Earlier this year I was lucky enough to spend 4 days training in carnival arts with Mandinga. Charles and Julieta (Mandinga directors) make the most amazing, beautifully crafted carnival puppets. Their carnivals are inspired by traditional folk-art from around the world. They always add their own creative perspective and ideas, and as a result produce inventive, stunning carnival processions.
The four days were spent learning the skills and techniques to making and performing carnival arts. It was an intensive workshop, and in just four days we covered: designing, fitting, making, costume, puppetry, performance and lighting.
Charles was a caring, patient teacher, with an infectious passion and enthusiasm for his art. We were not fortunate enough to meet Julietta, but through her colourful creations (and from Charles’ stories and anecdotes) she was with us in spirit. The other participants wer also very talented, and each had a background in making puppets and performing -we learned a great deal from each other, and had lots of fun!
My favourite moment was on the last day: Chez (workshop participant) and I spent the afternoon dancing up-and-down the Mandinga garden to live samba beats. It was pouring down with rain, and we were both wearing a giant golden emu-style puppet (see image below). We were heavy, tired and soaking though, but we had a LOT of fun!
5 words to describe the Mandinga Arts carnival workshops:
Fun, creative, inspiring, skeleton, arriba!