Monday, March 13, 2017

Information About The Quadrille Dance In Brazil (Quadrilha; Quadrilha Junina)

Edited by Azizi Powell

This is Part I of a two part pancocojams series about the Quadrilha (the Quadrille) dance in Brazil, South America.

This post provides information about the Quadrille dance in Brazil.

Click for Part II of this pancocojams series. Part II showcases several videos of the Quadrille dance in Brazil.

Addition information/comments about Brazil's Quadrilha Junina can be found in selected comments from the discussion threads of some of these showcased videos.(translated from Portuguese to English by Google translate).

The content of this post is presented for folkloric, historical, and cultural purposes.

All copyrights remain with their owners.

Thanks to all those who are quoted in this post.

Pancocojams Editor's Note:
Some of these excerpts are translated from Portuguese to English.

The word "quadrille" is given as "gang" in the English translations of Portuguese language articles that I have found online. In the articles & excerpts that are given in this pancocojams series the word "quadrille" is used instead of "gang".

However, "gangs" may (also) refer to Brazilian groups that perform Quadrilles during June festivals or at other times.

Excerpt #1:
From "Land of Carnival, throughout June Bahia becomes the land of the June Festivals!

Bahia is the land of Carnival, but the state is also home to another great festival that attracts thousands of tourists from all over Brazil: the Feast of Junina or June Festivals.

During the June festivities in Bahia, the attractions range from performances by local artists at popular national events, with typical dances like the quadrille, games and typical foods. The June Festivals in Bahia is the largest regional festival in all of Brazil!

The festivals are a tribute to St. John the Baptist, born on June 24, a date that coincides with the summer solstice (winter in South America) when the rural populations of Europe, celebrated the end of the harvest and prayed for fertility and protection from parasites, etc.. lighting bonfires and performing other symbolic events.

Throughout June these festivals animate all of Brazil and Bahia and the North-East in particular, keeping alive the traditions of the quadrille, bonfires and rural clothing.

The quadrille is danced in honor of the Saints of June (St. Anthony, St. John and St. Peter) and to give thanks for the good harvest in the fields. In almost all of Brazil, the quadrille is danced by an even number of pairs and the number of participants is determined by the size of the space available to dance."...

Excerpt #2:
Festa Junina (...June Festival), also known as festa de São João for their part in celebrating the nativity of St. John the Baptist, are the annual Brazilian celebrations historically related to European Midsummer that take place in the beginning of the Brazilian winter. These festivities, which were introduced by the Portuguese during the colonial period (1500-1822), are celebrated during the month of June nationwide both in Brazil and Portugal. The feast is mainly celebrated on the eves of the Catholic solemnities of Saint Anthony, Saint John the Baptist, and Saint Peter.

As Northeastern Brazil is largely arid or semi-arid these popular festivals not only coincide with the end of the rainy seasons of most states in the northeast but they also provide the people with an opportunity to give thanks to Saint John for the rain. They also celebrate rural life and feature typical clothing, food, dance (particularly quadrilha, which is similar to square dancing). Like Midsummer and Saint John's Day in Portugal and Scandinavian countries, São João celebrates marital union. The "quadrilha" features couple formations around a mock wedding whose bride and groom are the central attraction of the dancing...

In the Southeastern states of São Paulo and Minas Gerais as well as the Southern states of Paraná, Santa Catarina and Rio Grande do Sul, the Lusitanian celebrations of Saint Anthony, Saint John and Saint Peter underwent a fusion with the practices of other European countries during St John's Eve or the European Festival of Midsummer's Eve thanks to the European descendants of different nations merging their traditions. The Caipira style of quadrilha or square dancing is typical of the region and danced to country music by couples made of children but also adults usually attending a mock wedding held as a symbol of fertility of the land just like the ones held in Portugal, Norway and Sweden. Nowadays the festival resembles the origins of Pagan Midsummer festivities due the focus on rural life, agriculture, large bonfires and the praise of hinterland dishes displayed in the arraial or feira, the mocking of an ancient European country fair."...

Excerpt #3:
“So, apparently Modern Western Square Dancing has a cousin called “Quadrilha” in Brazil.

The quadrilha (square dance) originated in Holland and was introduced in Brazil during the Regency period. It was very popular at the 19th century balls of the Brazilian elite, especially in Rio de Janeiro, where the royal court was located. Later, it descended the palace steps and gained popularity among the general public, who added new steps and changed the music.

Today, the quadrilha is a tradition at the June Festivals. As the name says, these lively celebrations occur in June, but often extend into the following months. The events are led by an announcer who calls out the dance steps.

The dancers, usually couples, dress in peasant outfits with straw hats and checkered shirts. The traditional quadrilha dance represents a wedding party; the “bride and groom” open the dance, followed by their “guests”, with a lively dance that includes many different steps and moves.

The quadrilha is accompanied by an accordion, triangle and drum, as well as a 4-string and 6-string guitar."

