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Brazilian Dance Styles

Kulbhushaan Raghuvanshi
Do you know that there are many Brazilian dance styles which are taught by almost every dance school in the world. Any idea how many types of Brazilian dance styles are there in the world. Let's find out.
Brazil has been a country of rich culture and heritage, and has made some outstanding contributions to our world. Their contributions to the world of music and especially dance are incomparable.
Talking more about Brazilian dance forms, most people are familiar with Samba, which is probably the most famous Brazilian dance style. For those who aren't familiar with other dance styles of Brazil, this article could be an eye-opener.

Popular Brazilian Dance Styles


Samba deserves a second mention because of its popularity and the place it holds in the hearts of millions of Brazilians. A must in almost every Brazilian cultural or dance festival, Samba was originally created by the African slaves. The word Samba actually means "Naval Bump".
Modern Samba styles of today are influenced both by geography and music. Ancient African slaves used to celebrate their secret religious ceremonies by doing some basic rhythmical expressions and Samba was formed from one of these expressions.
Samba dance steps are renowned all over the world for their versatility and vitality. Modern Samba is a mix of involved fusions such as Samba-Reggae and Samba-Funk.


Xaxado is a popular dance form which originated in Brazil's Northeast badlands. Xaxado was a form of protest dance in which peasants performed dance steps by hitting their sandals to the earth. The tradition of this magnificent dance form is inspired from the times and exploits of outlaws who ruled the badlands and defended the peasants from the rich and powerful.


Frevo is one of the most famous styles of Brazilian dance. It is also the main dance performed in the street carnival of Olinda in the northeastern part of Brazil. The dance basically focuses on rhythm and involves dance steps which have fast paced walking.
The dancers in Frevo wear colorful clothing and carry a small umbrella and the song on which they perform doesn't have any vocals but focuses solely on the sound of various instruments.


Maculele is a dance that came into existence in the sugarcane platforms of Brazil during the colonial period. Originally, it was performed by slaves to celebrate a good harvest. It is also said that Maculele was used as a form of martial arts by slaves when they had to defend themselves or rebel against their masters.

Carmen Miranda

This style is named after the multi-talented Brazilian artist Carmen Miranda. The world honors this Brazilian artist as an ambassador of Brazilian music to the world. She was a great artist full of creativity and innovation; her cool dance moves, shoes, songs, acting, her clothes and the famous hat which was always in a form of typical fruit basket is the main inspiration behind this dance.


Afoxe was brought to Brazil by slaves from Africa. Afoxe in African tribal world means the "Dance of Happiness". Afoxe symbolizes tribal celebrations all around Brazil, it is an uplifting mixture of dance steps, music and color.


Carimbo or Lambada as it is popularly known, is not only a Brazilian dance but also the identifying title of large drums which are used in playing music. This traditional folk dance comes from Africa but also has Portuguese and European inspiration woven into it. Carimbo is considered as a very sensual dance as female artists use very short clothes.

Samba de Roda

It is a type of Samba dance and rhythm which has lots of fans in the northeast part of Brazil, especially in the state of Bahia. Samba de Roda is so popular in Bahia that people prefer to dance and not playing at the casino, and is as well-known as soccer. This dance is performed together in a circle with lots of play and joy.


Originated in the Brazilian town of Porto Seguro, this Brazilian dance is heavily influenced by African, French and English cultures which made it into a beautiful dance form which has been embraced by the rest of the world. There are two forms of this dance; Caribbean Zouk and Brazilian Lambada Zouk.


Soltinho means "A Little Loose". This style is relatively new and is a very balanced mixture of jive, swing and rock. People who wish to learn Brazilian dance usually start with Soltinho as there is less technique involved which makes the dance steps easy to learn and it can be danced to various forms of music.


Known as the official "Dance of Love", there are two theories related to the origin of Bolero. One credits the Spanish people for inventing it, and the other says that it originated in Cuba and was popularized by Mexicans.
When Bolero came to Brazil, it was heavily influenced by Tango which gave it some new dance steps and variations. In some parts of the country, Bolero is known as the official Ballroom Dance, although it is quite different from the international Ballroom Bolero.
Most of these dance styles were brought in the country by immigrants or slaves. The history of Brazilian dance is vintage and very interesting, and these styles still play a very important role in their culture, even though they have undergone much transformation by adopting some new techniques from various cultures of the world.