This month I am back out in Rio checking out what's trending as Rio warms up for the Olympics. So far my findings have proven that "Black Power" is HOT on the agenda and there is one particular female collective who are causing a stir: AfroFunk Rio.
This week they were invited to Casa Ipanema to teach the crowds at the #soudesses event how to "Solta quadrillia" - (flex up the hips) and "samba in the face of society"- hence their hashtag #NaSuaCara (#inyourface). According to AfroFunk Rio to learn how to release the body we first need to discover how to think differently and embrace a mentality inspired by African cultural heritage and Carioca Funk (also African) dance culture.
Founder Taisa Machando states proudly that she is s girl- "born and created by Funk culture". As a personal friend of mine I can vouch that her dance moves come direct from the Bailie Funk scene - illegal dance raves organised by gangsters in favelas - most but not all have been banned owing to police occupation. These are dance raves wherein " Tudo liberado"- everything is allowed!
Running a pop-up dance workshop at an event hosted in one of Rio's chicest neighbourhoods (Ipanema) was an ideal opportunity to see how a public removed from favela culture take to this liberating dance practice. To make a start Taisa invited the crowd to play a game which involved imagining they are not in Ipanema - namely a place "educated" in terms of the northern hemisphere. The body first needs to understand that nothing is off limits and that you "Pode rebolar" - "rebolar" that movement when you wiggle your hips to the floor.
The crowd seemed to have no problem embracing this idea and it was not long before the whole room was dancing. As the majority of those attending the #soudesses event that this month promoting the work of black Carioca women - was in general a clued up crowd of black Carioca's all of whom had a natural talent to "rebolar". Taisa's did not hold back her thoughts about what their dance workshop set out to do - but as each word was met with roaring cheers why wood she?
"I want the whole of Ipanema to smell like black pussy!"
Well - it all looked, felt and smelt pretty good to me!
AfroFunk Rio Dance Workshops:
Fridays 8pm @ Casa Tá Na Rua, 35 Avenue Mem da Sa. Lapa
Wed 9am - 10am @ Fundação Progresso. Lapa