Source: Quadrilha (Square Dance)

It’s a bit different from Modern Western Square Dancing, but you can clearly see that they come from the same roots. Here is a video** that shows one quadrilha dance being performed for an audience. (That is one major difference between the two. MWSD is rarely performed for an audience.)"
Here's one of two comments that were posted to that article:
"Nick Cuccia, JANUARY 3, 2015
"This isn’t the only square dance connection to Brazil. Henry Ford’s love of square dancing (primarily New England Quadrilles; his book Good Morning! inspired Lloyd Shaw’s publication of Cowboy Dances, which, in turn popularized “traditional” western squares and, eventually, MWSD) is well known, and lives on in the form of Lovett Hall, the Dearborn dance hall that he built for his favored dance master, Benjamin Lovett. What’s not as well known is that in order to reduce his dependency on British-controlled rubber from southeast Asian plantations, Ford attempted to establish his own rubber plantations in Brazil’s Amazon River basin. The company town for the plantation, creatively named Fordlandia, featured a dance hall, and square dancing was required."
-end of quote-

**The video referenced in this comment and several additional videos are showcased in Part II of this pancocojams series.

Excerpt #4
"In response to the article on Quadrilha*, a form of square dancing popular in Brazil, reader Nick says:
..."in order to reduce his dependency on British-controlled rubber from southeast Asian plantations, [Henry] Ford attempted to establish his own rubber plantations in Brazil’s Amazon River basin. The company town for the plantation, creatively named Fordlandia, featured a dance hall, and square dancing was required.”

Gizmodo has this to say:

Local [Brazilian] workers were expected to adopt a suburban Michigan lifestyle, too—along with a healthy dose of Ford’s own morals, which meant that both booze and ladies were outlawed within the town. According to a terrific podcast from How Things Work, the transplant town even hosted mandatory square dancing. Hamburgers and other American fare featured in the cafeteria.

Source: On Henry Ford’s 150th Birthday, a Look Inside His Failed Utopia

This is taking “mandatory square dancing in PE class” a step too far!"
*This article is given in this post as Excerpt #2.

Embedded Article [This is a complete article translated from Portuguese to English]
"Origin of the quadrille of the June festivals in Brazil, what is, main characteristics, history, as is, traditions, abstract, characters, steps

What it is, origin and main characteristics

The quadrille is a traditional dance of the June festivals that take place in June in Brazil. It is a collective dance, with the participation of several couples dressed in white clothes. The dance is packed with instrumental music typical of the interior of Brazil. The quadrille is directed by the narration of a person (marker), who makes jokes and leads the couples in each moment.

According to historians and researchers of popular culture, the quadrille emerged in eighteenth-century France. Particularly in Paris were collective dances, generally formed by four couples, who had the name of quadrille. These dances took place in great palace halls and counted on the participation exclusively of members of the French aristocracy.

The quadrille arrived in Brazil at the end of the 1820s and, as in their country of origin, was very common among the richest social classes of Brazilian society at the time (especially among the members of the Brazilian court residing in Rio de Janeiro). It was only in the late 19th century that the quadrille became popular and became common among the popular strata of society. However, as it became popular, it added a number of popular cultural elements, especially those related to traditions and way of life in the countryside. He has also gained, at the moment, a more amusing character, with hints of relaxed and funny moments.

From the beginning of the 20th century, the quadrille spread to various regions of Brazil, and are still very popular both in the cities of the interior and in the great capitals. However, in each region it took on specific aspects of the popular culture typical of the city or state. The beauty of this dance lies precisely in these multiple and diverse cultural and folk aspects, which fill the dance of colors, music and rich cultural elements.

Today's Jungle Quadrille
Currently the quadrille is the highlight of the Brazilian June [given as “junin”] parties. They occur mainly in schools, companies, clubs and cultural associations. The places where they occur are adorned with flags and balloons, symbols typical of the June festivals. In open areas, the fire is also present.
The dancers dress in old country clothes. Women (ladies) do makeup and men (gentlemen) paint mustaches and goatees. The straw hat is also an almost obligatory prop for the gang dancers.

The most common theme in today's gangs is that of marriage in the old style of the interior areas of Brazil. With a tone full of comedy and marked by exaggeration, the groom is practically forced to marry the bride, under the pressure of her father and the city's delegate.

Main characters of the traditional gang:
- Marker of the gang (narrator of the dance): may or may not be part of the dance.
- Couple of bride and groom
- Priest
- Delegate
- Godfathers
- Couples invited to the wedding party
Main moments and steps of the dance of the traditional [June] Junina [quadrille] (marker commands):
- Bride and Groom Wedding
- Balancê: balance of the body in the [rhythm] rítimo of the music.
- Compliment the ladies: gentlemen greet the ladies.
- Compliment to the gentlemen: ladies greet the ladies.
- Great walk through the countryside
- Tunnel: couples pass under a tunnel formed by the other couples.
- Road to the countryside
- Look at the rain: "it's gone"
- Look at the snake: "it's a lie"
- Formation of a snail by couples
- Coronation of ladies and gentlemen
For more information about these steps click "Passos e comandos mais utilizados na dança da quadrilha" ... [translated from Portuguese to English] "Steps and commands most used in dance gang [quadrille]"

This completes Part I of this series.

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