Brazil has 26 states, and each one is unique.
I can say this only after having attended a popular folklore show this past weekend in downtown (Centro) Rio. A local friend was nice enough to take me along and narrate for me. Called Ginga Tropical, it is a 90 minute show sharing interpretations on different regions of the country through dance. Roughly translated into english, gingar means “to swing,” and the ginga allows a capoeirista to be in constant, unpredictable movement. Explanation below.
It is a touristy venue with American prices, but in my opinion it was actually very interesting. Although I have seen shows before, this one contained musical instruments I never knew existed, and dance moves I have never seen before.
This guy in the red is representing the south, so I assume places like Florianopolis & Porto Alegre. I can’t give an accurate description on what or why these dancers are doing what they’re doing, but I can only remember from which region they were. He was swinging around rope with wooden balls attached to the ends, and skimming them across the ground in the tune of a pretty catchy beat. People started to clap along to the beat.
These guys were wearing some really comfortable looking pants and doing the Capoeira fight dance. They are capoeiristas. It is made up almost completely of swinging and flying kicks. It is a fight/dance, and there is a story behind it.
Since way back fighting has been illegal in any form. To disguise it from authorities, Brazilians would bring elegance to the act, by throwing in intricate moves and hopping around all quite rapidly. These guys would do cartwheels while being right next to each other, and throw kick after kick an inch from the other guys face. It all looks like one fluid continuous motion between the 2, and quite impressive to make no contact while still nearly grazing the eyebrows of the other.
Also in the 90 minute mix were many other dances. The full size band with a singer played along in the opposite back corner of the main stage. Glamorous costumes, South American instruments, tanned bodies and good looking women all were combined to make this show packed full of entertainment while still teaching me about the culture. Like the US, Brazil is one large land mass with varying demographics across all 26 states. The way people dress, their accents, even their personal looks are different just like regions of the US. I am so glad I had the opportunity to see a show like this knowing that this is something which only could be seen in this crazy, exhilarating city of Rio.
Do you want to add this show to your Rio de Janeiro bucket list? It costs R$250 and in whole you will be there about 2.5 hours. The show is only on Sunday, Monday and Friday of each week. Make sure to take a cab as the area seemed just a bit sketchy late at night. If you book a package on their website they provide a shuttle service.
GingaTropical.com The website is mostly in Portuguese, about 70/30. The important parts are subtitled in English. If you go or have already been, please write your opinions below!
Ginga Tropical, Centro Rio. Address: Praca Tiradentes, 79, Rio de Janeiro, State of Rio de Janeiro 22221-011, Brazil