to its full potential. She highlights the interpretive skills of dancer Leda Santos, the versatility and impr ovisational qualities of Jaflis Nascimento, the spontaneity of Iane Costa, and the delicacy and precision of Calixto Neto, as essential elements in choreographic process. She states that as the boiling sensation characteristic of frevo cannot happen in the stre ets without the pa rticipation of the crowd, this piece could never have happened without the contribution of the dancers (Figure 4-5).

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142 The Deconstruction of Frevo Part of the strength of the show, similar to a frevo performance, comes from its music, an original soundtrack composed by Silvrio Pessoa, Yuri Queiroga and the band Coletivo DerrubaJazz. The soundtrack, like the show itsel f, is a non-linear trip through frevo, composed by samples, electronic effects, noises, voices, the tambourine, trumpet and trombone. According to Silvrio Pessoa63 [my translation]: We tried to retain the themes, aiming to ma ke the audience feel a specific way, either through the tension, emotion, or through the st eps of the dancers. I was particularly motivated by the gestures, the language of thei r [the dancers] eyes and of their hands in perfect counterpoint with the soundtrack. I w ould call the track a d econstruction of the traditional concept of frevo as is the choreography. (Pe ssoa, in Vicente 2006, Do Frevo ao Fervo) [Procuramos deixar os temas objetivando emocio nar, seja na tenso, seja na emoo, ou nos passos dos danarinos. Algo que particul armente me estimulou bastante foram os gestos, a linguagem dos olhos e das mos em pe rfeito contraponto rtmico com a trilha. Eu chamaria a trilha uma "desconstruo do conceito tradicional de frevo assim como a coreografia.] A deconstruction of the traditional concept of frevo is the expression used by Pessoa to describe the show Fervo. As Pessoa refers to the traditional concept of frevo, he addresses the way the audience is used to watching frevo bei ng performed, either in theatrical settings, as a formalized tradition, or in the streets of Carniv al as a folkloric expression, following an agreed upon notion of authenticity, not its actual origin. Even in conceptualizing the tradition accordi ng to contemporary standards, it is important to recognize the popular artists like Nascimento do Passo and Coruja, who worked toward the codification of frevo steps and the staging of the tradition. Al though these popular artists were 63 In the 1990s, the musician and composer Silvrio Pe ssoa became known as the lead singer of the band Cascabulho, since then, he is been known for mixing the sound of traditional music, such as the ones by popular artists Jackson do Pandeiro ( coco ), with urban sounds such as Hip Hop and electronic music. Originally from the Zona da Mata, he is also known for bringing the sounds of popular music traditions such as cavalo-marinho, bumbameu-boi etc, to the urban center of Recife.

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143 unconsciously influenced by European aesthetics a nd the concept of beauty as they passed on the tradition and in the construction of the authentic frevo, it is important to understand that no dance style can be deconstructed without having been previously formalized or codified. For instance, modern dance originated from classical ballet, a technique that had been constructed for years, and later transformed according to the dancers needs for self-expression. When we consider this deconstruction proces s in relation to more than just the technical dance aspects of frevo, we can conclude that st aging process of frevo with its focus on individual expression and spontaneous creation is a reflection of f undamental changes in Pernambucos society at large motivated by the actions of popular artists.

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144 Figure 4-1 Female and male passista. Photo courte sy of the Escola Municipal de Frevo Maestro Fernando Borges Figure 4-2 Escola Municipal de Frevo Maes tro Fernando Borges Dance Company. Photo courtesy of the Escola Municipal de Frevo Maestro Fernando Borges

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145 Figure 4-3 Passista Bruno Henri que performing one of the fre vo steps, the Carpado. Photo courtesy of the Escola Municipal de Frevo Maestro Fernando Borges Figure 4-4 Fervo in Do Frevo ao Fe rvo Photo by Andre Dib. Source: http://www.overmundo.com.br/impri me_overblog/do-frevo-ao-fervo-1

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146 Figure 4-5 Fervo in Do Frevo ao Fervo. Photo by Andre Dib Source http://www.overmundo.com.br/impri me_overblog/do-frevo-ao-fervo-1 Figure 4-6 Teatro Santa Isabel in Recife, one of the main sites for staging frevo. Photo by Jamildo Melo. Source: http://jc.uol.com.br/blogs/bl ogdejamildo/2007/04/07/index.php

