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Nascimento Do Passo

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Passenger, Shoeshine boy amd freight loader.

Nascimento Do Passo

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Last update: 20/09/2013

By: Maria do Carmo Gomes de Andrade - Librarian of the Fundação Joaquim Nabuco

Francisco do Nascimento Filho, better known as Master Nascimento do Passo or simply Nascimento do Passo, was born on 28 December 1936 in the municipality of Benjamin Constant, Amazonas. He arrived in Recife in 1949, hidden in the basement of the ship Admiral Alexandrino, which was on cabotage on the Brazilian coast.

In Recife he was homeless for some time, without a defined profession. He worked as a shoeshine boy and freight loader. He slept on park benches and could only rent a room in a boarding-house that was behind the headquarters of the Vassourinhas ‘frevo’ Club when he got his first steady job in the house of a German couple. From this proximity his interest in dancing ‘frevo’ was born, and it was at the Club’s rehearsals that he learned to dance it, becoming later a passion for life.

The tradition of dancing frevo on the streets is linked to its very origin. And this tradition, even going through transformations of time and cultural influences, managed to reach the 1950s and 1960s, when people still used to dance frevo in the central streets of Recife, especially in the Diario Square and Guararapes Avenue.

Many people threw themselves happily into dancing frevo steps like the “tesoura” (“scissors”), “parafuso” (“screw”), “dobradiça” (“hinge”) and some others, as yet unnamed, as far as dancers creativity – and legs – would allow them to perform.

During that time, officers of the Carnival Organising Committee had the idea to create a competition among frevo street dancers. In these competitions, the dancers used all their ability and strength of their legs to show off with grace and beauty the most varied steps of frevo, to the sound of trumpets, clarinets, tubas and saxophones.

Nascimento increasingly devoted himself to learning the steps and in 1958 won a major competition, rising from obscurity to become a symbol of the Recife Carnival. Frevo was not just a dance or ballet; it was also his name and his life. It was then that the broadcaster Cezar Brazil called him for the first time “Nascimento do Passo” (“Frevo-step Nascimento”). He began to attend shows in the city theatres and accompanied the presentations of frevo orchestras in Germany.

Over time, Nascimento do Passo noted that the dancers were losing areas to dance on in the streets of Recife, thus reducing the possibility of dissemination and perpetuation of the characteristically Pernambuco and, in particular, Recife Carnival dance.

Due to these observations, in 1973, Nascimento created the first school of frevo that, besides perpetuating the dance, would help it to be experienced outside Carnival. To do so, he created a systematised method of teaching the movements and techniques that would be passed on to new generations of young dancers. The school was called the Academia do Passo (Frevo Steps Academy), was itinerant, and conducted courses in public spaces. Later the name changed to Escola de Frevo Recreativa Nascimento do Passo (Nascimento do Passo Frevo Recreation School), and in 1996 got its own base and was transformed into an official frevo school for the Municipality of Recife.

The Nascimento do Passo’s school, among other activities, taught the Recife Popular Ballet (1976); taught multidisciplinary artist Antonio Carlos Nóbrega (1978), toured Europe (1989), taught frevo courses in Sítio da Trindade in the Recife neighbourhood of Casa Amarela (1992); taught courses during the Winter Festival of Garanhuns (between the years 1993-1998), and courses at the Brincantes and SESC Pompéia theatres in São Paulo (1998).

In recognition of his work, Nascimento do Passo received the title of Citizen of Recife in 1998 and Citizen of Pernambuco in 2000.

In 2000, he marched with more than 35 dancers to the rhythm of the Império Serrano Samba School in Rio de Janeiro. The same year, he was the champion of the Joinville Dance Festival, Santa Catarina, with the choreography “Nascimento do Frevo” in the ‘Half Point’ category, and two-time champion in 2001, at the same festival.

Nascimento do Passo died on 2 September 2009, leaving his living mark on the history of the Pernambuco Carnival.

Recife, 30 December 2010.
Translated by Peter Leamy, March 2012.

sources consulted

MESTRE Nascimento do Passo. Disponível em: .  Acesso em: 28 dez. 2010.

VICENTE, Ana Valéria. Entre a ponta de pé e o calcanhar: reflexões sobre como o frevo ensina o povo, a nação e a dança no Recife. Recife: UFPE, Ed. Universitária,  2009.

______. Biu. Nascimento do Passo. Disponível em: Acesso em: 10 dez. 2010.


how to quote this text

Source:ANDRADE, Maria do Carmo. Nascimento do Passo. Pesquisa Escolar Online, Joaquim Nabuco Foudation, Recife. Available at:  <>. Accessed: day month year. Exemple: 6 Aug. 2009