Dancing for our land

By Eloise Stevens

in English



In the hills behind the glittering skyscrapers of Rio de Janeiro lies a hidden community, the quilombo de São José, a settlement of the descendants of escaped slaves. Ever since abolition in 1888, they have been fighting for the rights to their land, with little success. But now, with the help of the umbigada (literally ‘belly-button touching’) of a dance they call jongo, they are fast drawing attention to their cause.