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A Dance of Resistance from Recife, Brazil: Carnivalesque Improvisation in Frevo
Dance Research Journal  (IF),  Pub Date : 2019-12-12, DOI: 10.1017/s0149767719000305
Kathleen A. Spanos

Frevo is an energetic dance from Recife, the capital of Brazil's northeastern state of Pernambuco. Frevo is a dance of resistance because it narrates complex notions of identity that contribute to social empowerment through strategic processes of liberation for marginalized groups. The dance originates from the Brazilian martial art of capoeira and it is carnivalesque because it is performed in crowded, often violent streets during carnival, when power hierarchies are disrupted. Through this ethnographic research, I consider how frevo practitioners engage in cultural resistance using a practice that I call “carnivalesque improvisation.”