Friday, August 25, 2006

The Art Of Dance In The Home Of Rhythm

As a previously silent part of this project, I traveled to
Maua to see what ILI created.  Upon the first moment of my arrival in Maua, it was clear that there was nothing remotely scary about this favela.  People didn’t have much, but it was just a place where they lived and went about their daily lives.  It was their home.
I was welcomed with open arms by the Rosas Negra family.  Even with my limited Portuguese, the people at Rosas patiently tried to speak with me and encouraged me to feel comfortable among them.

During my first days, I just observed the children in various classes at Rosas.  These children were open, eager, and obviously excited to be engaged.


After a few days I gave a dance class in the small room Rosas cleared-out for me.  There were about 20 children, too many for the space but we made-do.  Despite the challenge of the space, my poor attempts at Portuguese, and an entirely new technique of modern dance, we accomplished quite a bit.  Every movement I gave the children they tried, perhaps apprehensively at first, but nonetheless they were open and made the attempt.

 

These children corrected a very important misconception I held about dance native to Brazil.  Through their timidity and embarrassment when I asked them to do a movement with hip-rolls, they taught me that none of the dances of Brazil-Samba, Afro–Brazilian, or otherwise–initiate movement from their hips.  No matter how a movement looks, the hips are a part of the body that simply follows, with the place of power and commencement existing elsewhere. My days spent with these children were tremendously inspiring.  There was no question how much they valued our presence as Obi and I were greeted each day with kids running to us with hugs and kisses on the cheek, not to mention scoldings if we arrived late.  These students are all so capable; the only things they lack are resources and someone who will regularly take the time to come teach them.

 

Entry by Dinita Nicole

August 11-17 2006

 

 


 

A arte da dança no berço do ritmo  

 

Como um prévio contato com esse contato, viajei para Mauá para ver o que o ILI havia criado. No primeiro momento que cheguei a Mauá, ficou claro que não havia nada de temeroso nessa favela. As pessoas não tinham muito, mas era só um lugar onde elas moravam e viviam suas vidas. Era a casa delas. Fui recebida de braços abertos pela família do Rosas Negra. Até com o meu português limitado, o pessoal do Rosas, pacientemente, tentavam falar comigo e me faziam me sentir confortável entre eles. 

Durante meus primeiros dias, assisti a várias aulas no Rosas. As crianças estavam receptivas, ansiosas e, claro, com vontade de serem envolvidas.

Depois de alguns dias, dei uma aula de dança na pequena sala do Rosas que foi esvaziada por mim. Havia 20 crianças, muitas para o espaço, mas conseguimos fazer. Tirando o problema do espaço e meu pobre português, fomos bem sucedidos com uma técnica completamente nova de dança moderna. Todos os movimentos que passava pra eles, eles tentavam, talvez, de uma forma apreensiva por ser a primeira vez, mas eles estavam abertos e tentaram. 

Essas crianças corrigiram uma importante concepção que eu tinha sobre as danças nativas brasileiras. Pela timidez que elas demonstravam quando eu as pedia para fazer um movimento com os quadris, elas me ensinaram que nenhuma das danças do Brasil – Samba, Afro-Brasileira, ou qualquer outra.- iniciam com movimento do quadril. Não importa qual seja a dança, os quadris simplesmente seguem os movimentos do corpo, com o poder do lugar e da festa, como em todos os lugares. Os dias que passei com essas crianças foram totalmente inspiradores. Não tinha como perguntar sobre a consideração deles com a nossa presença, porque eu e o Obi éramos cumprimentados todos os dias com as crianças correndo pra gente e nos dando abraços e beijos no rosto, tirando as broncas que recebíamos quando chegávamos atrasados. Esses alunos são muito capazes, a única coisa que eles precisam é de recursos e alguém que regularmente vai lá pra ensiná-las.

 

 

Postado por Dinita Nicole

17-08-2006

 

 

 

Posted by Obi in 05:02:11
Comments

One Response to “The Art Of Dance In The Home Of Rhythm”

  1. Antonia Apolinario-Wilcoxon says:

    Hello Obi,

    I was introduced to you via Judge LaJune whom I met at a women’s gathering this past week. I am so impressed by the work that ILI does.

    I am particularly interested in your work in the favela in S. Paulo. I grew up in a favela called Bairro do Romao in Vitoria, Espirito Santo. I am very interested in learning more about your work and how I may be of assistance from here in Minnesota.

    You are doing much needed work. I once was asked by a kid while visiting my old neighborhood if I would teach him English. Unfortunatelly my time there was so short. By teaching these children English, you are ensuring a ‘head start’ in their future lives.

    I do have some acquaintances in S. Paulo, but would like to learn more what you need. They are a family of well to do Brazilians who used to be neighbors of my current neighbors here in Hopkins. These neighbors lived in Brazil when he was an executive for the Bell phone companies — a long time ago.

    They would be very supportive and I think I could engage my current neighbors here.

    Best regards,
    Antonia Wilcoxon
    1310 Preston Lane
    Hopkins, MN 55343
    phone: 952-936-0118
    fax: 952-936-0705
    antonia@wilcoxon.org