Destination São Luís, capital of the state of Maranhão.
Vale Festejar in São Luís: Tambor-de-Crioules, a traditional dance in Maranhão.
Tambor-de-Crioula da Fé em Deus
The Tambor-de-Crioula is a traditional dance in Maranhão. The tradition goes back to the African slaves and their descendants. It is a sensual, exciting dance, with a wide variation in rhythms and choreography. Only women dance, although there were some children on stage. One of the women danced in the middle of a circle, formed by the other women. The dances were accompanied by three drums. The smallest drum (pequeno or crivador) indicated the background rhythm, the middle drum (meião or socador) indicated the rhythm, and the largest drum (grande or rondador) indicated when the umbigada should take place. The umbigada is the moment that one of the women of the circle takes over the position of the woman in the middle of the circle. The women wore long, flowered skirts, that swung exuberantly during their dances. The white blouse was richly decorated with lace, and the women wore a white hair band.
In 2006, the Tambor-de-Crioula was declared Cultural Heritage by Conselho Consultivo do Instituto do Patrimônio Histórico e Artístico Nacional (Advisory Board of the National (=Brazilian) Historical and Artistic Heritage; IPHAN).
It was a special experience to witness this dance. The dancers moved on the stage as if they were floating weightlessly. The children danced at the margins of the stage, they carried colored balls. The rhythmic drums almost made you feel to enter the stage of trance; it is good to imagine that the women also may be in trance during the dance.
By Adriano Antoine Robbesom
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