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147 CHAPTER 5 CONCLUSION In a broader sense, this work has sought to demonstrate that while the participation of popular dancers, such as Nascimento do Passo and Coruja, contribu ted to the emphasis on individual expression and to th e formalization of the steps th at influenced the popular and contemporary dance companies of Pernambuco, they began the process of staging frevo. In previous works, the origin of frevo was attributed only to th e movements of the capoeiras in front of the marching bands in the Carnival of Pernambuco in the early twentieth century, but when I compared this informati on to my own experience as a fre vo dancer, and the opinions of people interviewed in this work, the developm ent of frevo steps was still controversial. I found that oral tradition and the assumptions of scholars that the capoeiras weapons and defense movements were replaced by the use of umbrellas 64 and by the intricacy of frevo steps were insufficient explanations for the developmen t of frevo. When investigating the authentic frevo staged today in Pernambuco by popular da nce companies, and the frevo pieces created by contemporary choreographers, I foun d that, the historical roots of the tradition were not simply connected to the practice of capoeira, but were also influenced by the ideology of the dominant class in Pernambuco, mostly composed of people of white or European descent. This fact explained the differences between the frevo step s of today and the movements of capoeira, as well as the different paths fr evo and capoeira have followed. Capoeira has gone from being repressed by the authorities to achievi ng high social status and prestige. The practice of capoeira toda y is widespread among middle-class young people who attend capoeira classes for physi cal fitness in different parts of Brazil and all over the world. Frevo has achieved the status of being a symbol of identity for Pernambuco, as the main dance 64 Frevo umbrellas are considered, to this day, one of the main symbols of the tradition.

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148 tradition in Recifes Carnival, but has remained largely a regi onal symbol. Through the process of formalization, the creation of the schools of ca poeira angola and regional, capoeira has carved out a place for itself in gyms inside Braz il and around the world. This has promoted the acceptance of the style by people ot her than Afro-Brazilians. The im portance of that process is the affirmation of Afro-Brazilian identity w ithin Brazilian culture. Although, modified and adapted to the standards of the dominant class, capoeira remained representative of AfroBrazilian culture within Brazil, and mos tly retains Afro-Brazilian aesthetics. Frevo, on the contrary, has been considered mor e inclusive, a tradition that represents a mix of races. But in reality, this concept is used to reinforce the ideology that denies the strong African influence in Pernambuco. Today, the da ncing of frevo and the practice of capoeira constitute two different worlds, the former sy mbolizing the mixed population of Recifes urban center, with the latter representing a national Af ro-Brazilian culture. The two traditions have developed independently in Pernambuco, reinforci ng the tendency of the society of Pernambuco to separate cultural traditions linked to Afri can heritage. In Pernambuco, Afro-Brazilian traditions have been looked down upon, as in the example of the maracatu,65 which was never considered an appropriate symbol of collective state identity, since its musical aesthetics and symbols are more strictly tied to African heritage. The presence of leaders of the regionalist m ovements in the organiza tion of frevo contests serves to locate the process of formalization of frevo within a broader ideology that was being led by the government during the 1950s. The re gionalist ideas of the time perpetuated through 65 M aracatus are Recifes Carnival groups that have their roots on the colonial institution of the king of the Congo, in which blacks were allowed to crown symbolic kings and queens of their Af rican nations and organize processions with Africanstyle music and dance.

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149 frevo contests were developed by the same peopl e, who were their organizers and judges, and who later planted the seeds for the Movimento Armorial during the 1970s The participation of popular artists in these contests was crucial to the institutionalization of frevo as a popular tradition, representing a way to bring frevo from the streets to the stages. Shaped by the ideology of the time, these contests served to showcase the dancers talent and allowed popular dancers such as Nascimento do Passo and Coruja to affirm the importance of frevo. In these contests, they esta blished their own style of dancing frevo, a style that they later taught to professional dancers, and which is now used as inspiration for the new contemporary creations. Today, their lifetime dedication to frev o, marked by their struggles and achievements as frevo dancers, symbolize the attempt of the people to preserve their tradition. Along with the inspiration of popular artist s in preserving frevo, the variety of popular dance traditions present in Pernambuco ( frevo, maracatu, coco, ciranda, caboclinhos, xaxado among others affected by regionalis t movements) led me to inves tigate the influence of these popular dance traditions on the deve lopment of todays frevo. Only a very small portion of the population in Pernambuco gave va lue to popular traditions until the Movimento Armorial in the 1970s. When the writer Ariano Suassuna attempte d to mix elements of popular and erudite culture in the Movimento Armorial he tried to revitalize the trad itions of Pernambuco, striking up a sense of state pride. In the dance scene, these ideas motivated the formalization of popular dance traditions as stage forms, the founding of dance companies, and the creation of teaching methods. As I analyzed the contemporary dance scene of Pernambuco, I noticed that the impact of frevo was stronger than that of other popular da nce traditions. Although th e frevo steps of today have been influenced by other popular dance trad itions, no other tradition had as much of an

