Balé do Nordeste, São Luís do Maranhão, Brazil. São Luís is one of the oldiest city of Brazil, more than 400 years old. Located in Nordeste, in the district of Maranhão, one of the poorest of the country, but with a strong identity. The historical center has a particular gem in it : a course of ballet in an old cultural building, the course of professor de balé “Marcia de Aquino”. Courses given to girls ranging from 4 to 40 years old.
In a city that moreover declares itself as the capital of reggae in Brazil, a different way appears to show a part of the brazilian society and its people, which is not the usual samba or favelas. This place is more than a simple curiosity, it proposes in his way a fight, a counter mesure to the violence that exists in the city.
A kind of parallel seems interesting to show and understand. Most of the students, young kids to adults, comes from poor families to middle class. Their parents want them to do ballet lessons because it is a good education and maybe above all : a “symbol”. A place where you sweat, exercise, but also wear a special outfit, learn specific discipline, listen classical music, build a team with other dancers. Make yourself part of a new family. You are in the city but in a different place.
In the same contrast, but the other way, this is what allows a fresh look at the street life surrounding the ballet center. It gives another "view" to the everyday people that live in this city : not by the traditionnals ways that the medias talk about Brazil, not by the prism of violence, drugs, favelas, samba etc... It gives an affirmation of a style, an identity of its inhabitants. A dialogue comes to life. It makes you see and feel the heart of this historical center in a different manner.