Making people happy and smile is what is most important to Lisa Ferreira, founder and director of “Pure Samba” a dance and entertainment company based out of the “Fort Greene” section of Brooklyn. Originally from Long Island, Lisa currently resides in and is a proud resident of “Fort Greene” Brooklyn. She considers herself the mayor of “Fort Greene”, as she is one of the last remaining cool “Fort Greene” residents from an era of Black Excellence, Black Renaissance, and Black culture of “Fort Greene”, Brooklyn.
The first time Lisa witnessed a Samba performance, she was enthralled and captivated as to how beautiful, strong, and confident the women were performing. Her love for Brasil, its people, food, music, dance, culture, energy along with her “West Indian” Heritage, are all factors that lead up to her decision in becoming a Samba performer. Lisa’s father’s people are from Trinidad and as a child she and her siblings would hear their great aunt and uncle profess their love for Carnival when they would come back from their trips to Trinidad. Lisa was fascinated by the costumes worn and the joy expressed by the people participating in Carnival, in the pictures her great aunt and uncle would share with her and her siblings. According to Lisa “It is a beautiful coincidence that as an adult I came to fall in love with Carnival from Brasil. It is in my roots, my blood, my heritage as well. My great aunt and uncle have since passed, but I know they are proud to see me living the Carnival tradition by way of the colorful stories they shared with me as a child”.
According to Ferreira, there are a few pop influences that have an impact on the way she dances, along with the beautiful dancers she has the pleasure to work with as well. However, the most significant are the Passistas, the superstars of Samba dance of Brasil, it’s their joy and innovation that inspire Lisa’s dance technique. According to Lisa, her main motivation behind the establishing of her company is her beautiful mother. Her mother would encourage her to be the best that she can be and find bliss in doing her own thing. Unfortunately both her beloved mother and father passed away in 2014. “Pure Samba” is her tribute to her mother who is her eternal revelation for everything she does in life. “I continue hearing her say ‘Go ahead do it, do it with all your might'”, Lisa says. No matter how tired and exhausted she is, her mother’s influence keeps her going, as she puts her heart and soul into every performance. According to Ferreira, she guesses she is always looking for her mother’s validation which keeps her striving to be the best.
Being a performing artist and the owner of a dance company in New York City, the winter poses an issue with keeping her body warm prior to shows, which is one of the challenges Lisa deals with. Other than that, there are very little challenges due to her love for dance. Listening to the music makes her smile and wearing one of her beautiful costumes is like a fantasy. Samba makes her happy, it’s magical she explains. If Lisa’s having a bad day, the moment she starts to dance, it all melts away, without a care in the world.
Aside from the demanding world of dance and the countless hours that are spent by being a business owner, there is actually some downtime. Being a SAG/AFTRA actress, she likes to spend time watching episodic television, dance alone at home enjoying the relationship between dance and music and spending time with friends over brunch.
When asked what advice she would give to up and coming dancers that want to make a career out of dance, her recommendation is to love what you do and be the best that you can be at the moment, along with not judging yourself if you are injured or having a bad day. With that being said, Lisa has always had a vision to continue to empower the dancers of “Pure Samba”, by creating high profile opportunities for each of the performers, such as the co-creation of a commercial for Hershey’s Kisses “Say it with a Kiss” campaign and an appearance on on the “Nightly Show”, with Larry Whilmore about Cuba. Lisa also co-stared in a comedy pilot for A&E as a Samba Dancer and she also choreographed a routine for a very well known men’s fashion designer, for New York Fashion Week Mens.
It’s a very full plate that Lisa has on her table and what’s amazing is that she still has time for a social life. She will continue to create high profile opportunities for the members of her dance company and herself as well. She is looking forward to continued success in her performing and one day also to be married.