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150 impact on the contemporary dance scene in Pernam buco as frevo. This fact links the process of formalization to frevo which, in turn, proves th e important contribution of frevo contests and popular artists in this process. During frevo contests, popular dancer s were judged by the states elite the same elite that followed the dictates of European culture, emphasizing the frevo de bloco,66 while overlooking popular Afro-Brazilia n elements present in the frevo de rua (street frevo). Through time, this difference became more marked, and fre vo steps, which originated in street frevo, have been cleaned up to fit the standards of the European aesth etics. Popular dancers such as Nascimento do Passo and Coruja un consciously served to intermediate this process. As they started teaching frevo in public schools, performed for the state media, and taught dancers of the Bal Popular do Recife, they contributed to a pro cess of formalization that has paved the way of frevo from the street to the contemporary dance scene. At the same time, they contributed to the construction of the idea of authentic frevo, paving the way for frevo steps into theatre and dance companies of the state and beyond. As they codified frevo steps, teaching hundreds of da ncers the steps of their individual styles, they consolidated the material th at is now being researched by contemporary dancers and choreographers. While the participation of popular artists in frevo contests contributed to the formalization of the traditi on and motivated the unique style found in Pernambucos contemporary dance scene, their improvisation and innovation have been at the core of inspiration since frevos beginning. This process exemplifies how the concept of authenticity is embedded in the culture of Pernambuco. As illustrated by the interviews in this work, the authentic frevo has always been 66 Frevo de bloco is a type of singing frevo influenced by European culture

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151 an important topic of discourse. Frevos music and dance style were established by its unique characteristics. People in Pernambuco today have a sense of ownership of what is considered to be the authentic frevo. What few of them are able to recognize is how this idea of authenticity has been shaped by the dominant ideology. The hi storical and socio-economic realities of the contemporary dan ce scene of this northeastern stat e and its influence inside and outside Brazil, thus presented a unique opportunity to link past and present, and to analyze the impact of frevo. The understanding of historically constructed concepts furthers the analyses of the development of frevo as a dance tradition and explains its transformation through time. After the development of nationalist and regi onalist movements, the creation of samba was addressed to the Afro-Brazilian community, and the creation of fr evo to the mixed population of the urban center of Recife. Today, frevo repres ents to the state of Pernambuco what samba represents to Brazil: a symbol of collective cult ural identity. Distinct from the formation of samba schools, which remained largely linked to black origins, frevo gradually adhered to the whitening concepts strongly embedded in the society of Pernambuco, disguised by the symbolic representation of Recifes mixed population. Although today fr evo is praised as a symbol of identity for Pernambuco, the elite adap ted frevo to their Euroce ntric perspective, not because it was symbolic of regionalist mesti agem, but as something exciting, culturally marginal and hard to ignore. The celebration of the centennial of frevo, is a particularly appropr iate moment for the investigation of historically co nstructed concepts embedded in the contemporary dance scene. While staging other popula r dance styles, dance companies ha ve lost the enacting of popular traditions, and staging frevo, I argue, has led them to a return to their historical roots. This process happens because when contemporary dancers research frevo, they value its core element:

