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Dance Lest We All Fall Down

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Brazil is a country that does well in the tourist brochures White, broad sand beaches incredible music. . . .and de Joie de Vivre . . that makes us all come much more alive This is the side of Brazil that many of us hear about, 'cause that's the one that lures millions of people to visit every year. Salvador Bahia in Northeastern Brazil is the largest African City outside Africa. The colors and vibrancy and cultural complexity of that city make it unique. The side of Brazil I love. The side of Bahia. But ther[s another side I also got know. Brazil is one o the most unequal and violent countries in the world. Brazil has a fairly high gross national product but 80% of it's population lives in poverty. Northeastern Brazil in Bahia is 80% African-Brazilian descent and coincidently, 80% impoverished. The vast slums of Brazil are remarkable for their size and their violence. I lived in tos shanty towns -- with friends. As an anthropologist, I was doing research there. I also became completely infatuated with an African-Brazilian martial art and dance form called Capoeira. I began doing research on what race and class, gender, sexuality . . what it means in that society. And while doing the dancing of Capoeura I met one of the most amazing people that I have encountered in my life. That was Hiyeta, she is African-Brazilian, from El Salvador, from one of the slums. When we met, the bond of friendship that grew between us continued and only increased as time went on. She asked me if I would help her to be an activist for change in her community. "I want to do something," she said, "I want to do more than I'm doind now." "I want to do it in a systematic way, but I can't do that alone. I need assistance, an outside assistance is part what I need." and I said "Alright I will do the international part, and you do the part in Brazil." "I will try to set up an infrastructure that keeps the power of any organization in your hands." ∏" . . .and you develop the program that your community thinks is the best here." It's a commitment that I don't know that would be there had either of us known what wew were getting into at the beginning we would've ever have done. BUt, the incredible thing, once done was involved. That was in 1996 to '97, and from that grew Bahia Street - a nonprofit that provides education for young women and girls in Brazil. It's not such an easy thing to do this kind of undertaking. What we read about other people who are the heroes -- about people's successes Not about the actual struggles, the issues, the problems, the dispair, the depression. The reality of what comes with this kind of venture. That's one thing I've written about jn this book, is the reality. (laughter)

Video Details

Duration: 4 minutes and 53 seconds
Country: United States
Language: English
License: Dotsub - Standard License
Views: 80
Posted by: pyrokidd on Oct 29, 2010

A UW anthropologist takes a look at Brazil and the martial arts dance form of Capoeira.

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