One hot day in December, I got an invitation from a new friend of mine to go and try for free a Forro’ dance class. I admit that was the first time I heard of this kind of dance.
So the first mandatory step was going and check what the heck was that I was about to try.
And Wikipedia enlightened me like this:
“Forró is a genre of Brazilian music that originated in Northe eastern Brazil. It encompasses various dance styles as well as a number of different musical beats. This music genre has gained widespread popularity in all regions of Brazil. Forró is the most popular genre of music and dance in Brazil’s Northeast, to the extent that historically “going to the Forró” meant simply going to party or going out. Regarding the music, it is based on a combination of three instruments (accordion, zabumba and a metal triangle).
There are three rhythms of forró: xote (a slower-paced rhythm), baião (the original forró) and arrasta-pé (the fastest of the three), and amongst these, many styles of dancing, which varies from region to region, and may be known by different names according to the location. Forró is danced in pairs, usually very close together, with the man’s left hand holding the woman’s right hand as in the Waltz, his right arm around her back and her left arm around his neck; Other styles may require to stay partially away, or in a considerable distance, only holding their hands up the shoulders. Influences from salsa and other Caribbean dances has given mobility to forró, with the woman – and occasionally the man – being spun in various ways, although it’s not essential to spin at all, and more complex movements may prove impossible to be executed in the usually crowded dancing area of forrós.”
I was very intrigued. I have tried salsa and bachata many times in the past, for shorter or longer period of times and I have always enjoyed it. This was something completely new to me and even better… absolutely free!! That was an added bonus of course! The class is held every Tuesday from 6.30 to 8.30 pm at the Redfern Community Centre, less than 5 minutes walking distance from the station.I managed to get lost even with google maps on my phone (don’t ask..), but thankfully I arrived there only 10 min after the beginning and Eleonora was waiting for me at the door.
The class is completely free and it is divided into one first hour of teaching, where you can learn the actual steps and a second hour of practise, of social dancing. All the levels are welcomed.As it often happens, there were more girls than guys, especially in the beginners’ group. But that is kind of fun anyway (i.e., I played the role of the man at times haha ).The steps reminded me straight away of salsa, but the music is very different. Farro’ music seemed to me more melodic and sensual in a way, with the distinctive melancholic (to me of course ) sound of the accordion. Some songs were faster than others, but the general feeling I had was of a nostalgic, relaxed, playful and less-lively-than- salsa kind of music.
It was fun, especially the second part of the evening. That is the time when you wait until someone invites you and you get the chance to dance with different partners and try out what you have just learned before. I was invited at some point by an old-ish man (I think he was at least 65-70 ) that was moving me like a puppet!! Proving that dancing does not have an age or size..he was so flexible and quick, much better than other younger guys in the room hahaha.
All in all, I did enjoy the experience a lot, I tried something new that was surprisingly nice and fun, I even burnt some of the pasta I had for lunch while moving and sweating, met some nice people(and realized others were probably there with the sole purpose of hooking up, but hey that’s normal) and ultimately proud of myself for simply going and trying.
Update: It is the 17/12 today and I can say I’ve been two more times to Forro’. I think I’m hooked! People are very nice, it is fun, you move and burn a bit which is always good and after the lesson I always feel good.
One of the guys I met said at some point, while we were dancing :” It is like being drunk without having been drinking at all”. I thought it was one of the best description ever! In a simple way, it explains that feeling of euphoria, happiness and general well being that dancing Forro’ gives you. GO FORRO’! 🙂