On April 26-30th, Forró Dublin are organising their second annual dance festival, with 3 full days of workshops, 12 teachers, 5 nights of parties in popular city-centre venues, 3 live bands, 3 DJs, dance performances every night and 400 dancers.
What’s it all about?
If we were to try to describe forró in a sentence, we would say: Forró is a Brazilian dance with similar basic steps to salsa, with a unique, latin, roots culture that is inclusive, relaxed, welcoming, warm, fun, vibrant, intimate, sexy, addictive and full of talented dancers.
Forró is a traditional roots couple dance that originated in rural north-eastern Brazil. Over the 1950s forró moved south into the major cities, including Rio & Sao Paulo, and picked up a lot of salsa and samba influences. The basic steps are very similar to salsa, making it extremely easy to pick up.
Known as the “outback dance”, forró has never lost popularity in the countryside of Brazil, in rural states like Minas Gerais and north to its origin states such as Pernambuco and Bahia, where forró is so popular that the word simply means “going to a party”. The popularity of forró in Brazilian cities has ebbed and flowed, as musical styles like Bossa Nova overtook it in the 1960s. Forró has seen a number of resurgent phases, which are generally associated with leading artists like Luiz Gonzaga (1950s) and Falamansa (1990s). Indeed, according to Caetano Veloso, one of the most popular Brazilian artists, Luiz Gonzaga & his forró music was the first significant cultural event with mass appeal in Brazil. Eclipsed by Samba Pagode outside of Brazil, as the most recognisable dance to international eyes, forró has always held its own within the country, and is now experiencing a renaissance in Europe due to the influx of Brazilian immigration.
Forró in Europe
There are currently 60 forró festivals in Europe, in cities from Lisboa to St Petersburg, Istanbul to Dublin, and seemingly everywhere in between. Forró seems to follow Capoeira wherever it sets down roots, and in some places seems to burst out of nowhere, like flowers in a rocky pavement.
Forró in Dublin
Forró has been in Dublin for nearly 10 years, but through a lack of coordination and organisation, and due to the fact that many Brazilians only live in Ireland temporarily and do not have time to commit to long-term projects, it has taken a number of years for a committee of long-term residents to be established to support our bands and teachers and to promote the culture effectively.
Finally, the first festival was organised in 2016 by one of the primary teachers with one of his Irish students, and it attracted 150 people from around Europe and Ireland.In the second year we will have 300-400 dancers and have added an extra day onto the workshop schedule due to high demand.
Forró and You!
We hope that dancers of all disciplines, all cultures and backgrounds, will join us in what will be a spectacular 5-day event. If you like to sample different dances then this event is not to be missed. It will be an exhibition of forró, with professional forrozeiros of the highest level from all over Europe and Brazil coming to teach and to perform.
Forró and the Wider Dance Community in Ireland
The forró Dublin crew are actively seeking to develop partnerships with dance communities of all types in the hopes that as dance communities we can support each other and encourage as many new people as possible to learn to dance. As we know, the more people who start to dance (any dance), the greater the pool of dancers in the country to support ever larger events and more consistent parties.
Dancers naturally migrate from dance to dance, but like learning a new language, the biggest hurdle is learning the first dance.
If you are a dance teacher or organiser please feel free to get in touch, we’d like to talk about how we can work together.