Brazil, located in Eastern South America and bordering Argentina, is an amazing area full of culture, customs, and values. The predominantly Portuguese speaking nation is mostly Roman Catholic with a federative republic government. The mixture of races and ethnicities are found in the rich diversity and festivals that occur within the borders. One area that is well known as far as cultural significance is that of the Samba.
Samba is a Brazilian dance and musical genre that has African origins. This type of music and dance are recognized the world over as associated with Brazil or the Brazilian Carnival. The Samba is a popular form of expression for those from the country and is part of the overall national identity. The music genre and the dance itself are highly varied and often complex in movement and beat. Also associated with the Amerindian tribes the dance is used by those who are young and old to tell stories, convey messages, and express themselves through dance. However, certain forms of the dance are formalized and perfected, such as those used for competitions and certain traditions.
Samba dancers are often dressed in colorful clothing that is highly ornate yet shows off a good deal of the body. Depending on the type of Samba being danced, the clothing may vary as much as the dance itself. Brazilian Samba is typically danced solo, yet ballroom Samba is danced as a couple. The Brazilian Samba costume is eye catching, sexy, and highly festive. The costume tends to expose the torso, legs, arms, and shoulders of the dancers. The most distinctive type costume is in a bikini style with a large ornate head piece that is pinned to the head and hair for stability. Other styles include a bikini bottom, long skirt, bra top, or wrap top with feather headpieces, gloves, leg and calf jewelry, and boas. Expect to see lots of rhinestones, fringe, sequins, beads, feathers and sparkle in each costume, regardless of design.
This type of dance is taught and passed down among families and groups as a form of expression. There are large, yearly Samba carnivals and celebrations in which people gather to tell stories and celebrate through fun and dance. If given the opportunity this is an active and interesting event to attend.
Photos: Celso Pupo, Stanislaw Tokarski, Val Thoermer / Shutterstock