Kate Spanos (PhD ‘16) has been awarded a postdoctoral Fulbright U.S. Scholar grant to study dance in Brazil. She will be based at the Universidade Federal de Pernambuco in Recife for six months, starting in January 2018. Kate’s project is entitled “The Frevo Tradition and Pernambucan Cultural Identity in Recife, Brazil." Frevo is an energetic music and dance that is performed at Recife’s annual Carnival and it is symbolic of the culture the state of Pernambuco in northeastern Brazil. Frevo originates from capoeira, a better known Afro-Brazilian art form, but it represents a particular regional variation on Brazilian national identity. This research aims to understand the political role of such performed cultural expression, how it serves to engage communities, create value for popular culture, and empower marginalized individuals. The project is an extension of Kate's dissertation research, which focused on similar themes in dance, music, and festival on the Caribbean island of Montserrat.
Kate would like to acknowledge the support and mentorship of Professor Laurie Frederik (UMD TDPS), Professor Larry Witzleben (UMD Ethnomusicology), Gracelyn Cassell (University of the West Indies, Montserrat), Professor Carlos Sandroni (UFPE Ethnomusicology), and Professor Miriam Phillips (UMD TDPS).