The Balé Folclórico da Bahia (BFB) was founded in 1988 by Walson (Vavá) Botelho and Ninho Reis and is considered by critics and audiences alike to be one of the premier folk dance companies in the world. It is the recipient of many prestigeous awards in the field of dance and tours extensively around the globe. Balé Folclórico da Bahia is the cultural ambassador of Bahia.

The natural and technical ability of its performers is rooted in the culture and daily life of the people of Bahia and is reflected in the choreography, music, and narrative of the performances. This authentic connection to the way of life in Bahia is expressed and shared by Balé Folclórico da Bahia wherever it performs in the world.

The Balé Folclórico da Bahia Foundation (FBFB) was created in 2003 as a private non-profit institution to train students and teachers in the discipline of Dance and also to provide community outreach in marginalized communities. Its program offers a diverse curriculum of dance techniques and ensemble performing experience in African-Brazilian Dance, Classical Ballet, Modern Dance, Capoeira, Music and Theater. Under the artistic direction of José Carlos Santos (Zebrinha), the Balé Folclórico da Bahia Foundation prepares its students for the rigors and challenges of a career in dance. Many of its alumni have forged successful careers throughout the globe as performers, choreographers, artistic directors, and dance educators.

In 1996, the Balé Folclórico da Bahia Foundation received the ‘Prêmio Mambembão’ from the Brazilian Minister of Culture for offering the best technical training for dance in Brazil.

The Balé Folclórico da Bahia goal is to preserve and share, in its purest form, the traditions of Bahia, using the artistic language of dance, and introducing it to contemporary audiences without losing its connection to the roots of the Bahian culture.

Based in Salvador da Bahia, Balé Folclórico da Bahia made its debut in 1988 at the Joinville Dance Festival with “Bahia de Todas as Cores”, in front of 20,000 people cheering wildly. This success led to performances at other dance festivals throughout the country, and eventually to the international circuit.

In 1992, Balé Folclórico da Bahia made its international debut at the renowned Alexander Platz Festival in Berlin before an audience of over 50,000 people and received a 15 minute standing ovation.

In 1994 Balé Folclórico da Bahia was invited to participate in the Lyon Dance Biennial, in France, considered the most important event of its genre in the world. The theme that year was MAMA AFRICA, gathering the most important dance companies around the globe, to celebrate the theme of black culture in the diaspora. The immense success of the presentation was chronicled in the New York Times in an unheralded full-page critique by dance critic Anna Kisselgoff, who wrote that “among the various companies from around the world performing at the festival, Balé Folclórico da Bahia stood out and best embodied the theme of the event, and should absolutely be seen worldwide”.

The notable success at the Lyon Dance Biennial in 1994 opened the door to invitations from around the world and paved the way for the company’s frequent international tours, with an invitation to return to the Biennial in 1996.

Balé Folclórico da Bahia is now one of the most venerated and active dance companies in the world. It tours extensively in North, South, and Central America, Europe, Oceania and Africa, performing on the most prestigious stages in the United States, France, Switzerland, Canada, Germany, Portugal, Finland, Sweden, Denmark, Australia, New Zealand, and other venues.

Balé Folclórico has a tour schedule that is scheduled well in advance. It also has daily performances at the Miguel Santana Theater, headquarters of the Balé Folclórico da Bahia Foundation in Pelourinho, the historic center of Salvador. This meets the demand for the Bahian audience, and tourists visiting the city with a desire to understand the alluring culture of Bahia.