Ana São José: new PhD in Cultural Studies

The doctoral exams in Communication Sciences by Ana São José were held on Februry 15 (2:30 p.m.), in the ICS (Social Sciences Institute) Sala de Atos of the University of Minho, in Braga. The thesis is supervised by Luís Cunha (University of Minho), and is entitled “Dance and cinema: Brazilian cultural representations in the Atlantis ‘chanchadas’”.

According to the new PhD, this investigation analyzes the relationship between dance and cinema, specifically the Brazilian musical films, called the Chanchadas, produced in the 1950’s: “This temporal cut-off is due to the fact that it corresponds to a period in which the Chanchadas were consolidated as a popular cinematographic genre, reaching their scenic peak”. To Ana São José, the main objective of the thesis was to investigate how Brazilian film choreography is constructed, its representations and social identity processes: “The idea is to envision the dancing bodies as a crossover between the cinematographic language and the historical-cultural contextualization, placing these different languages in contact, in order to allow for new reflections of these scenic practices”. In this way, the precursor of reference for this thesis corresponds to the history of dance in the North American cinema and in the Carioca Magazine Theater, as well as representations of gender, race and cultural diversity. That is why it is a theoretical research, of interdisciplinary nature, spanning between the areas of cultural studies, history, dance, cinema, music and anthropology. The methodology adopted is qualitative and exploratory, having as technical procedures bibliographical and cinematographic research. The sample is composed of dance scenes taken from a corpus of 14 films. This approach will allow one “to demystify the idea that the choreographies presented in this cinematographic period were mere copies, imitations or parodies of those portrayed by the North American musical films”.

The panel of examiners was chaired by Moisés de Lemos Martins, Full Professor at UMinho’s Communication Sciences Department (Institute of Social Sciences) and CECS Director, representing UMinho’s dean, and was composed of the following members:

– Nelson Zagalo (Senior Lecturer at Communication and Art of University of Aveiro);

– Rosa Cabecinhas (Senior Lecturer at UMinho’s Communication Sciences Department (Institute of Social Sciences), and CECS investigator);

– Luís Cunha (Lecturer at University of Minho, Sociology Department);

– Cláudia Marisa Oliveira (Lecturer at School of Music, Arts and Entertainment of the Polytechnic Institute of Porto);

– Maria Teresa Fabião da Silva Pinto (PhD in Performing Arts at Federal University of Bahia-Brazil)

Text: Vítor de Sousa
Photo: Marta Barbosa