Brasarte Background and Purpose
Established in 2000, BrasArte has four major goals:
1 To preserve the traditional dances and music of Brazil.
2 To preserve the historical roots of Brazil’s vibrant culture by helping to support and care for its aging artists and mentors.
3 To nurture new and emerging artistic talent.
4 To provide cultural exchange between Brazil and the United States.
Central to BrasArte’s mission is cultural exchange between the USA and Brazil. An integral part of this is organizing tours and workshops with artists directly from Brazil, starting at its inception with the group Ile Aiye: Bahia’s first Bloco Afro, and Nicinha Raizes de Santo Amaro: one of the oldest surviving samba de roda groups in Brazil.
In addition BrasArte has sponsored world class artists such as: Rosangela Silvestre, Marcelo Chocolate, Margareth Menezes, Nildinha Fonseca and many many more.
BrasArte immediately established itself as a major cultural organization by sponsoring two phenomenal tours — the first by Nicinha Raises de Santo Amaro (one of the oldest folkloric groups in Bahia) in 2001 and the second by Ile Aiye (Bahia’s first and oldest bloco afro, Afro Brazilian carnaval group) in 2003.
Both tours presented theater and festival performances, public school workshops and provided the general public with the opportunity to attend master classes.
Music & Dance Programs
Sharing the Richness of Brazilian Culture
BrasArte Founder, Conceição Damasceno
Born in Bahia, Brazil Conceição Damasceno was an internationally respected,choreographer, performer and instructor who lived and worked in the United States for over 30 years. She studied Brazilian folkloric, modern, jazz and Afro Brazilian dance from an early age at established dance institutions in Salvador, Bahia such as Castelo Branco, Ebateca, Fundacao Cultural da Bahia, Teatro Castro Alves and SESC.
Throughout her career she extensively researched Afro Brazilian & Indigenous folklore and religion – with a focus on the Recôncavo region of Bahia where Samba and Capoeira were developed.
Over time Ms. Damasceno developed her own signature technique: preserving the authenticity of the folkloric forms while adapting the dance for stage performance influenced by her time studying under Katherine Dunham in East St Louis (Ms. Damasceno is certified to teach Dunham technique).
She has performed and directed traditional dance as well as her own choreographies which explore Brasil’s economic, political and social realities through her own experiences. Ms. Damasceno has performed throughout Brazil, the United States, Europe and Asia.
She has opened and performed with major artists including Gilberto Gil, Margareth Menezes, Celia Cruz, Tania Maria and Tito Puente. As an instructor, she touched the hearts of legions of students in the Bay Area and beyond, inspiring generations of dancers to fall in love with Brazilian arts & culture.
After a long and valiant battle with Lupus, where she continued her work and inspired others with her resilience, Conceicao Damasceno passed away in 2022. Her work as a community leader, her passion— always embracing people of all walks of life into her circle of light, will forever be remembered.
BrasArte Artistic Director, Tainah Damasceno
Tainah Damasceno is a teaching & performing artist, choreographer, producer, and Artistic Director of BrasArte. Her work is primarily focused on cultural arts education– sharing with people of all ages across the Bay & USA how multiplicite Brazilian culture, history, and dance can be.
Tainah began dancing at the age of 3 with her mother– Brazilian culture bearer Conceicao Damasceno– followed by five years at the San Francisco Ballet School. Later on, she reconnected with her roots, and began studying Brazilian folkloric and contemporary dances with renewed intensity under various master artists. As an instructor, she taught for programs such as California Brazil Camp and International Samba Congress, and as a director she has created shows such as Sambrazil! (a story of samba from the caboclos to the escolas de samba) and directed festivals such as the Yemanja Arts Festival.
In 2018, Tainah was elected Queen of San Francisco Carnaval. Today she continues her research in the Reconcavo region of Bahia (birthplace of the samba, maculele & capoeira), as well as touring as a teaching artist in the United States and performing in the Bay Area. In her 10 years of teaching, Tainah’s goal has been to offer an inclusive, safe space for expression, and for participants to dive into the joy and force that permeates Brazilian culture.
As a 501(c) (3) Arts Education Organization BrasArte receives funding from government agencies, private foundations and corporate and individual donors. We would like to acknowledge the following funders (past and present) without whom we would not be able to carry out the work that we do:
Alameda County Arts Commission
Alliance for California Traditional Arts
Berkeley Civic Arts
California Arts Council
The Hewlett Foundation
San Francisco Foundation
Zellerbach Family foundation
There is always something happening at Brasarte!
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BrasArte is a not-for-profit 501(c)3 organization. Our mission is to preserve Brazilian culture through dance, music, culture, and connection.
© BrasArte 2000-2023. All rights reserved.