Deconstructing Dance

Earlier this month at Inspiramais, Brazil’s leading fashion trade fair, we discovered the clever work of Jefferson De Assis. The Brazilian designer had been deployed by Inspiramais to research the Carimbó — a lively dance with pre-colonial roots, declared an “intangible cultural heritage” of Brazil in 2014 — and create a capsule range of accessories.

Inspired by the cultural hybridism and racial miscegenation he encountered, a blend of the dance’s indigenous heritage with African and Portuguese influences, De Assis set about deconstructing the various components of the Carimbó. These include curimbó drums, the primary sound, as well as a banjo, maracas, tambourines, flute, reco-reco (metal scraper), and the afoxé, a peculiar shaker fashioned out of a gourd and covered in beads. Out of these components, De Assis created a drum bag, an engraved leather belt, beaded thigh highs boots, and ballet flats that unzip in the same circular motion as the dancers.

Naturally De Assis partook in the festivities, twirling and twirling with the other dancers, even if, he laughed, “I was doing it all wrong!”

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