Sao Felix Baiano - Reconcavo

Dance

Dancing Recôncavo

In the Bahiaian culture of the Recôncavo, dance plays a very special role. People dance at the Candomblé parties, the numerous folk festivals, in dance academies, schools, after work, for a reason or just for the fun of it. Everybody dances – women and men, children and old people.

Many of the rhythms and the dances that accompany them are African in origin. There is a rich tradition in the Recôncavo brought to the region by the various peoples of Africa. Over the centuries, African and European dance traditions have been mixed and developed into a cultural heritage that is unique to Brazil.

A prime example of this in the Recôncavo is the very lively “Xote.” Originally, this ballroom dance known as the Schottische (pronounced shot-teesh) came to Rio de Janeiro. Later, the Schottische was changed rhythmically and in terms of tempo in northeastern Brazil;

Orchestral instruments were replaced by rattles, triangles, drums and sometimes the “sanfona”, and the steps were modified. The Schottische thus became the “Xote.”

Bahia has a large and lively music industry and is to a certain extent independent of the national music market. However, anyone wanting to make a real hit will have to deliver not only the song, but also a dance. Thus new dances are created every year, particularly at Carnival. Many of them are of course based on traditions that are still very much alive in the Recôncavo.

For some cultural historians, the Recôncavo is also the cradle of the samba. The early forms of the dance are believed to have come to Rio de Janeiro from the Recôncavo. They developed in Rio, literally step by step, into the national dance of Brazil.