Brazilian dances

Maracatu

Maracatu Maracatu is a dance with historical and religious roots highly popular in the state Pernambuco (north-eastern state of Brazil). Earlier the word maracatu in Brazil was used for gatherings of black people. After that the gatherings transformed into carnival procession in honour of the kings of Congo. The procession itself consists of the musical orchestra and the dancers. In the orchestra there is only percussion. The drum Alfaia dominates the orchestra. Their force of sound makes the heart beat to the Maracatu rhythm.

The first documental record of this carnival is dated 1711 (Olinda, state Pernambuco). At first this was an orchestra procession only, later the dance was added to it. Maracatu has a distinctive from the other dances choreography.

Nowadays Maracatu is traditionally performed in the form of a costume theater show.

Maracatu is divided by types and names: maracatu de baque virado, maracatu nacao, maracatu rural, maracatu de orquestra.

Maracatu Maracatu de Baque Virado ou Nacao is a dance that depicts the ceremony of the King of Congo when each African tribe brought to Brazil as slaves crowned their king and queen - the leaders of slaves society. The kings suite as it was in the colonial period is depicted in the dance.

It is a dance which shows folk characters of the Pernambuco region (among them - the King, the Queen, the Court Lady, armor-bearers, the Guardian of the Emblem, Bahianas and Caboclo - Brazilian aborigines) and also Calunga - the doll which symbolises the past. The king and the queen move under a huge umbrella surrounded by servants; the Court Lady holds Calunga in her hands. The suite is followed by musicians which sing and play huge drums.

The main difference of Maracatu de Baque Solto ou Rural from traditional Maracatu is the absence in the procession of the king and queen. The main figure in this dance is more than 2 meters long (it resembles Chinese dragons).