University of Wisconsin–Madison

Samba Class and Rio Dancing

On Wednesday, June 6th, the members of our group were anxious for the afternoon excursion, the Samba dance lesson. After hearing continually about the origin of Samba and its relation to Brazil’s culture and history, many were eager to learn what all the hype around this dance was for. Especially after some had previously ventured into the nightlife of Rio and witnessed the talent and excitement of Brazilian dancing. So, it seemed very fitting for us to experience Rio’s dancing culture through Samba. The studio we attended was appropriately called “Casa do Jimmy”, after our instructor, Jimmy, who was very knowledgeable and groovy on the Samba dance floor. He practiced a lot of patience with our group as we all tried our best to keep up and position not only our clumsy feet, but also our hips and body movements in correct directions. The experience was brand new for most students and while some were expressive in their dancing, others were more timid or concentrated. During the lesson, I believe each of us stumbled over our own feet as we attempted the “Tongue Twister”. The lesson was a fun way to experience the Samba culture that is so well-known to Brazil, and useful to those of us who have taken to the streets of nightlife in order to be a part of the local enthusiasm of dancing throughout the eccentric Lapa area. Possibly, from Jimmy’s help and a little more practice, our UW squad can attempt to join in some of the dancing fun that defines a lot of the culture of Rio.

By Jennifer Booth