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Brazilian Dance

Here is your place for all things Brazilian. You will find dance lessons, workshops, events, videos, photos and more. Please explore the links under the Brazilian World heading for all your options. You might also want to have a look at the Events page for the latest on what’s happening and check out the blogs for extra information like places to go, and some interesting Brazilian related articles.

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Tati and Suely


Samba is a very energetic dance that helps you tone your body and feel good about yourself. Originated from African and European roots, it is recognized around the world as a symbol of Brazil and the Brazilian Carnival. Considered one of the most popular Brazilian cultural expressions, the samba has become an icon of Brazilian national identity.

Types of Samba: 

Samba no pé: is a solo dance that is most often danced impromptu when samba music is played. This is the type of Samba one sees in the Brazilian Carnival parades and in other Samba carnivals over the world. This is also one of the most popular sambas.

Samba de Gafieira: is a partner dance considerably different than the International Ballroom Samba. It appeared in the 1940s and it gets its name from the Gafieira – popular urban nightclubs of Rio de Janeiro at that time.

Samba Pagode: is another Samba partner dance that resembles the Samba de Gafieira but has less acrobatic movements and tend to be more intimate. It became a dance style after the appearance of the Pagode and it started in the city of São Paulo.

Samba Axé: is a solo dance that started in 1992 during the Brazilian Carnival season in Bahia when the Axé rhythm replaced the Lambada. For years it became the major type of dance for the North east of Brazil during the holiday months. The dance is completely choreographed and the movements tend to mimic the lyrics. It’s a very energetic kind of dance that mixes elements of Samba no pé and aerobics and because of the lyrics, which are made for entertainment, the dance generally has some sort ludic element.

Samba Reggae: Also originated from Bahia, it’s a mix of reggae beats with Samba drums. Very popular in songs by Daniela mercury, who catapulted the rhythm to the world with songs like “Sol da Liberdade” “O Reggae E O Mar” and “Perola Negra”. Samba Reggae is the second most popular samba style in Bahia, with followers all over Brazil.

Samba-rock: is a playful form of the samba, and it originates in São Paulo. It is a Latin nightclub dance. Samba rock resembles a bit of samba de gafieira, forró, Zouk-Lambada and Salsa. It noticeably has quite a lot in common with the Cuban salsa.

Samba de roda: Performed by many capoeira groups; samba de roda is a traditional Afro-Brazilian dance that has been associated with capoeira for many years.

Forró on the other hand is a dance for two. It is a dance predominantly from the Northeast of Brazil, that developed from European classics styles of folk musics such as “Chula” and “Xotis” (term that originated the derivate “Xote”), as well as a word used to denote the different genres of music which accompanies the dance. Both are much in evidence during the annual Festa Junina (June Festival), a part of Brazilian traditional culture which celebrates some of the saints of the Catholic religion. The most celebrated day of the festival is known as the Saint John’s (São João) day.

The types of forro are:

Xote: a basic style, danced close together in a left-left-right-right movement, and has no spinning or variations;
Xote originally has its roots on the schottische dance.

Baião/pé-de-serra: basically a style of xote, but with the partners tilting to the sides and moving less their legs to follow the faster rhythm;

Arrasta-pé: can only be danced to its own style, much like a very fast xote, but alternatively marking the beats on the ground with both legs.

The benefits of Brazilian dances are both mental and physical. Dancing provides a good cardio-vascular workout and helps increase both flexibility and strength, focusing on the torso or “core muscles”, although it also builds leg strength.

Brazilian dances are suitable for all ages and body types, and can be as physical as the participant chooses. As with starting any new exercise routine, people with health concerns should consult their doctor before starting belly dance and talk with the belly dance instructor to find out the level of difficulty in the classes.

The dance can also give mental health benefits including an improved sense of well-being, better body image and self-esteem, and the generally positive outlook that comes with regular, enjoyable exercise.

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