Thursday, February 22, 2007

It's a collective experience of reconsidering bodies

Despite all the jiggling, sweating flesh on display Saturday as crowds of dancers pressed together in the first full day of carnival celebrations, Brazilians say the spectacle is not all about sex. They see it as a celebration of the body, closer in the spirit to the Olympics than the strip bar...
Brazilians say nakedness at carnival is about sensuality. Yes, sexual imagery abounds in the samba schools, and thousands of revelers dance skin-to-skin on the sidelines. But nudity carries a different connotation in Brazil than in many other countries. "Here, nakedness doesn't only lead to sexuality, it leads you to aesthetic appreciation. A woman is dancing but it's not pornographic. It's a collective experience of reconsidering bodies, like at the Olympic games," said Roberto Da Matta, a retired University of Notre Dame sociology professor and author of Carnivals, Rogues and Heroes.
Da Matta says his granddaughters watch the nearly nude samba dancers in TV ads during the run-up to carnival, grading them like judges at a gymnastic competition, or in the same way Rio's Samba parade is judged..."This is Rio de Janeiro, it's all about the beach and sun. We don't wear many clothes here at anytime during the year," Faria explains. Front page / World

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