Yesterday we went to Goiana to see the final competition of Quadrilhas Juninas da Globo for the state of Pernambuco. There were ten groups competing in the final and all of them were breath-taking.
I knew nothing about quadrilhas before I went, and I was stunned by the spectacle, the incredible costumes, the complex choreography, the diverse storytelling, and the emotions of both performers and spectators. I learned that there is always a casamento (wedding) and other various characters (bride and groom, priest, narrator, etc.) and there are certain elements that are common among all groups—I was especially impressed by the skirts! Many of the women’s roles were danced by men, adding an element of transvestitism and queerness to the event that I had not expected.
Besides those common elements, every group had a creative take on their story and adopted various historical perspectives. Since Festa Junina celebrates saints São João, Santo Antônio, and São Pedro, there was obvious religiosity, but the groups approached the stories from various religious perspectives, including Afro-Brazilian (orixás and their Catholic saint counterparts) and Evangelical.
The winner was Quadrilha Junina Lumiar, who will go on to the regional competition next weekend, where they will compete with the best from other northeastern states, such as Ceará, Paraíba, and Alagoas. Go Pernambuco!
Quadrilha Junina Dona Matuta