Professor’s New Book Explores History, Culture, and Methodology of African-Brazilian Dance

Tamara Williams and book cover
Sunday, March 21, 2021
Silvestre Technique is the topic of Assistant Professor Tamara Williams’s book.

A new book by Assistant Professor of Dance Tamara Williams explores Silvestre Technique, the contemporary dance technique founded by Rosangela Silvestre as an extension of the spiritual dance traditions of enslaved Africans in Brazil. Giving Life to Movement: The Silvestre Dance Technique was published by McFarland this month.

Rosangela Silvestre is a native of Salvador da Bahia, Brazil. She trained broadly in American and European modern dance techniques as well as traditional African-Brazilian dance and dance forms in India, Egypt, Senegal, and Cuba. In the early 1980s she began to develop and teach the Silvestre Technique, which has evolved into a rich and rigorous methodology rooted in African tribal dance practice.

In her book, Williams, who has studied extensively with Silvestre in Brazil, situates the dance technique within the spiritual and cultural history of African Brazilians, and in particular, the political and social mobilization of Black Brazilians in the 1970s in Bahia. She then thoroughly investigates and analyzes the theory and practice of Silvestre Technique, both codifying the movement and highlighting its connection to resistance, empowerment, and healing.