For over two decades the "Juventude de Portugal" youth group has been bringing dedicated, talented dancers together at the Mineola Portuguese Center.
Each week the group comes together to preserve their cultural heritage and to practice the intricate steps of traditional Folklorico dance from Portugal.
Many of these dancers have been performing together since they were young children. Manny Carlos, who grew up in Mineola, has been volunteering as their dance instructor for the past 26 years. Tony Da Silva, also an excellent dancer, is the current president of the group, which performs at parades and cultural events in festive costumes. Lead musician Carlos Da Costa plays the Concertina - an imported diatonic accordion - while the group rehearses.
The musicians enjoy playing melodies called "Canaverde" - which are fast and upbeat - and also "Vera," which translates to "turn" and is favored for fluid and twirling dances. Three singers and drummers also volunteer to compliment the musicians.
More musical notes are created when the men use Castalholas (castanets) while the women wear "Socas," special embroidered backless shoes imported from Portugal that echo the drums when the dancer step down on the floor. The ladies also play tambourines when they perform. The traditions that they focus on are from the Minho region of Northern Portugal. There is also a group of young children who take Folklorico lessons on another night.
For more information on the group, please click here.