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152 individual expression. Frevo, the dance which de veloped from the spontaneous movements of the common people and capoeiras in the nineteenth century is present in the spontaneous creations of the contemporary dancer of todays Pernambuco. Contemporary dance pieces accentuate a shift in the interpreta tions of this dance tradition, a nd in the understanding of its roots by dancers, choreographers and members of the society. Frevo is not viewed only as a symbol of cu ltural identity of Pernambuco. With the new creations, contemporary choreograp hers separate frevo from the elements that constitute the authenticity of the tr adition, always emphasized by the popul ar dance companies, and explore historical aspects of the trad ition on stage. The movements that were once formalized for preservation of the dance are now reinterpreted to e xplain the connection between frevo and the society. The colors of Carnival, represented in the frevo costumes and once symbolic of the authentic frevo, are replaced largely by th e individual expression of the dancers. Through contemporary ideas, the stages of Pern ambuco become the scenario for the return of frevo to its original roots: one of individual expression and resistance. The tension between contemporary choreographers and po pular artists regarding how to preserve the tradition, as the one I encountered in the Escola Municipal de Frevo Maestro Fernando Borges, for instance, favors new choreographic creations therefore contri buting to the inclusion of more dancers in the job market. I view formalizati on as one of the tools for th e development of the tradition. The same reasons that made frevo the key da nce in establishing the movement vocabulary of the Bal Popular do Recife during the 1970s has transformed fr evo into the core element for contemporary dance in Pernambuco. When contempor ary dance choreographers choose frevo as a source of inspiration for their creations, they ar e exploring a style that is hybrid in its nature, for combining characteristics of other dance traditions, and a styl e that has been embedded in the

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153 body of their dancers. The previous contact of the dancers with the style either through participation in Carnival or in popular dance co mpanies, creates a degree of familiarity that facilitates a more intuitiv e process of interpretation. The non-religious aspects of frevo also fac ilitates the finding of a common style of movement among dancers, although, I argue that the close associati on of the style with the AfroBrazilian heritage motivates a link between frevo dancers and the religiosity present in the AfroBrazilian tradition. If the secr et for preservation of Afro-B razilian religion in Brazil is syncretism, its ability to absorb Catholic or ot her religions, rather than being displaced by other forms, the absorption of other dan ce styles in frevo can be seen as a key survival strategy for the preservation of the tradition. The dynamic movements of fr evo are representative of its environment and have been shaped accordi ng to concepts embedded in the society of Pernambuco, but the pedagogy created by popular artists such as Nascimento do Passo and Coruja demonstrate their agency in response to the dominant ideology. In 2007, as the frevo vocabulary is found embodi ed in the dancers in Pernambuco and the concept of authenticity is investigated and re placed by questions related to the historical roots of the tradition. More ginga and malcia take the steps of frevo from the streets to the theaters of Pernambuco. As they are exposed to th e new interpretations of the dance style, the audience in Pernambuco encounters a new fr evo. Shows like Fervo, which emphasize the repressed issues of class and race embedded in this dynamic yet traditional dance style shows this new frevo, one less disguised by the whi tening ideology of the dominant class and validated by the influence of popular artists, w ho have dedicated their lives to preserve the tradition.

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154 LIST OF REFERENCES Almirante. 1967. Como se dana o frevo in Antologia do carnaval do Recife Recife, PE, Brazil: Fundao Joaquim Nabuco/ Editora Massangana. Andrade, Mrio de. 1959. Danas dramticas do Brasil in Obras completas de Mrio de Andrade, So Paulo, SP, Brazil: Livraria Martins Editra. Arajo, Rita de Cssia Barbosa de. 1996. Festas : Mscaras do tempoentrudo, mascarada e frevo no carnaval do Recife Recife, PE, Brazil: Fundao de Cultura da Cidade do Recife. Bakhtin, Michail. 1968. Rabelais and his world. Bloomington: Indiana University Press. Bastides, Roger. 1945. Imagens do Nordeste mstico em branco e preto Rio de Janeiro, RJ, Brazil: Empresa Grfica O Cruzeiro. Bentley, Leslie. 2005. A Brief Biography of Pa ulo Freire Retrieved from Pedagogy and Theatre of the Oppr essed, (Current: 12/99) www.ptoweb.org (Oct 2007) Borba Filho, Hermilo. ed. 1951. Danas pernambucanas Rio de Janeiro, RJ, Brasil: Casa do Estudante do Brasil. Browning, Brbara. 1995. Samba: Resistance in motion arts and politics of the everyday. Bloomington: Indiana University Press. Cascudo, Lus da Cmara. 1954. Dicionrio do folclore brasileiro Rio de Janeiro, RJ: INL, 3 edio, 1972. Costa e Silva, Alberto da. 2003. Um rio chamado atlntico: A f rica no Brasil e o Brasil na frica. Rio de Janeiro, RJ, Brazil: Nova Fronteira. Crook, Larry. 2005. Brazilian music: Northeastern tradi tion and the heartbeat of a modern nation Santa Brbara, California: ABC-CLI, Inc. Costa, Pereira da. 1974. Folclore pernambucano. Recife, Pernambuco: Arquivo Pblico Estadual. Originally published in LXX Revista do Instituto Histrico e Geogrfico Brasileiro parte II, Rio de Janeiro, RJ. Dirio de Pernambuco. 1990. Coruja: A Imagem de Todos os Ritmos do Nordeste. Vida de Artista. Recife, sexta feira, 23 de maro de 1990. Dirio de Pernambuco. 1987. Coruja Retorna aos Palcos e Revive o Drama do Assum Preto. Viver. Seo B, Pgina Um. Recife, 25 de Janeiro de 1987 Dossar, Kenneth. 1988. Capoeira Angol a: An ancestral connection? in American Visions 3, no 4, 38-42.

