Samba, what is it good Forro?

One of the things Brazilians seem to be known for is dancing. As a culture they are known to be sensual, full of grace and rhythm.  I’m mostly full of tone deafness, a fear of metronomes, and two left feet.  I do have a penchant for wanting to learn new things and not caring how I look doing so.  I can always hope that the culture here rubs off on me.

The three necessary instruments of Forro: a drum, accordion, and metal triangle. All of these can be rather annoying on their own in the wrong hands.

I have heard samba music and known it is performed during Carnival.  I know there is also a form of samba that is done in the capoeira roda, as none of us knew how to do this when it came up earlier this year. I’ve taken a few lessons with a woman who also happens to teach capoeira.  So far, I’ve learned that I cannot move my feet nearly fast enough to do this.  Samba involves moving your feet three times to every beat or two.  There are also many forms of samba and my teacher has decided I should try these other forms as well, as it is more fitting for women to dance these more sensual forms.  Has she seen me dance yet?!  So now I have learned some afro-axé and reggae (pronounced heg-gay here).  These look like hip hop dancing to me.  That is not necessarily something I would’ve signed up to learn but it has been fun to learn all these different steps.  Now if I could only get my feet to move faster.

The other dance, forro, is much slower.  I had never even heard of forro before arriving in this particular state.  It is a popular regional couples dance that is a basic two steps to one direction and two steps to the other side.  I feel a little bit like I’m dancing a half baked electric slide to an accordion and triangle when you are in a group class and everyone does it together in rows.  After learning the basic step there is also a salsa-like step that involves moving forward and backward and an opening up that seems to lead to fancier moves.  It is certainly easier to learn and do, and more relaxed than samba.  I’m glad I tried both so I know that Brazilian dancing does not just involve moving your feet like lightning for hours.  They are both fun in their own ways.

A standard night out in Jericoacoara involves a late-ish dinner at around 8 or 9.  Then nothing seems to occur for hours until about midnight when people start congregating around the barracas, two rows of drink carts forming a path to the beach.  There, individuals mix fresh fruits and your choice of alcohols, which mostly consist of cachaca and vodka into caiparinhas and caiparoskas respectively.  Then around two or three the dancing establishments, one of them a restaurant during the day, finally start filling up.  People dance til sunrise and then go to one of the bakeries open at this late hour.  There are a few open 24 hours, but more confusingly there is one bakery only open 3-8 am.  I guess this crowd is enough of a customer base for them.  The nights are longer than I’d prefer but I can’t complain too much about ending my nights with rolls filled with melted chocolate and cheese.

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