Baobá of Minas Dance Company present the spectacular “Women de Baobá” featuring Afro-Brazilian narratives and poems

Cia Baob+í 32 foto Patrick Arley

Note from BW of Brazil: November, which is officially designated as the Month of Black Conscious throughout Brazil, is the month in which we most see manifestations of black culture (see here, here and here, for examples). There are all sorts of lectures on the situation of the Afro-Brazilian population (in political, economic, health and many other terms) workshops on black hair care, music, dance, and of course, marches on November 20th, yesterday, which is the culmination of the month’s activities: the Day of Black Consciousness. Along with music and theater, dance is yet another area of black culture that is well-represented in live performances. Today, we feature a talented dance troupe from the state of Minas Gerais. Besides the report and beautiful photos, be sure to check out the videos at the bottom of the article!

Baobá of Minas Dance Company present the spectacular “Women de Baobá”

Courtesy of Kilombo Cultural

Cia. Baobá Minas (Baobá Minas Company), founded in 1999 by Júnia Bertolino, William Silva (dancer and choreographer) and Jorge Áfrika (musician), appeared to stimulate and propose the representation and appreciation of African origins in the performing arts scene in Belo Horizonte, through dance, music, poetry and theater, originating from research on the presence of these matrices in the pantheon of national culture.

Cia Baob+í 86 Foto Patrick Arley

Mulheres de Baobá is the new spectacular from the Cia (company) composed of performance declamations of Brazilian poems, inspired by poets, writers and performers who portray the African/Afro-Brazilian narrative such as: Conceição Evaristo, Leda Martins, Elisa Lucinda and Jussara Santos. And these declamations performed to popular Afro-Brazilian songs that portray religiosity, women, art and poetry. This assembly has twelve (12) members: Vinicius Moreira, Hiran Donato and Rodrigo César (Percussion); Lú Silva, Gabriela Rosário, Marisa Veloso, Júnia Bertolino, Fabiana Silva, Camila Santos, Letícia Moreira  and Maiara Lourenço (Dancers); Aidê Leandro and Lú Silva, (Costume Designer); Érika Rocha (Production); Marisa Veloso, Aidê Leandro and Dora Cabelereiros (Makeup and Hair); Rubens Aredes (Scenic Preparation); João das Neves (consulting, Geraldo Octavian (lighting) and Júnia Bertolino, (Direction and Choreography).

Cia Baob+í 133 Foto Patrick

The female universe is explored in this show through words, gestures, costumes and songs. Featured since ancestral women who brought knowledge, faith, determination and the joy of the gift of being a woman; mothers, liberal professionals and artists who pass through modernity and tradition, the profane and the sacred, orality and academia, rural and urban, the visceral and the subtle in a matter of seconds. Corroborating the meaning of the Baobá, mother and father (báe obá), a large sturdy tree trunk and bushy roots symbolizing the African continent. Thus, expressing the narrative of the feminine is appreciating arte negra (black art), and recognizing the strong role of women in life, beauty and in the generation of a better world.

Cia Baoba 112 Foto Patrick Arley

In assemblies of Cia Baobá de Dança – Minas, popular culture and the black art are the main sources of research and constant learning. Being the griots (known as the storytellers) that play an important role in this culture, having the responsibility of transmitting the teachings of their ancestors, another source of inspiration for Cia Baobá, that seeks to explore through drama, singing, music and dance, values and important themes of African and Afro-Brazilian culture such as: orality, memory, ancestry and identity, particularly the celebrated knowledge of folk masters and the appreciation of women (through matriarchy).


Cia. Baobá de Dança – Minas completed 11 years of its trajectory with the launch of the spectacular  “Ancestralidade: Herança do Corpo” (Ancestry: Heritage of the Body) conceived, directed and choreographed by Júnia Bertolino. Since the group began staging performances: Fertilidade e Canto de Amani-homenagens aos filhos da coreógrafa  (Fertility and Song of Amani-tributes to the children of the choreographer): Jahi Amani (dignidade e paz or peace and dignity) and Dandara (rainha negra/black queen and mulher guerreira/warrior woman). And the show Quebrando o Silêncio (Breaking the Silence), preceded by “Ancestralidade: Herança do Corpo” (Ancestry: Heritage of the Body) .Currently followed by several acts in the city, cultural centers and school public forums.

Arvore de Natal na pampuha da ON projecoes ©Netun Lima

The Third Zumbi Prêmio (award) of Culture and Celebration of Black Consciousness on the Palácio das Artes in partnership with the Fundação Clóvis Salgado Clóvis (Clóvis Salgado Foundation) is another Baobá de Dance -Minas activity for the appreciation of folk masters and artists, above all from black arts. Every year it awards ten (10) persons of highlight in black thematic arts in the city.

Júnia Bertolino
Júnia Bertolino

Júnia is also a capoeirista (capoeira performer) for the Associação Cultural Eu Sou Angoleiro out of training of capoeira master João Bosco who is also one of its masters of Afro dance in Belo Horizonte, together with Evandro Passos, and Carlinhos Afro and Marlene Silva. As an artist she has had the opportunity to show her art and activism in encounters together with Cia Baobá such as COPENE – Congresso Brasileiro de Pesquisadores Negros (as) (Brazilian Congress of Black Researchers), World Social Forum, FAN – Festival de Arte Negra de BH (Festival of Black Art Belo Horizonte), FIT – Festival Internacional de Teatro (International Theatre Festival), Encontro de Cultura de Raiz (Encounter of Roots Culture, Fórum Social Mineiro (Social Forum of Minas Gerais), Encontro de Mulheres Negras (Encounter of Black Women), Conferência de Cultura (Conference of Culture), Caminhada Religiosa pela Paz (Religious Walk for Peace), Comemoração da Consciência Negra no Palácio da Artes (Celebration of Black Consciousness in the Palace of Arts) and 10 anos da Cia Baobá de Dança – Minas (10 years of Cia Baobá of Dance – Minas), the Caravana da Arrumação and Fórum Nacional de Performance Negra (National Forum of Black Performance), in addition to performances in the cities of Itáliano Festival Internazionale del Folklore in Rome. In 2010 and 2011, she attended the third World Festival of Black Arts and Cultures in Dakar – Senegal and also visited Cape Verde and Guinea Bissau, where she researched Grupos Balé Nacional de Guiné Bissau (National Ballet Groups of Guinea Bissau), Ubuto Group, Women of manjuandades and Grupo Cultural Netos de Bandim (Grandchildren of Bandim Cultural Group). She participated in the 14th Training Course in Traditional and Contemporary and Traditional African Dances, “Crossing Paths” held in Toubab Dialaw, Senegal, from July 18 to August 27, 2011 at the Ecoles Des Sables Germaine Acogny.

“That water is refreshing. That the path is smooth. That the house is hospitable. That the messenger leads our Word in peace.” – Yoruba blessing

Júnia Bertolino (Director and Choreographer)

(31) 99176762 and 3467-6762 – email.,

Site: www

Release Cia Baoba de Dança – Minas 11/2010

Espetáculo : Ancestralidade – Herança do Corpo, da Cia Baobá de Dança – Minas

Baobá Companhia de Dança Afro – Brasileira

Source: Kilombo Cultural

About Marques Travae 3747 Articles
Marques Travae. For more on the creator and editor of BLACK WOMEN OF BRAZIL, see the interview here.

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