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Folk Dance Federation of California, South, Inc.

A Brazilian Dance



The xaxado (Portuguese pronunciation: ZAKS-zah-do) is a popular dance created in the Sertão of Pernambuco state, Brazil. Its name is attributed to the onomatopoeic sound that the dancers make with their alparcatas (shoes) dragged on the floor during the dance, sounding like "xa-xa-xa."

The first researches about the rhythm go back to 1922, where it was verified its practice in the regions of Agreste and Sertão of Pernambuco. The cangaçeiros (bandits) have the merit of being the main disseminators of the xaxado, because they used the dance as a battle cry or to celebrate victories.

Xaxado is also practiced as a traditional dance by the local population as a whole.

Xaxado used to be a dance for man only, but nowadays it can be danced by women too. It is danced in pairs, and the songs usually are accompanied by triangle, fife, zabumba (bass drum), and accordion.

The movements of the xaxado are presented in a queue, a clear sign of indigenous influence, and they are made without turning while advancing the right foot in three and four movements to the sides, and pulling the left foot in a fast and dragged tap dance.