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Cristina Rosa

Cristina Rosa

Interweaving Performance Cultures

Fellow 2011/12, 2012/13

Cristina Rosa is an interdisciplinary artist and a scholar in the field of dance studies. Her areas of interest include Afro-Brazilian movement practices (e.g. dance forms and martial arts) as well as contemporary dance forms. Rosa is a postdoctoral researcher at Universidade de Brasília’s Centro de Documentação e Pesquisa em Dança Eros Volúsia. Previously, she taught at the California Institute of the Arts. Educated in the United States and in Brazil, Rosa holds a PhD in Culture and Performance from the University of California, Los Angeles, and a graduate certificate in Ethnic and Racial Studies and African Culture from the Universidade Federal da Bahia. Her recent research projects focus on the relationship across embodiment, knowledge production, and processes of identification within colonial and post-colonial contexts. With an emphasis on both historiography and movement analysis, her forthcoming book, Swing Nation: Brazilian Bodies and their Choreographies of Identification, examines the construction of identity in Brazil through movement.

Research Project

Choreographing Identification, the South American Way

Carmen Miranda and Pelé are perhaps the most widely known icons ever produced by Brazil. Although they have little in common, together their artful performances have given international visibility to a particular kind of bodily syncopation, commonly known as ginga.

This project seeks to elucidate how this artful way of moving has informed the modern conceptualization of Brazil as an imagined community and the effects that it has produced on global stages. More specifically, I will consider how ginga has been incorporated and valorized within two contemporary kinds of performative spectacles: World Cup tournaments and World Dance festivals.

Briefly, ginga is the foundational element within an Afro-Brazilian system of bodily organization and knowledge production anchored to principles such as polycentrism and polyrhythm. As I will demonstrate, the complex negotiations articulated between a local repertoire of movements centered on an Africanist system of articulating ideas corporeally (i.e. the ginga aesthetic) and movement practices originating in Europe (i.e. the art of soccer and of concert dance) have resulted in comparable processes of identification that often intertwine patriotism with auto-exoticism.

Through the combined deployment of theoretical approaches originating in several different fields, including decolonial thought, choreographic analysis, and critical studies of race and gender, this project sheds light on the relevance of movement as a way of circulating and communicating memory, politics, and communities within the context of globalization. Furthermore, it demonstrates how non-verbal discourses generate ideas that can be deployed to either reinforce or disrupt the epistemic violence particular to scenarios of coloniality.

Selected Publications

  • Rosa, C., Between the Devil and the Deep (Blue) Queen: Historicizing Brazilian Identity through the Queer Black Dancing Body of Madame Satã, Looking Back/Moving Forward: International Symposium on Dance Research, 2008.
  • Rosa, C., “Neguinho & Negão: Performances of Masculinity within the Afro-Brazilian Practice of Capoeira” in S. Gramley and R. Schneider (eds.) Cultures in Process: Encounter and Experience, Bielefeld: Aisthesis, 2009.
  • Rosa, C., “Jogo Bonito: a Study of Brazilian Soccer as a Modern Spectacle of Races,” in Thinking Gender Papers, Los Angeles: UCLA Center for the Study of Women, 2010.


Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung