Brazilian dances


Forro This is the most popular genre in the North-East of Brazil. Traditional forro is played with only three instruments (accordion, zabumba - a small drum, metal triangle) and now is famous as forro pe-de-serra. This traditional forro was created by Luiz Gonzaga who transformed baiao into a more refined rhythm (the word baiao originates from baiano and means artists warm-up for inspiration before the play). Later forro became popular around other parts of Brazil in the form of a slower genre known as xote.

One theory interprets forro as for all (English); there is another theory of a Brazilian folklorist Camara Cascudo which points out the origin of forro from the word forrobodo that means a huge party or hubbub, excitement. This way or another, forro is usually about love, passion, jealousy or love memories.

There are three rhythms of forro: xote (the slow rhythm), baiao (the original forro) and arrasta-pe (the quickest from the three), and apart from that many dance styles that change depending on the region and can be known under different names in different places. The dance is performed in pairs, usually very close to each other. With his left hand the man holds the right hand of the woman as in the waltz and his right hand on her back. The left hand of the woman lies around the neck of the man. In this style the right leg of a man is positioned between the womans legs following an African tradition of closed hips. Other styles are danced a little more apart or at the decent distance just holding hands. The influence of salsa and other Caribbean dances gave forro dynamics by adding different turns and rotations of the partners although it is not always possible on the crowded forro dance floor.

Xote is the basic style which is danced in the closed support, the movements go left-left-right-right, there are no turns or variations.

Baio/p-de-serra has xote style in the basis but the partners swing from side to side and move less with their legs to follow the quicker music.

Arrasta-p could be danced only in its own manner mostly resembling very fast xote but the accent is made by both legs in turn.