Passinho dance style elevated to cultural heritage status in Rio de Janeiro

Rio de Janeiro’s dynamic dance phenomenon, the “passinho” style, born in the early 2000s within the favelas, has achieved a significant milestone. In March, state legislators officially declared it as “intangible cultural heritage,” acknowledging its roots in the vibrant and diverse communities of Rio’s sprawling neighborhoods.

The creators of passinho are not just dancers; they are agile, creative youngsters with enviable flexibility and robust joint health.

Their journey began with experimental moves at home, later showcased at local funk gatherings and shared widely across the internet.

This dance form rapidly transcended its origins, becoming a unifying force across favelas.

It provided a unique channel for youth to traverse seamlessly through territories controlled by rival drug factions, offering an alternative path away from crime or the oft-dreamed-of football stardom.

Nayara Costa da Silva, a beacon of passinho’s transformative power, leads the Passinho Carioca group in Penha’s favela complex.

Reflecting on her journey, she shared, «I am a testament to how funk, how “passinho”, rescued me».

Her words echo the stark reality of many favela residents, where involvement in drug trade is a pervasive challenge.

This recognition not only celebrates a dance style but also acknowledges the resilience and creativity thriving in Rio’s marginalized communities, turning adversity into artistic expression and cultural heritage.



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