Mana-chica do Gargaú

Intangible Cultural Heritage - São Francisco de Itabapoana


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 Photo: Cris Isidoro / Diadorim Ideias
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Before being a gathering of friends who worship a tradition, the Mana-chica Gargaú Group is a family. All members of this group, which is one of the last groups of the state to preserve this dance in pairs ? a kind of square dance that mixes the "fado" with the agitated rhythm of the northeastern "forró" ? both have the same root, the Faria family.


By the way, this a Family that really enjoys partying; they own the "Boi Pernambuco", who for more than 73 years has been taking great crowds during carnival in Gargaú, and "Boi 51", which, in 2013, turns 4 years old.

Jean Barbosa, president of the "Mana-chica do Gargaú", explains that the objective of so much effort from the family is to not allow the extinction of the dance and to continue cultivating the tradition from generation to generation. "We are just a few, but the "mana-chica" is assured with the new Faria generation", says Jean.


The "game" happens usually in the backyard of Dona Laureci da Silva Barbosa, 77, one of the main supporters of the group and the one who tells all the stories of the "mana-chica" to the young people. During the dance, the ladies turn their skirts following the beat of the drums, guitars, tambourines, and rattles, while the gentlemen stomp their feet on the ground and bow before dancing.


Mana-chica do Gargaú. Photo: Cris Isidoro / Diadorim Ideias


The group, made ??up of 40 people, has been meeting for 12 years to rescue the tradition. And there are people of all ages: the guitarist Mark Arthur, 23, accompanies Master Amaro Vancredo, known as Amarinho, 63, and the singing of Antonio Barreto, 76. There are 12, 13, 15, 20, 50, 60 years-old dancers...


If it were up to them the "mana-chica" would always be alive. "We are the second generation. More than 50 years ago, our parents learned, in Caboio, a district of Santo Amaro de Campos dos Goytacazes, the "mana-chica" we dance today", says Amarinho. Proud to participate in the game, the master gets even more emotional when he dances alongside his children and grandchildren: the third and fourth generations of the Faria family, who entertains and sings old "extravaganzas".


"Menina mão direita, mão canhota

eu te dou a mão direita

que é de dona Maricota"


The "fado" verses, more than half a century old, are still repeated non-stop in Dona Laureci's backyard. This is a proof that the "Mana-chica do Gargaú" is more current than ever. And they warn us: new competitions, for the time being, are not a possibility: "We like to keep the tradition and to maintain our rich inheritance", says Jean.

General Information

Address: Gargaú, São Francisco de Itabapoana - Rio de Janeiro
Phone: (+55 22) 9818 4158 (Jean Barbosa)
E-mail address:

Secretaria de Cultura do Estado do Rio de Janeiro Petrobras

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