Claudia Lyra (Artistic and Music Director of Nós de Chita) -
After graduating in Brazil with a Bachelor Degree in Psychology and understanding, experience, the importance of movement and music in my life I realized that a good education can be healing or prevent emotional weaknesses. A good education involves activities in which students explore their identities, creativity, social skills and are engaged in the subjects by the teachers who are able to bring authentic material to classroom or educational events. With that in mind, after years of devotion to ballet, gymnastics, Capoeira and percussion, I have been practicing and studying Traditional Rhythms, dances and stories from Brazil. With this experience, I acknowledge the teachings of traditions and wise humans dedicated to live with integrity, keeping their identity, their culture alive through artistic expressions. Through this endless learning process I have been able to use my voice and all the blessings within movement and music skills, to pass on these traditions and people's stories in order to inspire others, no matter the age. Other than cultural projects offered by Nós de Chita, I also teach Brazilian Portuguese as a Heritage Language at my school BRaPA (Brazilian Portuguese and Arts) where activities and gatherings are created, shared and well lived - http://www.brazilcc.com
Academic path -
* Accepted at the Department of Dual Language and English Learner Education (formerly Policy Studies Department) at SDSU - Fall 2015 to study in a Master's of Arts Program - Critical Literacy & Social Justice that provides teachers and those in the education profession with skills in critiquing current school programs from a social equity and social justice perspective.
* Mentor at Teaching Arts Institute - San Diego. Preparing Artists to teach their art in partnership with Arts Programs at Elementary Schools in San Diego.
* BA in Psychology at Londrina State University which was a 5 years full time course including Educational and Social Psychology, Social Sciences, Child Development, Cognitivism, Physiology, Anatomy, Methodology and Researching, Anthropology, and many more studies in the area of Psychotherapy, Freud Psychoanalysis, as well as human development and education.
* Certified as Art and Language teacher with Young Audiences of San Diego and Startalk programs in Boston.
* Accomplished the course for Art Teachers by Musica e Movimento in São Paulo, 2013, by Uira kuhlmann.
* Certified as Expressive Arts Therapy Practitioner by the Expressive Arts Institute in Laguna Beach (CA).
* Studies on Body Percussion with renown groups such Barbatuques (Brazil) and Keith Terry (Oakland - CA).
* Waldorf Teaching Certification program based on Rudolf Steiner education - Waldorf School in San Diego.
*She has been running by herself a whole Brazil Cultural Center in San Diego.
As part of my education and journey into the oral traditions, there are Instituto Brincantes with Mestre Antonio Nóbrega, Mestre Tião Carvalho and his group Cupuaçu in Sao Paulo; Leaders of different groups of Maracatu in Pernambuco such as Mestre Afonso from Nação Leão Coroado and Mestre Walter from Estrela Brilhante who recently visited New York as well as Mestre Ferrugem in Olinda - PE. I practiced 8 years of Capoeira with Mestre Fran from Maculelê Capoeira Group in Londrina (Brazil) and I am still actively involved in the art joining Capoeira Luanda in 2012, led by Mestre Jelon Vieira - artist director of New York Dance Group. Barbatuques opened the doors for the body music possibilities in 2006. They are known worldwide for their body music projects . Dudu Fuentes from Batucalacatuca and Celsinho Silva pandeirista from Rio are great influences. From 2006 to 2008 I was working with a STOMP (off-Broadway show) performer Chris Rubio who also brought me the inspiration to create Nós de Chita and get into education teaching my art to increase curiosity, passion and engagement at schools where I have been working with. Estevão Marques from group Palavra Cantada and grupo Trii and Project Griô at Chapada Diamantina - Bahia, have been inspiring me in the process of pursuing a Masters Degree in Education and having Oral Traditions and Music and Movement into the classrooms to improve quality of teacher and students in the school system.
All these paths bring me the fundamentals to make my career as an entrepreneur, art and language teacher, performer and percussionist. It has been an interesting and rewarding journey! I strongly believe that Brazil can also be represented by the music and dance created by the working class people who connect themselves to the art with passion, beliefs and devotion, then, understanding.