Scene4 Magazine — International Magazine of Arts and Media

by Lia Beachy

Scene4 Magazine-reView

december 2006


BALÉ FOLCLÓRICO DA BAHIA (BFB) is a professional folk dance company in Brazil, based in Salvador in the northern state of Bahia. It is a 40-member troupe of musicians, singers and dancers who perform a repertory of pieces based on folkloric dances of African descent. These dances are a mixture of slave dances, capoeira, samba and Carnival celebration.

I had the pleasure of watching the company perform in a concert named Rapsódia Nordestina. All of the pieces were well-choreographed with phenomenal costumes and lighting, but there were a couple that stood out ahead of the rest.

The first piece to draw me in was Ginga, choreographed by Rosângela Silvestre with music by José Ricardo Sousa. The piece began with a solo flute player which then led into 2 female singers and 5 percussionists. The stage was saturated with lights in the colors of orange blending into blue and green and red and pink. There was a mix of male and female dancers dressed in blue/pink costumes that flowed freely off there bodies while they moved.


The choreography was contemporary, a mixture of some traditional movements blended with modern. It was a piece that expressed the many colors of Bahian people and the culture, a rich meld of the African and Portuguese people and Indígena natives. The energy of the dancers was bright and hot and passionate. The rhythm of the drums was mesmerizing. And the skill of the dancers, their ability to execute the choreography with technical prowess was breathtaking.

The other standout pieces were Capoeira and Samba de Roda. The first piece transitions directly into the second piece with no break or change of sets or costumes. Capoeira is the name of a martial arts form brought to Brazil from slaves from Africa. The  piece begins with male and female dancers, dressed in bright-striped costumes, congregating at a town square. The men are shirtless, the women are in full-skirted dresses with head wraps and are carrying baskets.


The Capoeira is mostly a feature of the male, an opportunity for him to show his strength and skills. It=s flashes of exciting, friendly fighting, staged to thrill and titillate the audience. The women watch and after the men pair off and Afight@, the samba begins and a social mating ritual between the men and women begins. These pieces would be considered more traditional than Ginga.

All of the pieces reflect the traditions and history of Brazil, but Ginga features the work of choreographer, Rosângela Silvestre and her approach to dance, the Silvestre Technique. Her technique is about training a dancer in any art form, be it a ballet dancer or a tap dancer, but her approach to dance, with a deep foundation in her Brazilian roots, makes the audience so much more aware of the skill and technique of her choreographed work. Her dancers seemed that much more present and alive and vibrant on stage.

BALÉ FOLCLÓRICO has toured all over the world and won numerous awards in Brazil. It is a stimulating experience to see dance, music, and culture come together in a live performance. We should all slow down and take the opportunity to taste Brazil.

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©2006 Lia Beachy
©2006 Publication Scene4 Magazine

Scene4 Magazine — Lia Beachy
Lia Beachy is a writer in Los Angeles
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Scene4 Magazine-International Magazine of Arts and Media

december 2006

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