We went to João Pessoa for a few days! The main purpose of the trip was to interview dancer and scholar Valéria Vicente, but we also have some friends there and were able to enjoy the beach, landmarks, and some music.
Valéria Vicente is an artist and scholar who has written a number of books and articles about frevo, including Entre a ponta de pé e o calcanhar (2009) and Frevo para aprender e ensinar (2015). She has also choreographed many original works using the vocabulary of frevo in various ways, such as Fervo (2006) and Pequena Subversão (2007). She teaches at the Universidade Federal de Paraíba in João Pessoa and is finishing her doctorate in Artes Cênicas at the Universidade Federal da Bahia. She is a Recife native and is extremely knowledgeable about frevo and other popular dances from Pernambuco. It was a great pleasure to sit down to talk with her!
We took advantage of our short time there to visit the beach (finally got my feet in the water!) and do some quick sight-seeing of the southern coast of João Pessoa.
We saw a concert on Thursday evening with Diana Miranda at the Usina Cultural Energisa, and she had some amazing guests, including Nathalia Bellar, Paulinho Ditarso, and Mahatma Costa, who is an accordion player from Olinda in Pernambuco and is a world champion. He was incredible! And played some great forrós—we even got up to dance a bit. At the very end, he played “Vassourinhas,” so it has become obvious that we cannot avoid frevo at all here. (That’s a good thing! And I did a few tesouras to celebrate.)
The great composer Vital Farias was also in the audience and Diana played one of his most famous songs, “Ai Que Saudade de Ocê,” another one of my favorites.
João Pessoa is a beautiful city and I wish we’d had more time to explore…and enjoy the beach! Definitely a place I want to return to.