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155 Duarte, Ruy. 1968. Histria social do frevo Rio de Janeiro, RJ, Br azil: Editora Leitura S.A. Frosch, Joan. D. 1999. Dance ethnography: Tracing the weav e of dance in the fabric of culture in Researching dance: evolving modes of inquiry ed. Sondra Horton Fraleigh and Penelope Hanstein, 249-280, Pittsburg, Pa: Universi ty of Pittsburg Press. Felcitas. 1958. Danas do Brasil. Rio de Janeiro, RJ, Br azil: Edies de Ouro. Ferreira, Felipe. 2005. O Livro de Ouro do carnaval brasileiro Rio de Janeiro, RJ, Brazil: Ediouro. Freire, Paulo. 1958. Educao e atualidade brasileira So Paulo: Instituto Paulo Freire/Cortez. 2001 Freyre, Gilberto. 1946 (1933). The masters and the slaves: A study in the development of Brazilian civilization Samuel Putnam, Trans. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1946. ____. 1934. Guia prtico, histrico e se ntimental da cidade do Recife. Recife, PE, Brazil: Livraria Jos Olmpio Editora. ____. 1936. Sobrados e mocambos: Decadncia do pat riarcado rural e desenvolvimento do urbano. So Paulo, Sp, Brazil: Co mpanhia Editora Nacional. ----. 1941. Regio e tradio Rio de Janeiro, RJ, Brazil: Li vraria Jos Olympio Editora. ____. 1959. Ordem e progresso: Processo de desint egrao das sociedades patriarcal e semipatriarcal no Brasil sob o regime de trabalho livre, aspect os de um quase meio sculo de transio do trabalho escravo para trabalho livre e da Monarquia para a Repblica Rio de Janeiro, RJ, Brazil: Jos Olympio. 2v. Ginway, Mary Elizabeth. 1992. Surrealist Benj amin Peret and Brazilian Modernism in Hispania, Vol 75, No 3, (Sep 1992), 543-553. Guzik, Alberto. 2007. O Mambembe Retrievd from Leituras Compartilhadas, Ano 3, Fascculo 9. http://www.leiabrasil.org.br/index.a spx?leia=publicacoes_revistas (Sep 2007) Jornal do Comrcio. 1883. Coruja. Jornal do Comrcio. 1981. LBA Homenageia Coruja. Recife, 22 de fevereiro de 1981, page 14).

