Guest Artist Irenio “Ginga” Dos Santos from Bahia, Brazil, is choreographing a dance inspired by Candomblé and the Orishas for students in the Department of Drama, Theatre and Dance. The program also includes works by Yin Mei Critchell (Chinese Contemporary), Marshall Davis (Tap), Carolyn Webb (West African/Samba), and Edisa Weeks (Modern).
Candomblé is an Afro-Brazilian religion that was developed in Brazil between 1549 and 1888 by African priests, who brought with them their mythology, culture and language when they were enslaved and dislocated to Brazil. While Candomblé is mainly based on the Yoruba Orisha tradition, however, various cultures were also synthesized into the religion from aspects of Islam, Native American gods and Catholicism. The Orishas are associated with Roman Catholic Saints, which allowed practitioners to continue observing their faith when the Portuguese colonists forbade practicing any religious traditions of African origin.
Dance and percussion are vibrant aspects of Candomblé, which has influenced numerous composers, visual artists, choreographers and film makers, and greatly contributed to Brazilian culture.