Vale Festejar! in São Luís (III): Dança do Lelê
Destination São Luís, capital of the state of Maranhão.
Vale Festejar in São Luís: Dança do Lelê, originally an European dance.
Dança do Lelê de São Simão
The dança do Lelê – also known aspéla-porco – finds it origin in the 19th century. Probably, the dance has a French origin, with some Iberian elements. The Dança usually was performed to honor one of more saints. Musical accompaniment occurs with guitar, banjo, flute, castanets, tambourine, and violin. The Dança is some kind of parody and is led by a master. He determines that the two groups (men and women) should do. The dance is divided into four elements: Chorado, the invitation to the dance; Dança Grande, courting (the longest and most complex element); Talavera, “until dawn” in which they dance with the arms hooked in each other; Cajueiro, “early in the morning”, with the “distribution of cashew nuts”.
The Dança is both amusing and fascinating to watch, the banjo and guitar rhythms are contagious. It is also very interesting to witness the dancers dancing with passion: they appear not to consider their dance as some kind of obligation. Their performance did not last until dawn, but was limited to about forty minutes. They than had to clear the stage for the Bumba-meu-Boi…
By Adriano Antoine Robbesom