Master Nico Thomaz

People - Santo Antônio de Pádua


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At the age of 53, Mestre Nico (Master Nico) is a great cultural mobilizer in Pádua. An expert on Rio de Janeiro's folklore expressions, he is able to, in a few minutes, integrate harmoniously dozens of musicians, dancers, and revelers of all ages. Nico leads the Mineiro Pau (dance set performed by men, each carrying one or two sticks of wood, developed in a circle.

The dancers perform a choreography entirely marked by the beating of sticks on the ground. It may have arisen with the Indians, who also used sticks in duels or fights, or with the Africans) group in the city (which has been granted the Rio de Janeiro State Culture Award, in 2011, in the category Intangible Cultural Heritage), as well as the Caxambu (dance of black African origin, practiced and preserved throughout the Southeast Region of Brazil) and Jongo (a dance and musical genre of communities of African origin from southeast Brazil) group called Sebastiana II, and the Three Kings' Day parade groups Divino Espírito Santo, Branca Neve, and Estrela Guia.

"I like parades and jongo circles because they remind me of my ancestors. I feel like a runaway black man who managed to stay free", he says. His interest in preserving the folk traditions in the city, including capoeira, comes from his family. "In my house, we always sang and danced a lot. My great-grandfather founded our Mineiro Pau group, the tradition on being a parade master passed from generation to generation", he explains.

Master Nico also chairs the Associação Folclórica de Pádua (Pádua Folk Association), an organization that seeks to support the traditional cultural groups in the city by, for example, using the Mineiro Pau in local schools as a mechanism for social inclusion and citizenship.

General Information

Phone: (+55 22) 3853-3762 / 98136-0529

Secretaria de Cultura do Estado do Rio de Janeiro Petrobras

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