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Brazilica festival Liverpool 2016 - how I danced holes in my shoes at Carnival

by Sally Claire Davies. Published Fri 22 Jul 2016 13:13

An explosion of colour, racy rhythms and a lust for life paraded through the streets of Liverpool for our very own Rio inspired carnival Brazilica and what a year it was to get involved with this fantastic event.

The Rio Olympics are just around the corner and whilst the games may be taking place over five thousand miles away, it felt good to pay homage to their wonderfully vibrant and full bodied culture before they charm and delight us with their own celebrations.

This was not the only reason for the apt timing of this event. 2016 has been a year that, so far, has seen a lot of social and political unrest as well as global terror and tragedy.

So with so many heavy hearts in the world it seemed Brazilica festival provided us with the opportunity to spread some love and enjoyment, to meet and perform with new people and old friends from all backgrounds, to learn about other cultures, world music and dance and flood our bodies with endorphins in the process.

I am ever so grateful for the opportunity to rehearse and perform with so many talented and diverse performers such as the amazing Katumba drummers, Capoeira for All CIC and Movema World Dance Company.

The Saturday evening atmosphere allowed us two hours of musical and rhythmical healing and I hope we managed to shine some of that light onto the fantastic spectators who came to support and enjoy with us.

I started dancing with Movema before graduating from LIPA and they have provided me with experiences and repertoire I might not have found elsewhere.

And this year's Brazilica definitely goes into my top three performances with Movema.

Before we could take our talent to the streets, we developed our choreography with a few weekly rehearsals. A loud rumbling and sometimes raucous run-through on Wednesday evenings, which led me to doubt my own physical fitness levels.

“I have to do this, for two hours, non stop and maintain a vivacious visage for the crowd?” I thought sceptically.

Like many Movema dance performances, this was going to be a cardio mission. Each week, however, I found little reserves of energy whenever I started to feel depleted. The beats kept me going and the energy of the movement inspired me to keep going as much as it wore me out. So my faith in my fitness grew stronger.

The Saturday of carnival arrived and after a day of teaching and walking around, Liverpool to various dance studios, it was time to get into the spirit of Brazil. How was I going to manage the evening proceedings after such an active day time?

I guess it was the calm and positive energy of my fellow dancers as we applied bright colours and shimmering sequins to our faces.

After donning our feathers and anklets and taking photos, I found myself feeling a few pre-performance nerves and was laughing at the thought I might have to be slightly sedated to attempt the frisky and dynamic choreography of carnival.

But we soon ventured out into the sudden heatwave of July, which arrived just in time for the parade. It had been raining not three hours earlier. The spirit of the carnival thought we deserved a bit of Brazilian weather to go with our costumes.

The spectators were wonderful and it was really satisfying to see them enjoying the atmosphere and even joining in to contribute to the atmosphere themselves.

Seeing children and adults alike tapping their feet to the beat and laughing, when we brought our mini wave of dancer noises (wooooooaaaah!! and arrrrroowwwww!!) over to their side of the parade, really made me appreciate the encouragement and allowed a safe welcoming feeling for the performance.

Towards the end, when our rivers of endurance started to run dry, Katumba really took it to another level for our finale and that last jump before the finish honestly made me feel quite emotional.

Similar to someone finishing a 10k, but a lot louder and more covered in sequins. I couldn’t believe my own stamina but I also couldn’t have done it without my fellow performers and the wonderful spectators.

They were like energy drinks for the soul. Not forgetting the amazing volunteers, providing a fantastic sense of community and cultural involvement, including our lovely water boy Callum. He was there to provide us with hydration when the effects of the evening heat started to kick in (as well as supporting his mother).

After literally dancing holes into my shoes and burning the bottoms of my feet I went home exhausted. A very happy exhausted. Endorphins were my best friend and the resonating samba drums, in my head, kept me going long enough to eat my late dinner.

Best night in months!

Seriously though, with regards to my feet, I had to sleep with vaseline and socks on them.

Obrigado, Brazilica! Até o próximo ano!

Thank you, Brazilica! Until next year!

Check out Movema World Dance Company in Liverpool to see what classes and events you can get involved with year round. @Movema on Twitter and Facebook


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