Samba Your Way Through Brazil
Samba is an essential part of life in Brazil. Ever since slaves from Africa developed the dance in the 18th century, it has grown into a national pastime. But as Jaycee finds out, the dance form isn’t so easy for outsiders to pick up -- even professionals. Jaycee discovers that this samba looks nothing like the structured, Westernized version she learned on the ballroom floor. This dance is loose and free, steeped in African influence, and involves hip movements that she's never seen before.
Check out where Jaycee Gossett danced with the locals, rested her tired feet, and more in her travel guide for Brazil.
Check out our Dance the World slideshow.
Where to Dance With the Locals
Coliseu do Forró, Salvador, BrazilJaycee kicks off a night on the town at a popular forró dance club, Coliseu do Forro, where she gets a taste of what Brazilian dance club culture is all about. She dances with the locals and learns the latest social dance craze -- forró -- and spends the evening line dancing and spinning in the arms of strangers. Don’t like dance clubs? Don’t worry, head to a favela (town), where you’ll find the locals dancing in the streets.
Pestana Bahia Hotel, Salvador, BrazilPestana Bahia hotel, with its magnificent oceanfront location and 2 panoramic swimming pools, is the perfect place to unwind and give your feet a break after a night of dancing. Jaycee relaxes by the pool after days and nights filled with samba.
Hotel Villa Bahia Restaurant, Salvador, Brazil
During Jaycee’s first day wandering the historic old city of Salvador, she meets her sidekick Xavier Vatin in one of his favorite restaurants at the Hotel Villa Bahia, located in the heart of Salvador’s historic center, Pelourinho. They sit in the lush garden and discuss the origins of samba dance and its African influences that still exist in the Brazilian state of Bahia today.
Where to See the Heart and Soul of Brazil
Carnival, Salvador, Brazil
Jaycee dances with the most famous samba group in Carnaval, Olodum. As the sun sets, 3 million people funnel into Salvador from all over Brazil. Jaycee dances with nearly 100 dancers through the rhythmic, colorful streets of Salvador and atop a float surrounded by throngs of crowds, relishing the euphoric feeling of community found here. If you want to see the heart and soul of Brazilian culture, don’t miss Carnaval.