UCCS to host Brazilian dance artists-in-residency

Join artists-in-residency Alessandra Ribeiro, Ph.D., and Bianca Lúcia Lopes for their first time in the U.S. celebrating and teaching Jongo, an Afro-Brazilian tradition that involves music, dance and singing.

Jongo, also known as caxambu or tambu, is a dance and musical genre rooted in the Afro-diasporic values. It integrates percussion, dance and expression, and was born in the coffee and sugar cane plantations in the Southeast of Brazil. It’s part of a larger group of Afro-Brazilian dances and features drums tuned by fire, and singing in the call-and-response style.

“This residency aligns with the UCCS mission of providing a multicultural and diverse education for our students, as well as providing opportunities for faculty and community to engage with diverse topics and subjects,” said Rosely Conz, Assistant Professor of Dance. “Jongo is a significant cultural tradition, an ancestor of Samba, full of joy and empowerment. Equally important, Jongo comes from slavery and holds space to discuss issues of racism and prejudice.”

Conz helped bring Jongo and the artists to UCCS after her years of research and visits to Brazil studying Jongo.

“I am Brazilian, and part of my research is on the Afro-Brazilian dances, including Jongo,” said Conz. “My first contact with the Comunidade Jongo Dito Ribeiro, and their leaders – Alessandra Ribeiro and Bianca Martins Lopes was in 2002, when I was an undergraduate in Brazil. In 2019, already living in the U.S., I went to Brazil and decided to visit the community again, to include Jongo in my research. After some conversations and the generous support of the President Funds for the Humanities, I invited them to share their knowledge with our university.”

The residency includes three events that are open to all in the community:

  • Jongo – Sharing Traditions: Brazilian community leaders Alessandra Ribeiro and Bianca Lúcia Martins Lopes will share, for the first time in the United States, this rich and fun manifestation, its history, and its context. Open to all on Sunday, Sept. 10 from 2:30 to 4 p.m. on the Ent Center Lawn. Please register in advance for this free event here.
  • Book Talk: Alessandra Ribeiro will talk about her book, “Jongo and Ancestralidade: Salvaguarda e Preservação sob o Olhar dos Detentores” (Jongo and Ancestry: Protection and Preservation Under the Vision of the Holders.) No registration needed and open to all Friday, Sept. 15 from 10 to 11:30 a.m. at the Heller Center.
  • Jongo – Performance: After a week of learning from Jongo masters Alessandra Ribeiro and Bianca Lúcia Lopes, students at UCCS will perform – dance, play, and sing – Jongo, an Afro-Brazilian tradition. Open to all on Saturday, Sept. 16 at 7:30 p.m. at the Osborne Theater. Please register in advance for this free event here.

Ribeiro is the cultural manager of Casa de Cultura Fazenda Roseira (Cultural Center Roseira Farm), and leader of Comunidade Jongo Dito Ribeiro, Mother of Saint and Umbandista, coordinator of the graduate certificate in African Studies at Fazenda Roseira, and consultant for cultural management for public spaces and intangible cultural heritage. She’s also an activist who has fought to make Jongo visible in academia in her own terms and language.

Lopes is a leader among the young Jongueiros (Jongo players) at Comunidade Jongo Dito Ribeiro and a coordinator of Juventude Jongueira (Young Jongueira Collective) who has worked on several projects to preserve and celebrate Jongo. As a percussionist, Bianca defies the tradition of having only male drummers playing Jongo music and represents the LGBTQIA+ community with her wife, Flávia Tamiris Soares Silva, who is also a member and supporter of the Juventude Jongueira (Young Jongueira Collective) at Fazenda Roseira.

“The presence of Alessandra Ribeiro, Bianca Martins Lopes and her wife Flávia Tamiris Soares Silva, is a gift to our community due to their deep knowledge not only about Jongo – the dance, music, and traditions, but also because they will share with us their perspectives on being women of color, activists, and community leaders,” Conz said. “I am so grateful to the support of UCCS, the PFH grant, so many of my colleagues at UCCS to bring these artists here. I hope our students and community come to the events and share the joy of Jongo!”

About the UCCS College of Letters, Arts & Sciences

The College of Letters, Arts & Sciences at UCCS is the university’s largest college, enrolling nearly 6,000 students across 21 departments and programs. The college offers 19 majors and 53 minors in the arts, humanities, social sciences and natural sciences. Students can also choose from five accelerated bachelor’s and master’s degrees, nine full master’s degrees and three Ph.D. degrees, as well as pre-medical and pre-law programs. The mission of the college is to position graduates for success in their personal and professional lives, with a focus on thinking, creating and communicating — skills vital to employers and graduate and professional schools. Learn more about the College of Letters, Arts & Sciences at UCCS.