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Black Cultural Expression in Brazil: A Project By Celo Mendes

Updated: Apr 24, 2022

Dancer Celo Mendes (@Celomendes) commissioned 7 dancers from his community in Belo Horizonte, Brazil to tell the story of black cultural expression in Brazil.

Each video presents a different style of black dance and tells varying stories of black artistic expression.

We take a look at the videos and their written summaries.


RIAN FILIPE (IG: @rian.lipi)

This work focuses on the the lack of information on African culture in Brazil. The scarcity of information generates disinterest, lack of identification and even intolerance, contributing to the continuation of black bodies having an inferior position in history. Statistically, 54% of the Brazilian population is black and yet, we are always directed to learn about the European Union, the French revolution, the colonial period etc. Rarely are we taught about the religions, customs, dances and the cultural wealth of the African continent. The reflection here is about a place of identification and the power of transformation created by knowledge and our actions.


RAMSÉS DE PAULA (IG: @ramsesdepaula)

The sociability of an individual depends not only on their essence, references and experiences, but also on their environment. It is necessary to build an environment, where each body with its particularity, placed in the general context, brings a significant experience to society. These peculiar and contextual movements bring to light the continuous crossover of several people who are aggressively stereotyped by a society that is daily silent but screams in the silence of their bodies.


ANDRÉ CALTON (IG: @andrecalton)

Your goals will only stop being goals, when they become your dreams and come true. And for this to happen, you can't stay quiet waiting for them to fall from the sky. To reach what you wish, it is necessary to have a lot of strength and determination. The biggest dreams will never be easy. When you realize that your efforts are pushing you to the limits, this is when you have to give more and more. Be prepared for that great moment, because it is when you will realize that It was worth It. They can't interrupt your expansion, do what you have to do, be who you want to be, be wherever you want to be and soon you'll feel complete and satisfied.



The observation of our worldview can lead us to the understanding that we were deprived of accessing other cultures, other ways of expressing ourselves artistically. While one way of being linked to religion locks you in, the other holds you and lets you explore every single corner of yourself. In this process of self-knowledge, I sense my ancestry present in the way I dance. The way that African Americans danced in the squares connects us to what is presented as jazz dance. This piece contemplates the rescue of ancestry in a dance modality that was whitened but returns to its place of origin, blackness.


FABI SILVA (IG: @dhfabisilva) In this work the artist Fabi Silva, through the song MY DREAM by the singer Nesbeth, expresses the dream inspired by Martin Luther King of living a life in which we can dream, reach our goals and build a happy and not lonely trajectory. Because unfortunately, the invisibility and lack of access and opportunity is a cruel reality for peripheral black bodies.

Culture is a universal right and here the artist presents a choreographic construction with movements of Jamaican dancehall culture, dialoguing with the lyrics of the song, the environment, her ancestry, her son Alex, as the most common means of transmission and access to culture is by sharing between parents and children, and the community in which we live.


LÁZARA DOS ANJOS (IG: @dosanjoslazara)

The purpose of this performance is to report the body that comes before consumption, the body that is censored and that never leaves behind the curtains for the general public.


THAÍS CRISTINA (IG: @thaiset__)

This work aims to highlight Brazilian Funk in its macro form, as a culture that was born in the Ghetto, in the Brazilian favelas, but which has expanded to the world, influencing today other cultures. Funk, in addition to it being a culture, is leisure, it is political, it is awareness and also an opportunity for social inclusion. In a woman's body it also represents empowerment, freedom, strength, a voice that seeks more representation and fights against society's machismo on a daily basis. The place of speech here is also about women who have great opportunities to experience funk culture in its most comprehensive form.

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