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  In Santo Amaro do Purificacão, Brazil, an old dance was revitalized to preserve the memory of those who toiled and had their bodies broken harvesting in the sugar-cane plantations. Historically, Maculêlê was performed both as a cultural activity, to traditional rhythms and songs, and as a form of recreation. Maculêlê is known as the dance of the sugar cane.

  Maculêlê is a fast, free form dance that is both a contest and a game, as each player “shows their stuff”. The dancers each use a pair of sticks called grimas (traditionally cut from sugar-cane), which are sometimes replaced by machetes. The dance is performed to the beat of drums called Ingoma or Atabaque (hourglass-shaped wooden barrels) played in a four beat pattern.

Much of the dance is improvised movement within a set choreography, which usually tells a story within the action or the songs. The songs may glorify Zumbi, the leader of the Palmares Quilombo, or tell about the abolition of slavery. They are sung in a fashion similar to a capoeira roda, in which a lead singer calls and the dancers respond.



   Performed by many capoeira groups, samba de roda is a traditional Afro-Brazilian dance that has been associated with capoeira for many years. The orchestra is composed of a


Pandeiro (tambourine), Atabaque (drum), Berimbau (a stringed instrument of the violin family, slightly larger than a violin), Chocalho (rattle), accompanied by singing and clapping. Samba is a secular dance found throughout Brazil today, the Samba is a playful, sensual and flirtatious dance.

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