Planeta Azul: An Educational Program


Egili Oliveira Visits Chicago! Part 2

Egili Oliveira - Rainha das Rainhas
Egili Oliveira will be wrapping up her U.S. performance and workshop tour soon, but not before she had the chance to give us a mention in a recent interview with Brazilian press outlets and talk about the impact that visiting our students had on her experience in Chicago. You can read the article here:
Egili during a capoeira demonstration 
Rachel Montiel, co-founder and president of Planeta Azul: A Brazilian Entertainment Group, offered the following reflection about the experience:
"This summer, Projeto Planeta Azul had the immense honor of hosting Egili Oliveira, one of Rio's most accomplished samba queens and one of the world's top samba instructors, as a guest facilitator for their samba residency at Burke Elementary School on Chicago's South Side. Through this project, Planeta Azul (led by Luciano Antonio and Yaasha Abraham) works with the under served black and Mexican communities to help provide the needed skills to inspire their young students to achieve inside and outside of the classroom utilizing Brazilian percussion and dance to help build discipline, focus, self respect, cultural awareness and confidence. On this visit, Egili's presence and demonstrations left an incredible impact on this body of young black students. As they listened attentively and participated in her demonstrations, their minds and hearts were expanded to a new and universal level of black pride."
If you're interested in bringing the Planeta Azul experience to your school or community organization, contact us at
Obrigadissima pela simpatia de novo, rainha linda!

Egili Oliveira Visits Chicago!

This weekend, we had the immense honor and privilege of housing Egili Oliveira, one of Rio's most accomplished samba queens and one of the world's top samba instructors. On Friday, she was a guest facilitator for our samba residency at Burke Elementary on Chicago's South Side (Woodlawn). After speaking with our students and engaging them in short samba and capoeira demonstrations, Egili had this to say about the experience:
"Sobre ontem: vivi uma experiência unica , com crianças negras de um bairro pobre de Chicago ; com toda a rebeldia e sofrimento que essas crianças carregam na vida a marca visivel no rosto e a forma que elas botam para fora ,vi uma grande semelhança com as nossas crianças.
Quando aceitei o convite, me avisaram que seria barra pesada ,e no entanto não  foi isso que aconteceu ,fui bem preparada pisicologicamente  e fui recebida com muita atenção ,contei um pouco da minha real vida que não é facil mais ,venço um obstáculo dia após dia ,fui ouvida com muita atenção e  coberta de varias perguntas e no final de tudo pediram que eu dançasse rsrsrs,e em seguida estavam prontos a aprenderem um pouco da nossa mais rica  cultura o samba ensinei e,passei alguma noção de capoeira enfim ,estou seguindo levando nossa cultura ao mundo especificamente aos pontos pobres ,que faltam amor e carinho ,acho que esse é o significado do nosso samba ,dar alegria a quem precisa.
Amei essa esperiência ,obrigada Rachel Montiel e Yaasha Abraham  pelo convite nunca vou esquecer."
"About yesterday: I had a unique experience with black children front Chicago's inner city, with rebellion Anna suffering written all over their faces - and they reminded me of our kids (in Brazil). When I accepted this invitation, they (Luciano and Yaasha) warned me that it would be tough, but it wasn't really like that. I was psychologically well-prepared, and I was received attentively. I told them a bit about my real life - which hasn't been easy, and that I'm overcoming obstacles every single day. They listened well and asked me several questions and at the end, they asked me to dance, haha! Right away, they were ready to learn a little about samba, the richest part of our culture, and in also gave them an idea is what capoeira looks like. I'll keep bringing our culture to the world, especially its poorest parts that are in need of love and affection. I believe that this is the meaning of samba: to give happiness where it's most needed. I loved This experience - thank you, Rachel Montiel and Yaasha Abraham for this invitation. I'll never forget it!"

On The Road with Planeta Azul!

Did you know that we also take our educational programs on the road? Here's a glimpse of what we did on our last educational road trip. In May, we had the honor and privilege of being the first group outside of Tennessee invited to participate in the annual Latino Memphis Festival, which is an afternoon full of educational entertainment dedicated to a different Latin American country each year. This year was "Festa Do Brasil," and in addition to performing at Overton Park, we performed at Southwind High School to a wonderful crowd of students that was attentive, respectful, and ready to dance! They were able to enjoy a concert while learning how to do the samba step, and as you can see, some caught on very quickly...


Boi-bumbá: A Celebration of Indigenous Heritage

The students of Pilsen Academy had the opportunity to learn about boi-bumbá during one of our dance residencies. They, similar to the caboclos, are of varying degrees of European and indigenous descent, and they were able to draw parallels between their Mexican culture and that of the people of Parintins. When they learned that toada choreography literally interprets the lyrics of a song, they applied that knowledge into the creation and performance of an original piece using the song "Festa do Povo Vermelho." With the exception of a minor wardrobe malfunction, the performance was something of which the student group was very proud and the process made them feel more connected to their indigenous roots. 

"Festa do Povo Vermelho" choreographed by the Pilsen Academy Planeta Azul Students


Planeta Azul Ends Another Successful School Year!

This school year was full of lots of rewarding experiences for us and our students. One of our favorite sites was Nicholson STEM Academy in Chicago's Englewood neighborhood, where we did a dance residency with 1st and 2nd grade students. The class was so popular that kids all over the school popped their heads in to ask to participate every time we were in session. Hopefully, they'll let the principal know and we'll be able to bring Brazilian dance to all grade levels!

This year, we focused on Afro-Brazilian dance. The students learned about where on the map they would be able to find Brazil, the language spoken there, dance movements, and even how to count to 10 in Portuguese! They learned how to connect language with math skills when we played a matching game to connect the Portuguese words with their corresponding numbers. They also learned how to properly count out the number of steps they needed for each movement. When they learned how to count in Portuguese, they realized that it was a little more tricky to do because they were incorporating a new language skill, but with practice, they got it down to a science! Their performance song will be "Madagascar" by Olodum. 

If you happen to be free this afternoon and are on the South Side, come on down to Nicholson STEM Academy at 6000 S. Peoria, just one block west of Halsted and one block south of 59th St., as the dance class performs during their awards assembly at 1 PM. We hope to be able to see a few of you there later on! 

Summer Camp Season is Here!

We here at Planeta Azul are thrilled about our 5th year at the Town of Cicero Community Center for another fun-filled 6 weeks of Summer Samba Camp! With between 25-30 students in participation every year from ages 5-12, each year brings us new surprises and wonderful memories. Working in Cicero is always so special because we facilitate the camp bilingually because over half of the children come from Spanish-speaking homes. They are some of the sweetest, respectful, and brightest students we have the blessing of working with each year, and even though camp starts in one day, we're already looking forward to Year 6!

If you're a Cicero resident, and you'd like for your child to take part in this experience, call the Town of Cicero Community Center (2250 S. 49th Ave) at (708) 656-3600 ext 160 today to find out pricing information. The Town of Cicero always takes care to provide affordable programming to make it accessible to all residents. Our camp days and hours are Tuesdays and Thursdays beginning on June 14 from 10 AM - 11:30 AM. Registration deadline is set for June 20, so hurry and register your child today for this unique cultural education experience!

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