Antonio de Freitas
Oi Brasil's Director & Performer
Co-Founder of "The Manana Project"
The concept of THE MANANA PROJECT was born out of the experiences of Co-Founder Antonio de Freitas. Growing up in an economically disadvantaged area in Niteroi, Rio de Janeiro. Antonio had to leave school in his teenage years to find employment in order to support his family. In his late teens, he became involved in Rio’s Samba schools and demonstrated a natural talent as a performer. Opportunities were opened up for Antonio through music and dance which have since allowed him to travel the world and set up a successful Latin American entertainment company in the UK.
Antonio, along with many of Oi Brasil’s performers & instructors, have had first-hand experience of the positive benefits that music and dance can bring to those living in poverty, violence and the lure of gangs. For many, dance and music has allowed them to leave the favelas or slums where they grew up, to gain employment, and to avoid joining gangs. It is the knowledge and experience of the transformative potential of music and dance that forms the background motivation for THE MANANA PROJECT.
Across Latin America, social projects with young people that use dance, music and arts as well as sports are widely acknowledged as offering significant benefits for the participants involved. For example in Cuba arts training is available for all no matter their social or economic background.
Latin dance and music is inclusive and MANANA’s activities are inspired by the creativity and inclusivity of Brazil’s Capoeira, Samba schools and the Cuban model of Arts education which are open to all regardless of social, economic and ethnic background or ability.
We aim to bring the culture of inclusivity to all ages in the UK
AIMS & OBJETIVES
Our main goal is to provide the opportunity to students from all cultures, ethnic groups and economic backgrounds to benefit from Latin American music, dance and arts.
Increase students’ knowledge of Latin music, dance and culture
Promoting diversity and social inclusion.
Give students the opportunity to improve their rhythm and creativity
Promote understanding and respect between different cultures
Facilitate students’ team working and communication skills
Improve discipline and respect and encouraging to use self-discipline
Improve students’ confidence, self-esteem
and performance skills
Prevent young people
entering gangs or engaging with violence and anti-social behaviour.