Dance and capoeira from the Amazonia and the favela of Brazil, for an integral ecology

The dream of 24 young people who have created a dance and capoeira show from Amazonia and the favela of Brazil, for an integral ecology, is about to come true: “The space of life on earth”. And with them, also our vital need to contaminate ourselves with the joy of life, the strength of the jumps and the rhythm of the drums. They will arrive in Europe in May. We went to Brazil with the Aurora Vision crew to shoot the film about their story.


It all started from the meeting between Antoinette and Rodrigo

Rodrigo Baima is the dance teacher, the choreographer, the creator of the show “The Space of Life on Earth”. Rodrigo has a strong story, the kind that needs to be heard. He was born in a favela, life on the street was not easy – he tells us this in detail in the film.

Everything changes when he meets Antonietta Defrancesco, a Sister of Providence, missionary in Brazil. She is the founder of the CEFEC, the socio-educational centre in the Marcos Moura neighbourhood, an area of high violence in north-east Brazil. Antoinette bets on Rodrigo, supports him, motivates him and pushes him to realise his dream.

Rodrigo is the first graduate from the favela. He chooses to stay at the centre as an educator to help the boys get out of the violence and the street through dance, acting and performance.

The dance and capoeira show from Amazonia and the favela of Brazil, for an integral ecology

In CEFEC’s 14 years of existence, more than 3,000 children are helped to enter the world of work; 4,500 families are cared for; thousands of children receive food and basic education. The favela is improving by the day. But with the pandemic, poverty increases and violence once again overwhelms the youth. Sister Antoinette asks us to think of something nice, a show perhaps. But suddenly it fails.

In her bewilderment at the lack of a strong point of reference, Sr Sandra, the mother general of the order, pays a visit. In the whirlwind of her creativity she calls me, and with her is Rodrigo. We have known each other for 15 years, since my first visit to Marcos Moura. While we are talking, my husband Alberto starts playing drums and thus the idea of creating an ecological awareness show was born. It was part of the broader artistic project “Emotions to generate Change”, which saw us recount Pope Francis’ encyclical, Laudato Si’, in images.

“The space of life on earth” comes to life in the Amazon

After a period of ecological training, Rodrigo and a few others first go to the Amazon to breathe in the wisdom of the indigenous peoples. Encounters with strong women like Florinda and Maria Ausiliadora are crucial. Rodrigo learns new dance steps and in the heart of the forest has the idea for the show “The Space of Life on Earth”;. We discuss it together and he turns the dream into reality. It takes almost two years, between selections, lessons, rehearsals. Much of Marcos Moura is involved: some for the costumes, some to make the musical instruments, some to prepare the food. The strength of the show is viral.

The tour starts in Brazil, then France and Italy. A project of great social impact, how to follow it?

The dance and capoeira show from the Amazonia and the favela of Brazil, for an integral ecology, is a project with a strong social impact, where emotions generate real change. The young people involved are changing their lives and see a light in front of them; the favela is building a new life story with pride; a bridge has been built between Amazonia and Marcos Moura, between the indigenous people and the Afro-Brazilians; a community has been created that is helping to create the tour in Italy; a group of young people from Rome have already gone to Brazil to help and be helped; the people who will see the show will not return home unchanged; finally, the story will go worldwide thanks to the documentary film that is taking shape.

The film also has a very nice genesis: it will be a co-production of Aurora Vision  with Inside Us Films France, Eli Images Iran, 29×7 film productions Germany. Ecological supervision and training was provided by the Ecology and Environment sector of the Vatican’s Dicastery for Integral Development. And among those who are supporting the tour and the film at the moment are: Religions for Peace International, Amazon Tree, Engineering Ingegneria Informatica S.p.A., Suore della Provvidenza, CEFEC, Sulle Strade del Mondo, International Project, Collegio Don Bosco, associazione Moncenisio 4, diocesi di Trento, Orchestra Fuoritempo, Time to the World.

The tour will start in Brazil in Sao Paulo in mid-April, then on 21 May in Cannes, on 24 May in the Vatican, on 26-27 May in Rome, on 29 May in Predazzo, on 1 June in Pordenone. You can follow all the stages on our social networks and then the documentary “Amazonia. The Space of Life on Earth”.


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