Like the music and song of the South American country of Brazil, its dance is varied and complex; hailing from centuries of external influences coupled with the deeply entrenched cultures of the local Amerindian tribes. Because dance is used by cultures old and new to express themselves, tell tales and convey messages in very personal ways, there are no real rules.
However, certain dances have been formalised and perfected, and continue to be popular amongst local and international dancers alike.
These include:• The Samba
Female Samba Dancer.
The Samba hails from ancient African beats and customs. For some time, the upper class Brazilians viewed this form of dance as being lewd and obscene, forcing the lower classes (in terms of social status) to perform the dance in private. This created a sort of underground culture. When slavery was outlawed in the late 1880’s, the Samba became more acceptable. However, it was during the 1920’s that the Samba became very popular, and evolved in terms of its styles and its more widespread acceptability.
• The Capoeira
This dance is believed originally to have been a form of martial arts that was also accompanied by music. It too has its roots in the African cultures. This art form was particularly well choreographed, displaying much discipline and skill, and was never performed without musical accompaniment. The dance that has developed out of this art, therefore, has a number of movements that are similar to the strikes and kicks of a martial art.
• The Lundu
Although this dance form was most popular during the 1600’s and 1700’s, it remains a common, well-loved art. It is accompanied by the guitar, piano and drums and often includes castanets.
• The Forro
This is one of the more varied dances in terms of the different styles that fall under its one name. It is particularly popular in Northeastern Brazil, and is a synchronised set of movements that need to be danced with a partner. It is conducted to music that includes the use of the triangle and accordion in its composition and can prove to be rather complex in style and nature.
Despite the fact that these dances have evolved enormously over time and have their roots in the meeting of a number of very different cultures, they have now become an integral part of the fascinating culture that is so uniquely Brazil’s.