Maculelê, a mock stick fighting dance, is danced within a roda (circle) of people. The atabaque drum is played and Maculelê songs are sung. People in the roda each have a pair or wooden sticks traditionally made from biriba wood from Brazil. The sticks, called grimas, are used to hit to the beat of the drum. The two people in the roda play and dance to the rhythm. They hit their sticks together for three beats and on every fourth beat, they hit each other’s sticks held by the right hand. The dance is a part of the tradition of Capoeira.
During performances, performers traditionally wear grass skirts and some dancers play with machetes instead of wooden sticks. This dance was developed by enslaved Afro-Brazilians cutting down sugar cane in the field.