Samba school dancers: The strength and self-esteem of black women

Black Women of Brazil

passistas - mulatas_memorial (4)

Note from BW of Brazil: You’ll all seen them. Even if you don’t know their exact title, you’ve seen these women and they’re most likely the symbols of Carnaval that most people think of most when Brazilian Carnaval comes to mind. We are speaking of the passista, the frenetically gyrating samba dancer that one sees during the Carnaval procession, usually some shade of brown skin, in high heels and attention grabbing outfit that sometimes features, feathers and glitter. In the book Carnaval!, Econ, Ivanov and Rector defined the passista as “one who dances the samba as a member of an escola de samba, or samba school. The difference between a ‘passista’ and a ‘sambista’ is that the ‘passista’ is an outstanding dancer, performing special steps.” A lot more could be written about the history of these dancers and their roles and importance in the history of various samba…

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