Well I've spent an hour or so looking at this on YT - it's an interesting question. It seems mostly a vocal tradition. However there are videos of a) people dancing folkloric dances to it (for tourists) and b) other videos of people doing something that to me looks like contemporary dance.
Here's one of the latter :
An interesting comment on one of the videos I watched - one person wrote
Thanks for the link, CJ ! The man (nuno ?) has a very clear voice and a very confident appearence. I think it is very hard for a man to dance freely without coming across to be rediculous, or so. (Besides the question, if it is original fado style)
I found 2 links about the dance tradition of fado.
1)There was dance in fados, but it was deemed obscene by the Church and the Dictator, and, hence, eradicated.
2) (concerning the Film Fados by Carlos Saura): While fado was divorced from dancing by the moral dictates of the old regime, Saura takes some liberties reconnecting the two, commissioning some striking choreography that occasionally threatens to overshadow the music. One of the best dance numbers is “Fado Batido”.
Wonder what fado dancing originally may have looked like. A bit of oriental flavor, a bit of zouk, Tango, and Flamenco.....?? So I think there are a lot of paralles to TA: born in the barrios near the habour, first danced by the underprivileged, a syncretistic dance, banned later on as immoral !
Thanks, OD. I had no idea that Carlos Saura's film "Tango" was actually part of a trilogy! ("Tango", "Flamenco" and "Fados") I'll look around to see whether there are some more clips of the "Fados" film.
My suspicion gets confirmed. Just found the interview with Patrick de Bana, who choreographed the dancing sequences of Saura´s film Fados: http://www.todayszaman.com/tz-web/detaylar.do?load=detay&link=140640 . Think Patrick de Bana reinvented Fado dancing congenially. And, maybe, we will have social Fado dancing in the barrios of Lisbon the next years.
And here another choreo from the film: Lila Downs sings "Foi na travessa da palha" with dancing elements between TA and Flamenco:
bt/w Everyone who is interested in modern dance here should bookmark the name of Patrick de Bana (if he/she hasn´t done so, already). For me this land is new and there is indeed a lot to discover and to learn. Just got to know his name for some minutes and read, that he must have lived almost next door to me and worked with John Neumeier.
"Fado", I beleive, is difined by the music (soulful/mournful). Dancing to a "Fado" song is interpretive.
My daughter, once did a spanish dance/"Flamenco" performance that included the Sevillana/with tamborine, Caracole/with fan, a castanet dance, and a dance to a "Fado" song. The "Fado" routine had spanish dance elements, but was very balletic. I could totally understand where an A.T. dancer that loves the "fado" would incorporate A.T. elements into their dance.
I know my teacher would sometimes play a Fado tanda at milongas. The music is beautiful, and seemingly very conducive to AT (so long as you don't object to non-traditional AT music). It seemed to capture that same longing/mournful character of traditional music.
It was nice...except it's the kind of music I refer to as "wrist-slitting music." As in, after listening to it you just feel like slitting your wrists from the induced feeling of despair.
So, finally I wrote Patrick de Bana, the choreographer, and he answered, that Fado was danced 150 years ago for the last time. And, with the exept for 2 engravings and a picture, there are no further documents left. So he did an intuitional approach to feel, what the slaves from Angola and Mozambique used to dance in the brothels of Lisbon.
.. I wrote down what I felt, when I heard the music ..... as always in my work, I let my soul speak ...
I was born in Lisbon so I've grown up listening to fado quite frequently. I must say I don't really make a great connection between fado and dancing TA to it. But maybe because the music is too close to my heart that I feel I'm betraying it somehow.
What Lila Downs is singing can be a lot of things but it sure ain't fado. If you want to listen to top notch Fado grab a cd from mariza. If you want to get a feel of the power of fado - that is only felt when listened to live without mics - grab a copy "Concerto em Lisboa" from Mariza.
Ana Moura would be also interesting to check out. It's a more upbeat and newish sounding fado but still very true to its origins.
People in Lisbon dance AT dance to Fado. I have yet to see any interpretation that I like. I imagine dancing to Fado using a much more interpretative approach with a wider gamut than the AT framework allows.
Also, it's "bairros" in portuguese, not "barrios". Not all Fado music will make you slit your wrists. If you try and learn the music you will find that a lot of them are happy and funny songs.
There are two main lineages of fado, the lisbon one and the coimbra one. In the coimbra, women can't sing and the themes are bit more academic. It's still very traditional and academic to these days. Lisbon is more about our own fado - our destiny - and closer to the heart matters. Happy Fados are few and far between...
Sorry bafonso, the video above was not posted for the music, but for the dance choreo ! I have already discovered Mariza and I love her music. It is contemporary and traditional fado at the same time. Wonderful.