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Brazilian Dance Forms

2018-02-23 / By Admin / Politics, Social, Arts, Music, Dance, Movies, Theatre, Sports, Society
Brazilian Dance Forms


Dance is a performing form of body movement and non-verbal communication for expressing human experiences. Brazil is a land of many popular dances that contain the elements of African, Portuguese and European dance forms.  Samba, Carimbó, Capoeira, Forró, Coco, Cacuria, Jongo, Lundu and other dances are some of the famous dances of Brazil.

Samba is what immediately comes to mind at the very mention of Brazilian dance and music. It is a Brazilian musical genre and dance form, with its roots in Africa via the West African slave trade and African religious traditions. Although there were various forms of samba in Brazil with popular rhythms originated from drumming, samba as a music genre is seen as a musical expression of urban Brazil. Samba is recognized around the world as a symbol of Brazil and the Brazilian Carnival. Considered one of the most popular Brazilian cultural expressions, samba has become an icon of Brazilian national identity.

Carimbó is the name of both the dance and the large drums that accompany it. The carimbó drum is approximately 1m tall and 30cm wide and made of a hollow trunk of wood, thinned by fire, and covered with a deerskin. Carimbó is a folk dance of the Para state in Brazil, in which African, Portuguese and European influence can be noticed. Carimbó was a loose and very sensual dance which involved only side to side movements and many spins and hip movement by the female dancer, who typically wore a rounded skirt. In this dance, a woman would throw her handkerchief on the floor and her male partner would attempt to retrieve it using solely his mouth.

Capoeira is another important Afro-Brazilian dance, and believed to have evolved from martial arts that combines elements of dance, acrobatics and  music. Some historians are of the opinion that it directly evolved from the African fighting style while it is a Brazilian dance have both Brazilian and African influences. Capoeira's history begins with the beginning of African slavery in Brazil. Since the 16th century, Portuguese colonists began exporting slaves to their colonies, coming mainly from Angola.

* Forró derived from the word forrobodo, means ‘great party’. It is a genre of Brazilian music that originated in Northeastern Brazil. It encompasses various dance styles as well as a number of different musical beats. Forró is closely associated with Brazilian June Festivals, which celebrate a number of Christian saints. The most celebrated is Saint John's day. The instruments used in this dance are accordion, zabumba and a metal triangle. A lot of variation can be observed in the dancing style of forro in different regions of Brazil.

Coco folk dance wheel northern and northeastern Brazil, originating Alagoas, accompanied by singing and percussion. The characteristic sound of coco arises from four instruments commonly used in its performance: the ganzásurdopandeiroand triangleCoco is often performed with a repetitive musical beat and call and response singing reminiscent of Capoeira music. The music is commonly performed at traditional parties in the Northeast, such as weekend street parties and Carnival. 

Cacuria in brazil it’s never too late or too early to prepare for festivities, especially when they’ve got many layers to them. It also depends on which state you find yourself in because some celebrations pertain to certain states. One of those “festas”, found in Maranhão, is called the Festa do Espírito Santo. When the festa in question has ended, those who still want to party on start to dance something called the Cacuriá. It’s a fun partner dance done in a circle that is accompanied by various instruments.

* Jongo is an essentially rural cultural manifestation directly associated with the African culture in Brazil.  It originated from the dances performed by slaves who worked at coffee plantations in the Paraíba Valley, between Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo. Jongos usually take place during a nightlong party in which several people dance in pairs or in a circle, to the sound of two or more drums.  The drums, built from hollow tree trunks covered with animal hide in one of the extremities and tuned by the heat of a bonfire, are called caxambu or tambu. These days, both men and women can participate in the Jongo, but this participation in its original form was very restricted to the initiated or the more experienced members. This factor relates itself to the ethical and social norms commonly found in other traditional societies, such as the Amerindians.

* Lundu also spelled landu or landum is a style of Afro-Brazilian music and dance with its origins in the African Bantu and Portuguese people .The lundu style grew in popularity among the elite population in Brazil. In 1749, Brazilian musician Manuel de Almeida Botelho immigrated to Lisbon, bringing with him the modinha and lundu musical stylesBy the 19th century, lundu had become the music of choice for the Luso-Brazilian bourgeoisie. Limited recordings are available of traditional lundus style.  Usually a flirtatious ritual of a couple dance, accompanied by a guitar, or sometimes a thumb piano or drums.

Baião is a rhythm from the state of Bahia in Northeastern Brasil. The baião is a rhythm that although is not very well known outside Brazil, has enormous influence over much of modern Brazilian music. In the Northeast region of Brazil this form was played by local bands that performed in salons and in private parties and at different celebrations. The original instrumentation of these was one or two lead pífanos, -small hand-carved bamboo flutesa zabumba -a large bass drum-, and other minor percussion instruments. In the 1930s and 1940s, tunes like “O Baião” by Luiz Gonzaga made these chords a standard in baião music.

Xote is a Brazilian music genre and dance for pairs or groups of four. Xote is a common type of forró dancing  The word xote is a corruption of the German word schotisch meaning Scottish; the schottische is related to the Scottish polka. The schottische was brought to Brazil by José Maria Toussaint in 1851 and it was a dance popular among the upper classes during the reign of Emperor Pedro II .later, African slaves danced their own adaptations of the dance, adding their own influences, converting it into a dance that was more popular and well known. This period was when the style came to be known as xote or xótis. The xote is a very versatile dance and has a number of local versions, such as the southern version called xote gaúcho.

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