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Celebrate series: Brazil cultural extravaganza  

Samba dancers wore cultural costumes with large colorful feathers and rhinestones to show the city of Santa Clarita Celebrate series attendees a glimpse of Brazilian culture on Friday evening at the Canyon Country Community Center. 041224 Katherine Quezada/The Signal
Samba dancers wore cultural costumes with large colorful feathers and rhinestones to show the city of Santa Clarita Celebrate series attendees a glimpse of Brazilian culture on Friday evening at the Canyon Country Community Center. 041224 Katherine Quezada/The Signal
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Despite the cold overcast weather on Friday, numerous people made their way to the Canyon Country Community Center for the first 2024 city of Santa Clarita “Celebrate” series installment: Brazil.  

Brazil is known for its vibrant cultural costumes during Carnaval, an annual celebration with intricate and infectious rhythms such as Samba and high-energy dancing, which were among the various performances children and families witnessed on Friday.  

The unique cultural experience created by the city of Santa Clarita has helped spread knowledge and traditions of people and places from around the world to the Canyon Country Community Center every second Friday from April to September for three years, said event coordinator Mike Franke.  

In previous installations the “Celebrate” series has shed light on the unique culture, food, and history from India, China, Egypt, Spain, West Africa, and more.  

Families and children danced to Brazilian music while samba dancer Jonia McClenney taught basic steps to the group of participants at the city of Santa Clarita Celebrate event at the Canyon Country Community Center on Friday. 041224 Katherine Quezada/The Signal
Families and children danced to Brazilian music while samba dancer Jonia McClenney taught basic steps to the group of participants at the city of Santa Clarita Celebrate event at the Canyon Country Community Center on Friday. 041224 Katherine Quezada/The Signal

“The goal of it is so that people can experience, explore [these] culture[s] and get to know a little bit more without actually taking a plane ride,” said Franke. Franke has witnessed the series since the very beginning and always enjoys watching unique performances that people wouldn’t see anywhere else, he said. “They’re always so different. We get authentic bands and dancers, and they perform something that you probably have not seen elsewhere unless you’ve gone to that country.”  

During the evening, the outside play area of the Canyon Country Community Center was full of Brazilian flags, a cardboard cutout of Cristo Redentor, one of the seven wonders of the world that stands on Brazil soil, and people wearing the national colors through soccer jerseys, hats, and other clothing that allowed them to embrace their heritage.  

Families and other attendees witnessed a Capoeira performance, performed by the Brazilian Nites Production dancers. Capoeira is an Afro-Brazilian cultural practice that simultaneously uses dance and acrobatic movement, according to the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization.  

Not only could attendees witness musically enriching performances, but also children had the opportunity to create “chocalho” or samba shakers to create musical rhythms, and Brazilian flags with as much glitter and rhinestones they pleased.  

Samba dancer Jonia McClenney taught basic samba dance steps to the city of Santa Clarita Celebrate attendees on Friday evening at the Canyon Country Community Center park. 041224 Katherine Quezada/The Signal
Samba dancer Jonia McClenney taught basic samba dance steps to the city of Santa Clarita Celebrate attendees on Friday evening at the Canyon Country Community Center park. 041224 Katherine Quezada/The Signal

With the arts and crafts, children could learn more about the significance of such cultural items.  

In the Brazilian flag arts and crafts station, a poster shared fun facts that many people may not know aimed to spread historical knowledge throughout the fun.  

“The blue globe in the middle of the Brazilian flag represents the night sky,” one poster said. “There are 27 stars on the blue globe. They are placed exactly as they appeared Nov. 15, 1889, above the capital city of Rio de Janeiro. This is the date when the Republic of Brazil was formed.”  

Amara Solis, who was at the celebration with her boyfriend Robert Gonzalez, was dancing to the bossa nova music performed by lead singer Mari Nobre and an ensemble of musicians.  

Mari Nobre performs Brazilian music during her performance at the city of Santa Clarita Celebrate series, a free event for guests to learn about different cultures through activities, performances, and food at the Canyon Country Community Center on Friday. 041224 Katherine Quezada/The Signal
Mari Nobre performs Brazilian music during her performance at the city of Santa Clarita Celebrate series, a free event for guests to learn about different cultures through activities, performances, and food at the Canyon Country Community Center on Friday. 041224 Katherine Quezada/The Signal

“I love traveling and Brazil has been a destination on my bucket list for years,” said Solis over the loud music. “I have never been but while that happens, I love coming to these monthly celebrations. I’ve seen videos of Brazilian culture, and the city does an amazing job to try and really bring an immersive experience right here close to home.”  

“It’s also a great way to have a fun date or family night,” added Gonzalez.  

The next installment of the “Celebrate” series will be highlighting South Korea and is scheduled for May 10.  

Families and children danced to Brazilian music while samba dancer Jonia McClenney taught basic steps to the group of participants at the city of Santa Clarita Celebrate event at the Canyon Country Community Center on Friday. 041224 Katherine Quezada/The Signal
Families and children danced to Brazilian music while samba dancer Jonia McClenney taught basic steps to the group of participants at the city of Santa Clarita Celebrate event at the Canyon Country Community Center on Friday. 041224 Katherine Quezada/The Signal

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