Grace Wanke

I have so many stories to share about Kamacho—some that shocked me more than others. I will never forget the day that he let me fall headfirst to the floor while we were doing a lift. I hit my head very hard on the floor. Thank god my mom was there and went straight to save me. He did not feel any remorse. The only words that came out of his mouth were: “she is fat, that’s why, she is fat.”

My partnership with Thiago Camacho [Kamacho] started when I was only 14 years old and lasted two long years and some months. I was enchanted by his beautiful words, his talent and his craziness which was fun at the beginning, but which later was transformed into disrespect, swearing, and strong derogatory remarks.

My mother, Graça Brito, was always present and accompanied me on my new journey in dance, she went with me to my classes with Kamacho.

He even went to my house to talk with my mother, asking her to authorize that I could be his dance partner. For one year I dropped out of school so that I could go with him on the trips that we did together all over Brazil, but for him even that did not count as me putting in an effort.

I remember that my mother whet to his house in Copacabana so that he could ask her if I could go with him to all the dance parties. Most of them are in Copacabana, so he said it would be easier to sleep in his house. But many times he left me alone and dawn and I had to get home by myself.

I went through so many terrorizing times with him. He would say to me “you were not born for dancing,” “you don’t have the right look for dance,” “I can barely lift you up, you need to lose 10 kilos.” Tears well up just remembering those things.

The time he dropped me on my head was our last practice for the “Ilha do Zouk” festival where we were going to show our new choreography, “The Joker and the Harlequin.” I had spent $1000 Reals ($450 dollars) on my costume, and my mom said that if I wanted to quit, that the money didn’t matter, that I could stop at that moment. But since I thought it was so important to go to that congress I went. When we got the cachê from our class, I asked for my part since I had so many expenses and he gave me 15 Reals ($6.70 USD) thinking that I should have been satisfied.

I was very exploited in the hands of that monster. Not only did he not pay me for my work but he also made me pay the bills in the hotels and in other places.

One time we were practicing at Alvaro Reis Academy and he held me in a lift and was hurting me a lot. He would not let go of me. When he finally let me down I was in tears and thank god there were other people at the academy to support me. He threw his shirt over his left shoulder and left, again leaving me alone at dawn.

There came a time in our partnership when I was so scared of going to practice with him that many times I asked my mom or Ingrid Lacerda to come with me because I was scared he would do something bad to me.

I did not receive that many physical aggressions from him, but everyone knows that one word can hurt more than a slap. He liked to show me videos of famous female salsa dancers and show me how much better they were than I was. I remember that there was a moment where Brenda Carvalho [another victim] and I were together in this nightmare. She got back from a trip and he wanted to go back to partnering with her, and simply get rid of me. It didn’t matter to him that I had left school so that I could dedicate myself to partnering with him.

But God was generous with Brenda and sent her an angel who is her partner, Anderson Mendes. Kamacho was not happy knowing that Anderson wanted to partner with the talented Brenda Carvalho. So Kamacho showed us that Anderson’s ex-partner was so perfect, trained in ballet, and that Brenda would be embarrassed next to him. Kamacho liked to play me against Brenda. He would tell me that she was perfect and he would tell her that she was perfect—typical of a jerk.

We all stayed quiet for a long time but now his mask has fallen and the whole world can see who is the real Kamacho. A person who is capable to go over everything and everyone to get what he wants.

I would like to thank my mother, for not letting me travel with him to Europe. God knows what would have happened, and my boyfriend, Phelipe Young, who is a wonderful person, who does everything possible to increase my self esteem. Many times he asked me to go to the Zouk parties since I was dying to go dance, but my body would tremble at the thought of finding Kamacho there.

Kamacho put an end to the happiness that I had in going to the parties and dancing. But now everyone will have the chance to know what happens behind the scenes. As my mother says, “There is no evil that lasts forever. God is just.”


Brenda Carvalho

I would like to thank all the support that I and victims of mistreatment of Thiago Camacho are getting from all sides after Luciana Lua’s story came out. My Facebook page is super busy!

Today my crying came again, with all the chills, jitters and shortness of breath that I developed from the panic disorder that Kamacho caused in me since 2011. But at the same time this time it brought me a sense of relief, knowing that the truth can be hidden , masked, and even discarded for a while but an at some point it appears.

Thanks for everyone’s support who wrote to me and especially to my beautiful partner who holds my hand in moments like this and my new Brazouka family that filled me with positive energy on this difficult day.

Brenda Post

Bárbara Meneses

And the truth came out.

Explicit here one of the main reasons for my withdrawal and disappointment with the world of dance.

The mixture of fear shame and shock made me keep quiet, but now that the nightmare of Brigitte, Grace, Lua, and Brenda Carvalho, among others, has surfaced, I can’t but expose myself well. This terrorism (which doesn’t come only from Kamacho and is much more common than you think) has to end.

The month that I experienced dancing with this man was one of the worst of my life: fights, screaming, crying, punching, kicking, hits and hearing “you were not born to dance.” And, indeed, it took a month of life dedicated to dance for me to realize that I was not born for this—I was not born for this world of absurd falsehood, hustlers, jealousy, rudeness and aggressiveness. I was angry with him mostly, but also with several other cases and people.

The dance has to be in favor of love, commitment and charm, not the way it has been taken. Now I only dance as a hobby, at least so I can keep the good times.

That lack of emotional control, aggression and arrogance should be banned in the world. Life should be lived with joy, spontaneity and deserved hope. Women should speak up more and defend themselves and encourage each other more.
Bárbara Meneses post

Brigitte Wittmer

For more respect for the women in the universe of Zouk, Samba de Gafieira and all the Brazilian Ballroom dances.

For all the Zoukers out there! Please read Luciana’s article that I shared!

The same thing happend to me. I didn’t get an injury like Luciana Lua but he did mistreat me physically and psychologically. I am proud of you Luciana that you could find the courage to write these words.

I had the same dream and was willing to give up everything for it. I put my life in somebody’s hands to get there. he didn’t respect me and my body. I ignored a lot of things and just went through it, keeping my mouth shut. Thinking/hoping that it would get better. But it didn’t!

At one point I got my courage together and was able to leave… I’ve learned my lesson big time! I am not regretting anything, because I met so many nice and inspiring people on my way and shared what I love most: my passion for dance!

I had to take time out but I am back on pursuing my dream – this time with teachers and people that respect me and most of all: I’m respecting myself.

A big thanks and much love to everyone who helped me get back on my feet.

For everyone out there, don’t let anyone treat you without respect. Speak up or walk away – Believe in you and go your own way!

Love, Brigitte.

Brigitte Post

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