Afro-Brazilian Dance

with Beatriz de Sousa Fernandes


Classes now:

Tuesday 8-9pm
Saturdays 5.30-7pm

at The Place
16 Flaxman Terrace, WC1.
2 min walk Euston station

All welcome!
...dances of the orixás,
samba, forró,
axé, coco,...

For more info about the classes - or with questions

email beatriz @ or call on

For further information about performances by Beatriz's dance company Grupo Candomba
visit and/or email beatriz @

Afro-Brazilian dance

Afro-Brazilian dance is unique and fun - expressive dynamic dance to hot, percussive Brazilian rhythms.

The classes explore the exhuberant street dances of today's great Brazilian festivals, such as Carnival and São João, as well as the still vibrant dances developed by slaves brought to Brazil from Africa from which they have sprung. The latter include dances enjoyed at parties, dances at celebrations in honour of the orixás (gods - often linked with the forces of nature), and dances relecting day-to-day life and work.

The classes start with a gentle warm-up improving flexibility and balance. This is followed by choreographed pieces structured so as to help you develop an Afro-Brazilian dance vocabulary.

Frevo performance,

We danced Frevo at the Carnaval del Pueblo on Sunday 7th August in south London. Click on the links to have a look at the pictures!

Further information about Afro-Brazilian dance      (esta informação em português)

Afro-Brazilian dance was first created by the slaves of Brazil's colonial era. The mixture of its [their?] steps, and of the rhythms brought by the africans, with indigenous and Europeans influences were essential to the vitality of Brazilian dance.

As a result there is a huge variety of dances spread throughout the country, differing from one state to another depending on the the original constitution of the local population. This explains why the samba, although known as a national dance, has such a diversity of steps varying from region to region.

The guiding theme of classes focuses on the dances of the Orixás - dance originating in the rituals for the Yoruba gods which has a strong presence in the North-East of Brazil, where the predominance of african slaves and their descendents was and still is greatest.

The movements and gestures of this dance form come from the mythology of the Orixás. As each divinity has their own characteristics, the dances vary, with strong and vibrant movements when related to warriors, or to thunder makers, to soft and swift movements when representing the current of a small stream, a variation which is also reflected in the rhythmic intensity.

Beyond the sacred sphere this dance is mixed with derived Afro-Bahian dances, such as ijexá and afoxé, as well with elements of popular contemporary dances, such as samba, coco, and xaxado.

In order to accommodate this rhythmical richness, Afro-Brazilian dance has as its main characteristics the rapid marking of the rhythm by the feet, and free and independent movements of arms, cheast, head and hips.

Whisked along by a contagious rhythm, this style of dance is a great opportunity for the classes' participants to relieve tensions through spending the necessary energy to make the movements.

Bearing in mind that in Brazil dance is something really spontaneous and which may happen at almost any time, during the class an enviroment of inclusion is intended to be built, where the opportunity to learn is given to all, without needing to fear making mistakes.

For this reason, even if one has never danced, the participant will readily feel already part of what's going on, since most of the times the collective rhythm is more important than any individual step. Moreover, one of the classes' objectives is to build confidence!

Technique, however, is not forgotten. Through the class the students will be trained to develop corporal expression, rhythmic perception and motor co-ordenation, acquiring or widening in this way better control of and extension of their movements, as well as the capacity of improvise.

Summary of a typical class:

Begining. Steps are introduced, little by little forming short sequences, with which posture and streching are worked on.

After the warm up, the focus is given to the motor-co-ordenation and to the rhythmical perception. Here is where the pace starts to get hot!

A rhythm is chosen and practised in detail. Often a short complete choreography will be the result.

Sometimes, the students are asked to execute their movements in lines, when they should practise the steps without losing the direction in which they should go.

At other times, the students are put in the middle of a circle, where they should dance following their rhytimical sensibility, as happens in the traditional samba circle, when the important thing is not to do a standard sequence, but letting oneself be guided by the rhythm. At the end, we do some more streching, relaxing the muscles that were contracted during the class, helping to let the body ready to do it again.

The classes provide a great opportunity for all those who are curious about Brazilian culture and want to widen their knowledge of it. Composed of a heterogeneous group, the class is for anyone who wishes to explore their talents in dance in relaxed and healthy way.

[flyer: orixá's side]

[Click on flyers
to enlarge]

[flyer: ballet side]


[Click on image
to enlarge]

Beatriz trained in dance at the Universidade Federal de Bahia and has performed at many of the most important theatres and events in Bahia in her native Brazil. She has been running Afro-Brazilian dance classes in London for the last four and a half years as well as performing with her own dance company, Grupo Candomba.

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