“Curucucu” is the generic name used by the children in Pirenópolis to address one of the central characters of the historic Cavalhadas de Pirenópolis, a popular manifestation that recreates the battle of Charlemagne *

The Curucucu or Catulé is a masked character who historically played the role of messenger amongst the various local european troops and was someone of such an important role, that he had his life protected and preserved by all involved in the crusades. Provocative and marginal, this characters stirs up the status quo of the traditional catholic fete and is hugely celebrated in the city. Fulfilling their role as popular animators of this important party (Festa do Divino Espírito Santo registered by IPHAN as an Intangible Cultural Heritage of Brazil).

In Pirenópolis there are several types of masks, some of cloth, others of paper (paper-maché). The Catulés wear cloth masks. Their clothing reminds us of the clothing of the local miners who, to protect themselves from the sun and the dust of the stone, protect their faces with T-shirts, making them look like cloth masks.

Throughout Memorial dos Ossos project, these Curucucus gained prominence in the plastic and political traces of the work. During the rehearsals they immediately came up as a strong subjects of research. We work in the peripheral zone of the city of Pirenópolis, where many people actually work in the mine quarries and during the festival of the divine, are themselves as catulés.

It is precisely these miners, invisible people within the social and tourist construction of the city who are the icon of the party, who are the different and the exotic.

We propose to further our research which we begun with the cast of Memorial dos Ossos and focus specifically on the performance act. The creative process for Curucucu will take shape as cycles of performative acts to experiment with the character of the Catulé in a number of situations. In each cycle, the group will choose specific elements to guide the performances and elect spaces where the performances will take place, giving continuity to body procedures, many of which have been raised in our previous work, such as falls, bone manipulations, solos, duos and collective compositions.

The project will be open to the participation of the ordinary citizens (without previous training in dance). We will not use traditional cycles of “research, creation, rehearsals and presentations”. From the beginning to the end of the creative process there will be public experiments of dance and performance throughout the city of Pirenópolis, and each experiment will be guided by a desire of meeting the performer-catulé with the city, its people, the architecture that resists and the memory that weaves them together.

The action “in loco” does not rule out the preparation of the bodies of those involved because it is in the interest of the coordinating team that everyone, individually and collectively, reach increasing levels of body awareness and vocabularies to improvise and perform. In this sense, weekly experiences will be offered of corporal development to all involved and those just interested, and includes: Popular Dances, Contemporary Dance, Art of Movement and Improvisation in Dance and Popular Games. In addition to these experiences, we will conduct throughout the process, meetings for reflection and broadening our understanding of dance and performance with the participation of all involved, stakeholders and beyond.

As in the previous project, Curucucu will be permeated by inter-generational procedures – It is a creative proposal that begins with the inter-generational encounter, and presupposes the encounter between different bodies with different ages and world references – and by the cultural and historical memory worked from spoken word and narrative experiences with the masters and masters of popular culture as well as other citizens.

Joining this proposal is the project -Invisible- which involves two mirrors on both sides of the Atlantic, as Leal and Jacobs have described: “These mirrors reflect the environment in which they are located, revealing stories about where they are. These are mirrors that help us play out stories and games from the past, present, and future. Acting as a gateway to another community on the other side of the world. The mirror – technology developed in the University of Nottingham –  will be used by the Brazilian performers, and will be developed collaboratively to unite the two projects.”

* Charles the Great was the Roman Emperor who united a large part of Europe during the early Middle Ages laying the foundations of what would become Europe.

Text by Daraína Pregnolatto, Daniela Dini & Renata Fernandes – Flor de Pequi: Cultura Popular e Brincadeiras, Pirenópolis, Brazil. January 2017
Translated by Silvia Leal


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