'Year Of' Day Brings Portuguese World to KSU

October 2, 2015

Capoeira PerformersIs Brazilian capoeira a form of dancing, a form of defensive martial arts, or both? What is the cultural significance of this tradition and why is it so popular today? The Kennesaw State University community will learn the answers to these questions and more at the Year of the Portuguese Speaking World Day on Oct. 6.

Everyone is invited to the Carmichael Student Center University Rooms from 12:30 pm – 2 pm to experience the culture, art, and – perhaps most importantly – the unique cuisines of the Portuguese speaking world.

Highlights of the event include a demonstration from an Atlanta-area capoeira master, an original performance by the KSU Tellers acting troupe, and catering from three local Portuguese World  restaurants.

The "Year Of" Day event is an annual tradition at Kennesaw State University. Each academic year, the University selects a country or world region to spotlight throughout the fall and spring with a series of guest speakers, conferences, film festivals, and other cultural activities. The “Year Of” Day serves as an exciting kickoff event for the “Year Of” program each year.

“The Day is always enjoyable and engaging,” says Dr. Dan Paracka, Director of Academic Initiatives for KSU’s Division of Global Affairs, and the head of the “Year Of” country study program. “We make it a big event so that the whole campus is aware of the “Year Of” program.”

According to Paracka, the key to the event’s success is its dual focus on performance and food, especially from local sources.

“Later in the semester we have renowned international performers from abroad,” he says, “but for this event, we always use local performers and groups. It’s a way to highlight them and get the local community actively involved in the ‘Year Of’ program early.”

One such local performer is Master Muriel Ribeiro, the founder of Cordão de Ouro (CDO) Atlanta. CDO Atlanta is a non-profit organization promoting equality and empowerment through instruction of capoeira, a form of Brazilian martial arts.

Master Muriel will be at the Year of the Portuguese Speaking World Day presenting a capoeira demonstration. In addition, he will lead a capoeira class that morning with Kennesaw State Assistant Professor of Dance Daniel Gwirtzman. The class – which is open to all KSU students – begins at 9:30 at the School of Dance.

Later, the KSU Tellers acting troupe, organized by Assistant Professor of Performance Studies Charles Parrott, will present an original adaptation of the Portuguese folk tale “The Hearth Cat.”

“’The Hearth Cat’ is essentially the Cinderella story told through this cultural lens,” Parrott says. “We're prefacing the performance with a brief discussion about how the story arrives out of an oral folk tradition in Portugal but connects to cultures across the globe.”

Like the performances, the food available at the Year of the Portuguese Speaking World Day comes from the local community. Visitors will be able to try regional cuisine from the following Portuguese/Brazilian-themed restaurants:

Paracka hopes that the “Year Of” Day not only provides visitors with a newfound admiration for the culture of the Portuguese speaking world, but that it also inspires them to want to learn more and participate in future “Year Of” events.

“This is meant to be fun and attract people,” he says. “After all, who doesn’t love food and music? But we also want to let people know that we have this bigger project that they can become more engaged in.”

Learn more about the “Year Of” Program by visiting the Year of the Portuguese Speaking World Homepage.

-Patrick Harbin