The dance circle is formed by the colors of the flowery skirts of the coreiras, the female dancers. In the center, one of them bears the image of St. Benedict over the head. The creole drum sounds are mixed with the voices and belly-to-belly movements of the dancers as an invitation for the next dancer to join the circle.
The creole drum from the state of Maranhao has been deemed immaterial heritage of Brazil by the Institute for National Artistic and Historical Heritage (Iphan) since 2007. It is estimated that there are over 200 drums throughout the state. Of these, 130 were recorded by the project Safeguarding of the Creole Drum. The demonstrations occur throughout the year, at no particular date, but the biggest events portrayed are the carnival and St. John´s feast.
Its origin is dubious - some say it came from Africa as a legitimate cultural manifestation. Others, like Lucia Franco, a true native dancer, report it was played by slaves to broadcast to neighboring slave rural ghettos any outcoming taking to flight. Dance was a mere coverup.