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See You In Rio Next Year When You Do The Samba

Feb 26, 2008
Every year before Lent, thousands of tourists from all over the world flock to Rio de Janeiro and samba all night amid the feverish tinkling of the ago-go bells and chocalho (shakers). The frantic energy of the dancers, loud laughter, swirl of vibrant colors, and fantastic masks and costumes crown the Rio Carnavala, the mother of carnivals. If you cannot make it to Rio this time, prepare to samba next year and fill your hip flasks with Brazilian rum.

Preparing For Rio

Going to Rio should not be a snap decision. You should prepare as early as November or December. Hotels in the better districts of Rio are all taken before the spring thaw, and by the time you're itching to say goodbye to the cold and damp, you won't have a decent place to stay in Rio.

So if you're going with friends, make hotel reservations three months before the February fever. Better rent an apartment for a 5-day stay. It's cheaper and convenient because you'll have more leg room. You'll need the space after each pre-Lenten profligacy.

Get ready for the lavish and casual balls. There is one for everybody. If you want a freer atmosphere, the Copacabana Beach Gala for singles at the Scala Club is for you and your group. But if you want to hobnob with soccer and movie stars, the rich and the famous, the Copacabana Palace awaits you. You have to bring your best ball gown and tell the guys to bring along their black ties to the event.

Prepare to samba. Samba is the lively and rhythmic carnival dance; it is the heart and soul of the event. The throng on the streets, quick on their feet, rocks and gyrates to the pulsing drums that have a life of their own. It is a pity if you cannot do the samba.

When the carnival starts on a Sunday, the fun spills over to the next three days of booty shaking and gyrating. So gird up for Rio. Get ready for the parade, street carnival, street parties, the dancing, and the music. Don't forget to fill your hip flask with heady champagne to set the stage for the party marathons.

Learn to Samba

The samba tells a story in dance depicted in different dance techniques. It originated from the dance of the slaves and soon became the dance of Brazil, retaining much of the distant cultural flavor of the past. The dance steps were taught by the older generation to the next and soon became the universal dance of the carnival.

The yearly samba competition is contested by different samba schools. Some of the schools date back to 50 years ago and continue to teach the traditional samba. Each group has their school colors, extraordinary costumes, great dancers, and fantastic floats.

You can learn to samba. Look up the nearest samba school in your locality through the Internet. These are usually run by samba enthusiasts. Like the Rio schools, the local dance schools have their colors. Designers come up with colorful costumes and headdresses of every design conceivable.

If you prefer to learn the dance in the privacy of your home, buy or rent a samba CD. The CDs feature the four basic steps and their variations. The samba walk, rocking steps, bounces, and gyrations are the motions you have to master in time to the rhythm. This shouldn't faze you. Practice makes perfect, and by next year, you'll be dancing like the samba queens.

You'll have mastered the Samba No Pe (no partner) with its slight feet movement, Samba de Gafieira (impromptu), Samba Pagode which is strenuous, Samba Axe which combines aerobics, the Samba No Pe, Samba Rock similar to Salsa, and Samba de Roda accompanied with clapping and singing. So see you in Rio next year when you dance the passionate Samba!
About the Author
Thinking of fun party gifts for friends? Go for a hip flask and Colibri lighters, maybe even personalized Zippo lighters. The fun never stops at ExecutiveGiftShoppe.com.
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