Updated: Apr 24, 2022
Andre is a rising star from Rio de Janeiro. We have watched his rise, and admire his dance. We love his creativity and the ease in which he executes Passinho. His flexibility, the fast footwork and the seamless transitions between styles makes him a standout dancer. We caught up with the Rio native to understand better the man behind the dance. Below is our interview.
AFROCONEX: Andre thank you for collaborating with AfroConex. We love your dance. Can you introduce to the audience?
ANDRE: Thank you! My name is André Oliveira. I am 21 years old and I live in Complexo da Penha, Rio de Janeiro.
AFROCONEX: Tell us, how long have you been dancing and where did you get your dance training ?
ANDRE: Well, I've been dancing for about 10 years now and I taught myself. I don't have formal training.
AFROCONEX: That is amazing! And how long have you been dancing Passinho?
ANDRE: I have danced Passinho for about 9 years now.
AFROCONEX: How would you describe Passinho dance and what do you think are the things required to be a good Passinho dancer ?
ANDRE: For me Passinho is resistance and originality. And to be a good dancer everything starts from your dedication, and your training. Overtime you will develop a rhythm and flow that becomes yours. My dedication came when I joined PASSINHO CARIOCA company.
AFROCONEX: When I see Passinho dance not only does the footwork standout for me, but also the twisting of the hips, which for me are also 2 core elements of samba dance. Is there a connection between samba and Passinho ?
ANDRE: Well let's say that Passinho is a dance that mixes different dance styles. And each style mixed into the dance is based on the individual dancer and their personal interest.
AFROCONEX: I often see Passinho dance being done barefoot. Does it hurt ? Do you ever get blisters or cuts on the bottom of your feet dancing on the concrete ?
ANDRE: This has happened to me several times. (blisters) but today I take care! As I said it is a sign of resistance and I also feel free dancing barefoot.
AFROCONEX: Passinho dance has been around for almost 20 years now. Is there a difference in how Passinho dance is done today and how it was done in the past ?
ANDRE: Yes, as you know, every dance has its evolution process. This happened with Passinho. Each day there is something new that is adapted into the dance.
AFROCONEX: How would you describe your personal style of Passinho ? What would you say are the characteristics of your dance that makes you standout from other Passinho dancers ?
ANDRE: Well what differentiates me are the dances that I practice and mix with Passinho like Afro House, Vogue, Breakdance, Hiphop etc.
AFROCONEX: Passinho dance is very much a battle culture; whether it is a friendly neighborhood cypher or an organized competition. What role do the battles play for you as a dancer and for the development of Passinho dance style ?
ANDRE: In my view the battles are for dancers to show their creativity. To be seen and to learn more and more there with the opponent and with the criticism of the judges.
AFROCONEX: What are your thoughts on the Afro dances coming out of Europe and Africa ? Do you feel a connection to these styles ?
ANDRE: I think they are great. They are modalities that I identify with and research a lot about!
AFROCONEX: Give us an idea of what your typical day as a dancer in Rio is like ?
ANDRE: On a typical day, I wake up, I take my shower, practice a little. I stop to make a meal, then follow up with rehearsals, presentations or recordings.
AFROCONEX: The favelas of Rio/Brazil have an infamous reputation which is constantly being reinforced through the news/media. How would you describe life in the favela and What are some misperceptions about the favelas that you would like to share?
ANDRE: This is something very difficult. In the favelas you always have to be aware of what can happen, opportunities here are few! The environment where I live, art is not valued! I don't really like to talk about it!
AFROCONEX: What are some of your struggles/challenges as a black dancer in Rio ?
ANDRE: It is a great challenge to live from Art here in Brazil, and as a black favela dancer things only get worse! However, I always look for a way to show that I am capable and that I should receive opportunities with my talent!
AFROCONEX: If someone visited Rio and wanted to see Passinho live, what should they do ?
ANDRE: They should look for me @andreoliveiradb We can talk and even schedule a class for training.
AFROCONEX: What are your dreams for your dance career ?
ANDRE: Getting to live off My Art! Be recognized and for my projects to work! Take Passinho's culture to the world!
AFROCONEX: I see you have toured the world dancing, can you tell us more about that experience?
ANDRE: I traveled to 7 countries! It was a unique experience, a learning experience , something that I want to experience often. My first tour was with a dance show for the Suave company, then I received a proposal to give workshops and it was very good! I really liked France, Greece, Belgium and Portugal! These are countries that I would return to visit.
We previously collaborated with Andre for a duet with @Petersonsidy