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156 Kaeppler, Adrienne L. 1978. Dance in anthr opological perspective in Annual Review of Anthropology 7, 33. Levine, Roberto M. 1978. Pernambuco in the Brazilian federation 1889-1937 Stanford, California: Stanford University Press. Needell, Jeffrey D. 1995. Identity, race, gender, and modernity in the or igins of Gilberto Freyre's oeuvre in American Hi storical Review 100 (Feb. 1995): 51-77. Needell, Jeffrey D. 2006 Hello, hello Brazil: Popular music in the making of modern Brazil in Hispanic American Historical Review; 86, 408-409. Oliveira, Valdemar de. 1946. O frevo e o pa sso de Pernambuco. Boletn LatinoAmericano de Msica 6:157-192. Oliveira, Valdemar de. 1985. Frevo, capoeira e passo. Recife, PE, Brazil: Compahia Editra de Pernambuco, 1985. Oliveira, Maria. Goretti. Rocha. de. 1993. Danas populares como espetculo pblico no Recife de 1979 a 1988 Recife, PE, Brazil: Univ ersidade Federal de Pernambuco, 1993. Pessoa, Silvrio. 2006. Do Frevo ao Fervo. Retrieved from http://www.overmundo.com.br/overbl og/do-frevo-ao-fervo-1 (Feb 2007) Real, Katarina. 1990. O folklore no carnaval do Recife Recife, PE, Brazil: Fundao Joaquim Nabuco/Editora Massangana. Rocha Lima, Cludia M. de Assis. Maracat u de Baque Virado ou Nao Dona Santa, Rainha do Maracatu Nao Elefante. Retrieved from http://www.fundaj.gov.br/notitia/servlet/n ewstorm.ns.presentation.NavigationServ let?pub licationCode=16&pageCode=6 79&textCode=5092 Arquivo Katarina Real, Iconografia da FJN (Oct 2007) Silva, Leonardo Dantas and Souto Maior, Mrio. 1991. Antologia do carnaval do Recife Recife, PE, Brazil: Fundao Jo aquim Nabuco/ Editora Massangana. Teles, Jos. 2000. Do frevo ao manguebeat So Paulo, SP, Brazil: Editora 34 Ltda. Tinhoro, J. R. 1998. Histria social da m sica popular brasileira So Paulo, SP, Brazil: Editora 34 Ltda. Thompson, Robert Farris. 2005. Tango: The art history of love. New York NY. Pantheon Books.

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157 Tinhoro, Jos Ramos. 1991. Pequena histria da msica popularDa modinha lambada Art Editora Ltda. Vianna, H. 1999. The mystery of samba: Popular musi c and national identity in Brazil. The University of North Carolin a Press. Chapel Hill& London. Vicente, Valria. 2006. Do Frevo ao Fervo. Retrieved from http://www.overmundo.com.br/overbl og/do-frevo-ao-fervo-1 (Feb 2007) Vicente, Valria. 2006. Uma Investigao Sobre o Frevo. Retrieved from http://idanca.net/2006/08/11/uma-investigacao-sobre-o-frevo (Feb 2007) Suassuna, Ariano. 1974. O Movimento Armorial Recife: Universidade Federal de Pernambuco. Retrieved from www.pe.az.com.br_cultura (Oct 2007)

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158 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH Juliana Amelia Paes Azoubel was born in 1976 an d grew up between the cities of Recife and Olinda, in the state of Pernambuco, Brazil. She attended the Academia Santa Gertrudes, the Contato High School and the Law School at the Universidade Ca tlica de Pernambuco. Dancing since childhood in Brazil, she has performed with severa l Brazilian Dance companies, and is the founder and director of th e Companhia Olindana. Since 1996, she has been the main dancer and te acher for the University of Florida World Music Ensemble Jacar Brazil. While in Gainesv ille, she has performed with the UF Diversity Artist Project (Urban Bush Women), the UF A gbedidi African Ensemble, Dance Alive! Dance Brazil, and has taught at the Santa F Community Education Project, the Unified Training Center and the UF Leisure Courses. She has also ta ught and performed in American College Dance Festivals, and in several dance companies and dance studios around the US, including the Quilombo Center in Chicago. Her dance experience led her to work in Th eatre and to specialize in Pilates. Ms. Azoubel is a Stott Pilates certified instru ctor and has been teaching this exercise method for dancers and non dancers alike. Ms. Azoubel holds a BFA in dance from the University of Florida, where she began her research experience while participating in the UF Journal of Undergradu ate Research through her work The Cote DIvoire Mask Tradition From the Viewpoint of Dance Ethnology: Dancing the Gap Between Spirits and Human Worlds. From 2005 to 2007, she received an assistantship from the Center for Latin American Studies, the Center for World Arts, and the Department of Theatre and Dance at the University of Florida, where she has been teaching World Dance and Intercultural Performance, and Fundamentals of Dance. She has founded and directed the UF Brazilian Dance Ensemble Jacar Danante.


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