When an average Hungarian thinks about Brazil, only football, samba and carnival season come to mind. The Brazilian Dance Academy in Budapest is about to change this.
SPREADING THE WORD about Brazilian culture, music and dance has become the aim of the Budapest ‘Brazilian Dance Academy, the first unofficial ‘Brazil cultural center’ in Budapest, according to manager András Domján and his Brazilian wife Debora Rubia Soares Santos Domján, who is one of the academy’s instructors. “We were a family enterprise dance school three years ago,” Debora Domján told Diplomacy and Trade.
“At that time our aim was to acquaint Hungary with the popular Brazilian dances of capoeira and samba.” Since then, the institution has become increasingly popular with at least 150 capoeira and 70 samba students, encouraging the couple to focus on Brazilian culture, becoming an ‘unofficial Brazilian Cultural Institute’. Domjan has lived in Hungary for several years now and, like her husband, sees major differences between Hungarian and Brazilian national characteristics.
“The distinction is especially apparent in mentality,” she said. “Our nation is filled with love for life. We accept each other’s differences and ‘let’ each other live,” she added. “Our ‘old ladies’ in Brazil enjoy watching their young neighbors dancing, instead of complaining about loud music.”
Santos said the school is attended by people of different ages. “Our oldest student is 53 while the youngest is 8,” she said. The couple also plans to launch a ‘baby capoeira’ group from the age 3, which Domján said will be the first dance class of its kind in Budapest. “I’m sure parents and the little ones will love it,” she added. In her homeland, there is no need for similar courses because Brazilian babies are ‘born with the beat’, she believes. “The moment we walk our first steps, we have the ability to dance,” Domján laughs. “It’s unfortuante that when an average Hungarian thinks about Brazil, only football, samba and carnival season come to mind. We are about to change this,” Domján stressed.
At the recently opened facility hosting the academy, one can find training rooms and dance rooms, and a shop as well, where visitors can pick up gifts, books, CDs and DVDs about Brazil and the Brazilian culture. “We also plan to open a library here, and we would like to launch Portuguese language courses too. The latter will hopefully start in January of next year, led by my sister,” she said. A colorful photo exhibition on Brail is also on schedule.
“Luckily we are supported by the Brazilian government and I believe that in the future we can build a stronger relationship with the Brazilian Embassy in Hungary.” In fact, the Brazil Dance Academy has been collaborating with the embassy on a regular basis, since their dance groups used to showcase their talent during the annual festival of the Brazilian Independence Dance on Sep. 8.
Domjan hopes their activities will attract attention to everything related to Brazil and its culture. “In a way I feel that it is our mission to get Hungarian people familiarized with my country and my culture since it so much richer than most people think.”
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