Emma Symes, the Director of Pomba Girls is a passionate female performer running and hosting fabulous female- driven immersive experiences and events centred around dance and dress-up. We interviewed Emma on her journey to the Pomba Girls, her passion for music and love for dance.
EMMA SYMES INTERVIEW
Tell us about The Pomba Girl! Who are you and how did you come about?
The “Pomba Girl” is the epiphany of a “Party Girl” – she uses the act of “Partying” to release her inhibitions and empower herself as a female. She originates from the “Pomba Gira” a transgressive female spirit belonging to festive rituals of Brazilian Umbanda whom I encountered in Rio. Once I returned to London I undertook a performance research project exploring her spirit with a collective of performers resulting in a club night called “The Pomba Girl Party” and voila- the Pomba Girls were initiated!
Describe The Pomba Girls in 3 words?
Sexy. Unruly. Enchanting
What’s the best party you’ve ever been to?
Sorry- way too many good ones to pick just one! I am a firm believer that the best parties happen like a ritual – they Unite a mix of people and give them the opportunity to Transform and Unleash their Party Spirit!
Who and what has inspired you over the years?
Rio de Janeiro has been a major source of inspiration for me – specifically it’s Carnival, Street Culture, and Festive Rituals. The man who taught me out how to channel these forces into my performance practice is called Amir Haddad – founder of Brazilian street theatre company Tá Na Rua. I must also mention that I have encountered many incredible women along my journey who have been willing to support me and their influence has shaped me enormously.
What is your earliest memory of music and dance?
Backstage at Royal Ballet Company – my mum worked as a costumier there so I got to sit in on rehearsals – it enchanted me.
What’s your favourite hangout in London/Worldwide?
I love London because it offers so many incredible hangout spots depending on what mood you’re in. Last night I was in the mood for a bit of live jazz in a dark room – so I hung out at St Giles’ Crypt (Camberwell) and got just what I wanted.
What’s in store for the next year?
Getting “down to business” with the Pomba Girls- so embracing my role as a (sassy) “Business Women” which will involve hardening my act up whilst remaining true to my role as an artist.
(Also hatching plans for an epic Pomba Girl Party in honour of International Woman’s Day – so put 8th March in the diary.)
What’s your favourite thing to do on a Sunday?
Eat croissant – drink coffee – read paper (total cliché)
What do you do to get away from everything?
I pack my bags and get away (alone!)
Tell us something that inspired you this year.!
The City – I am on a business agenda right now and one thing that has really got my heart pumping is the phenomenal pace people move at during rush hour in the city. PURE ADRENALINE KICK!
What was the last thing that really made you stop and stare?
Haha! I have just got an office space in Catford and perhaps I have been unfortunate but ever since moving in I have had some bizarre encounters with people making public displays of themselves (let’s not go into details!) I think my capacity to stare back is not helping this problem- maybe they are now targeting me! Next time it happens will turn a bind eye.