Name in Original Language
Area Where Played
There are two versions about the origin of this manifestation.
The first one is that it has the same origin of the capoeira. It was performed only by men, slaves and free slaves. The dance was much more aggressive and used to use feet, legs and knees to knock down the opponent.
The second version is that the slaves used to put the woman to dance in circle at the entrance of the senzala (slave quarters). This way the slave owners couldn’t see that the men were practicing forbidden religious cults inside.
African-Brazilian matrix expression involving circular dance, singing and percussion drums. The participants are the coral singers, the instrument players and the dancers, conducted by the rhythm of the drums.
The climax of the dance is the “umbigada” (choreographic movement in which the dancers, in a gesture understood as greeting and invitation, touch the belly of each other).
Despite the fact that it looks like some other dances of Africa and Brazil, only in the state of Maranhão it is called like that.
Three drums are played with the hands by men who stand with a group of singers. The practitioners dispose themselves in circle and the dance is most likely performed by women. Each one get inside the circle at a time, performing her own choreography. The “punga” or “umbigada” (previously cited) is one of the main characteristics of this manifestation. The dancer that receives the “punga” will get inside the circle and will keep the cycle.