Note from BW of Brazil:The history and importance of the Afro-Brazilian religion known as the Candomblé is an important piece to understanding the cultural heritage of many descendants of the millions of Africans brought to Brazil during the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade and it while this religion has been historically oppressed for centuries and continues to be persecuted, it is still quite easy to observe its influence in everyday life. For its adherents, the religion requires discipline and a lifetime of dedication and features its own set of practices, rituals and even mythology, which the dancers of today’s feature use as a backdrop to their special dance workshops.
Group uses mythology of the orixás to create choreographies and dance workshops
Balé das Yabás debate feminism and transforms it into dance at the Centro Cultural Laurinda Santos Lobo in Santa Teresa
By Karina Maia
Who’s already heard phrases such as ‘O mundo é dos homens’ (It’s a man’s world) or ‘Isso não é coisa para mulheres’ (This is not a women’s thing)? Prejudices of any kind, probably, have already been witnessed by you, your mother, your grandmother and even the orixás (deities). “The mythology tells of the strength of the yabás (female deities) and how they experienced similar situations in their daily lives,” compares Sinara Rúbia, one of the founders of the Balé das Yabás group, that debates the issue and turns it into dance at the Centro Cultural Laurinda Santos Lobo in Santa Teresa.
The inspiration for the choreography comes from histories like that of Oxum. Deusa da Fertilidade (Goddess of Fertility) of Candomblé, she had her presence accepted in exclusively masculine meetings after demonstrating how her powers are essential to all.
Sinara says that all deities came to Earth when it was created. But only men would gather to make decisions. Hurt, Oxum all condemned all to sterility until they invited her along with all the other women to participate in the meetings.
“This story shows the importance of feminine figures in politics and society,” compares she who mediates monthly and free meetings. Who decides to participate always goes through three stages: a brief study, a debate and action created for the dance workshop.
“It’s not a simple dança afro (African dance) workshop. There’s a whole involvement until the moment in which we dance,” says Sinara, creator of the project together with Ludmilla Almeida and Flavia Vieira.
“Men, women and children always appear. But the majority of the public are black women,” says Sinara, who explains: “We all suffer from sexism. But black women have the issue of racism allied to it – which makes things difficult at all levels.”
Perhaps, because of this, the yabás have been elected the muses of the workshops. And although such histories start with Candomble mythology, Sinara says that the meetings don’t have religious overtones. “We take an ethnic and gender perspective,” defines the mediator.
“We work with women’s issues, principally black women. But all are welcome. After all, it is important that different people discuss the role we play in society over time and our demands,” she concludes.
Source: O Dia