Dances of Brazil: Samba, Carimbo, Capoeira and Forro

free essayBrazil is a South American country famous for its passionate and riveting dances. They are an integral reflection of Brazilian culture aimed at expressing individuality. Most of the performances are accompanied by loud, thrilling, fast-paced music. Both professionals and amateurs have refined Brazilian dances and popularized them among others. Samba, capoeira, carimbo, and forro are considered the most famous dances of Brazilian culture. However, the most renowned among them is samba.

Samba is not only a popular Brazilian dance but also a musical genre, the origin of which is still disputed nowadays. However, the truth is that samba originated from the religious ceremonies of the African slaves who brought it to Brazil. As a musical genre, it involves rhythmic percussion with pandeiro and tamborim that create a distinct sound and vibe. As a dance, samba symbolized social and racial harmony. Its cradle is the northeastern state of Bahia. It is also a place of rich Afro-Brazilian traditions. However, after the abolishment of slavery in Brazil in 1888 the Bahia slaves moved to the current capital of samba Rio. The word “samba” means the invitation to a dance and, of course, intimacy inherent in Afro-Brazilians. On the contrary, the infinitive form of the notion symbolizes a process of praying to gods. Therefore, the dance was as a means of celebrations and religious worship (Romero).

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Samba is a complicated dance full of repetitive movements. Such dance patterns occur in synchrony with music, creating a significant part of the choreography. The basis of the dance lies in the representation of the gestures at a period of two times in comparison to the duration of the beat. It means that a dancer makes two movements in one beat. Despite such characteristics, samba is still performed in triple time. A dancer should make three steps in two beats. However, that concerns leg motions. Unlike them, hands do much more noticeable movements. Despite the fact that they are only a small part of the body, their moves are more vivid and make more than a half of the dance (Naveda and Marc 80).

It is worth mentioning that samba consists of several chief movements. The fundamentals are the forward and the back basic movements. Undoubtedly, a dancer may combine them making some slight changes in the foot or body positions. That makes the dance. Each of the movements is a sequence of six steps. Furthermore, the partners should be attentive because if a woman moves her right foot back, a man is supposed to move his left foot forward. Consequently, a woman makes a back basic movement while a man makes a forward step (Naveda 35).

In addition to these steps, the positions of hips, pelvis, and arms are also significant. Hip and pelvic movements are usually uninhibited but to make them correctly one must follow the rule that feet should follow the frame. Regarding arms and hands, a dancer should keep in mind that the use of these parts of the body is a matter of creativity. One should feel the music and try to dance in harmony with the rhythm (Shirley).

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Samba can be divided into two core directions: rural and urban (or Samba de Roda). Rural samba was a means of expression for lower class people, giving them inner strength and belief in themselves. By dancing, they showed their resistance to the community. In fact, rural samba accompanied by claps and sounds from knives and plates became a prerequisite for the development of Samba de Roda. This kind of samba evolved in the State of Bahia in the 17th century (“Samba De Roda of the Rec?ncavo of Bahia”). Along with other rural dances, this helped African slaves show their cultural traditions. Furthermore, their performance involved elements of Portuguese culture including some phrases and musical instruments. Samba de Roda, after being brought to Rio de Janeiro, turned into a cultural symbol of Brazilian national identity. People perform this dance on different occasions that vary from popular Catholic festivities to Afro-Brazilian religious ceremonies. Some spontaneous events were also conducted with samba. As a rule, women take part in the dance inviting others in the circle by singing and clapping their hands. The most typical movement is the belly push characterized by such steps as miudinho. The importance of samba lies in its preservation and spreading of the values of social and ethnic groups in Brazil. Samba represents the nation’s attempt to save the Afro-Brazilian culture demonstrating the belonging to the social-cultural universe (“Samba De Roda of the Rec?ncavo of Bahia”).

To conclude, Brazilian culture is characterized by various national dances and music, particularly samba. Initially, it was a dance performed for religious purposes to pray to the gods of the African slaves. Later they brought it to the State of Bahia and used to express both their feeling and identity. The Brazilian nation quickly picked it up, implementing it into their traditions. Nowadays, samba is extremely popular among Brazilians and the main purpose of this dance is showing how one really feels. In other words, by making movements in the rhythm of the music a person can describe their inner self. Samba is described as a triple time dance where major movements are the forward and back steps. Nevertheless, hands and hips motions are also of high value. Moreover, there are different variations of samba that include rural and urban samba, and each of them made a considerable contribution to the development of the Brazilian culture.