Funded! This project was successfully funded on December 4, 2011.

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A talented group of dancers at the forefront of the hip hop movement in Rio de Janeiro learn about the strength of their passion.

A Brief Background: (Traducao em baixo) 

In 2005 I received a grant that took me to Brazil for one year to study dance and work with youth. Originally I imagined traveling all over Brazil to study dance in various regions. My first stop, however, was Rio de Janeiro and as it turned out I would not be traveling far. After making friends with a Brazilian dancer at an impromptu street dance party, I was invited to observe the rehearsals of the hip-hop dance company he belonged to. With an address in my hand, I made my way to what I assumed would be a dance studio in down town Rio. Instead I ended up at a park by the beach, watching 15 dancers wail their approval of one another’s choreographic ideas as they sweated in the hot afternoon sun. This group was indeed a company, more professional and committed than many I’d seen, but they were also teenagers, with limited resources, working with what they had.

After months of training and learning from this dynamic community of dancers who strengthened my belief in the power of group creativity, I decided to put a camera in my hand and see what happened. What began as a desire to capture on film my friends powerful ideals about community and artistry, evolved into a six-year project and the beginning of our documentary film, Believe The Beat. Filming the group over the years in Rio, the United States and even the Czech Republic, has been a highly transformative and unifying journey for myself and everyone involved.

In 2010 I had the good fortune of finding an editor who shared my passion and my background in hip-hop dance. Together we returned to Rio to finish filming. Where as I had previously done the filming and directing alone, I now had the opportunity to view the project with heightened focus and intention as my editor used her cinematography skills to wield the camera. We were able to work with two other dancers during our time in Rio who served the vital roles of Production Assistant and Assistant Director. We are now in the process of post- production, working with our small Oregon based team that includes Believe The Beat’s film editor, Corrinne Theodoru, our musician, Anthony DeMarco, who is composing an original soundtrack, and myself. We draw on our shared believe in the power of dance and the illumination of film as we continue this project.

What is Believe The Beat About:

Nobru De Souza says the style of his dance crew, '...doesn't belong to one single member, but to the collective creativity of the whole.' And so begins the journey of Xstyle Dance Company alongside other inspired crews in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, where resources are scarce, but the will to create is mighty. Entranced by the hip-hop phenomenon that has made its way south of the border, these close friends gather in the park to devote their time to the evolution of their craft and to each other. Believe The Beat follows their individual and collective journeys from excited young teenagers to admired leaders and teachers, tracking various members thru Brazil, The United States and Europe. Believe The Beat is a story about the deep primal joy of dance and how one’s sense of community can bolster their art in tremendous and enduring ways.

Uma breve introdução

Em 2005, estive no Brasil durante um ano para estudar dança e trabalhar com jovens, após haver recebido uma bolsa de estudos. Originalmente, imaginava viajar pelo país para estudar em várias partes, mas minha primeira parada foi o Rio de Janeiro e de lá não viajei muito. Nessa época, fiz amizade com um dançarino em um bloco de rua, que me convidou para dar uma olhada nos ensaios do seu grupo de hip-hop. Dessa forma fui com o endereço na mão e a expectativa de ir a um estúdio no centra da cidade; contudo cheguei num parque junto à praia com 15 pessoas do grupo dançando e suando sob o sol, ao mesmo tempo em que buscavam a aprovação uns dos outros para suas ideias coreográficas. O grupo era realmente uma companhia de dança, mais profissional e cometida que muitas outras, mas também eram todos jovens com recursos limitados e fazendo o máximo possível com o que tinham.

Depois de meses de treinamento com essa comunidade dinâmica e aprendendo com eles, fiquei mais convicta do poder da criatividade. Decidi então pegar uma filmadora e ver o que acontecia. Havia começado com o desejo de captar os seus fortes ideais sobre as noções de comunidade e arte, mas isso foi se tornando um projeto de seis anos e a produção de um documentário, Believe the Beat [Fé no ritmo]. Filmei o grupo ao longo dos anos no Rio, nos Estados Unidos e até na Republica Checa, o que tem sido um processo transformador e unificador para mim e para toas as pessoas envolvidas.

Em 2010, tive a oportunidade de conhecer uma editora que compartilhou a minha paixão e experiência com o hip-hop, e juntas retornamos ao Rio para acabar as filmagens. Nos anos anteriores, eu havia feito a filmagem e a direção sozinha – agora tinha a possibilidade de ver o projeto com mais perspectiva e foco porque a minha editora estava usando as suas habilidades cinematográficas para filmar. Na estadia no Rio, trabalhamos também com dois dançarinos que ocupavam os papéis-chaves de assistente de produção e assistente de direção. Agora estamos no processo de pós-produção, que envolve a nossa pequena equipe baseada em Oregon, e que consiste da editora do documentário, Corrinne Theodoru; do músico, Anthony DeMarco, que está compondo uma trilha sonora original; e de mim. Temos uma crença no poder da dança como modo expressivo e no esclarecimento proporcionado pelo meio fílmico.

De que se trata Believe The Beat?

O diretor da equipe de dança, Nobru de Souza, diz que o estilo do grupo “...não pertence a um só membro, mas à criatividade coletiva do todo.” Foi assim que começou a viagem do Xstyle Dance Company ao lado de outras equipes inspiradoras no Rio de Janeiro, onde não há muitos recursos, mas onde a vontade de criar é enorme. Fascinados pelo fenômeno cultural do hip-hop, que tem ido até à fronteira sul do país, esses amigos costumam se juntar no parque para dedicar seu tempo à evolução de suas habilidades e ao seu desenvolvimento pessoal. Believe The Beat segue as suas viagens individuais e coletivas no Brasil, nos Estados Unidos e na Europa, vendo o desenvolvimento deles desde adolescentes energéticos até sendo professores e líderes admirados. Believe The Beat é uma história sobre a alegria profunda e primal da dança e sobre como um sentido de comunidade pode fortalecer a arte de maneiras intensas e resistentes.

 Thank you to Projeto Urbanus for allowing us to use footage from 'Party Bout To Pop'.

 Thank you to Intervencao Urbana for the use of their flyer. 

 Translations courtesy of Tom Winterbottom.

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