PORTLAND — Portland Ovations will present the trademark choreography, joyous rhythms and sensual exuberance of Bale Folclorico da Bahia on Wednesday, Jan. 19, at Merrill Auditorium.

Bale Folclorico da Bahia is a prodigious 38-member troupe of dancers, singers, drummers and instrumentalists whose performances feature Afro-Brazilian cultural traditions of Bahia, Brazil. The traditional music and dance of the region is heavily influenced by African culture as a result of the slave trade. Bale Folclorico da Bahia combines elements of slave dances, samba de roda, the martial art form of capoeira, and Brazil Carnival traditions into a spectacle of sound, movement and colorful costumes.

The centerpiece of the evening’s performance, “Sacred Heritage,” is a work rooted in the Afro-Brazilian spirituality known as Candomble, a belief system derived from the Yoruba religion, brought to Brazil by African slaves. The work was created to celebrate Bale Folclorico da Bahia’s 20th anniversary and is being performed in the United States for the first time on this tour.

Tickets range from $44 to $32, with a limited number of $15 tickets available for full-time college and grade school students. For tickets, call PortTix at 824-0800 or visit www.portlandovations.org.

The performance will begin at 7:30 p.m. Ovations Offstage will offer a free lecture, “Capoeira: From Africa to Brazil to Maine,” by Portland’s own capoeira Mestre Joao Bordallo from 6 to 7 p.m. Bordallo will discuss the religious, historical and contemporary vitality of the martial art created in Brazil by African slaves more than 400 years ago. Bordallo’s students will demonstrate capoeira techniques.

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