Updated: Aug 1
What is the basic repertoire of forró movements?
After the fundamentals, what movements forrozeiros should learn next?
How to go beyond the beginner forró steps and movements?
Once a student learns the fundamentals and basic steps, it is time to expand the repertoire!
Although forró can become quite challenging at a higher level and require a lot of practice to be really good at, it is possible to have a super fun dance just by knowing the fundamentals and a basic repertoire of partner moves. This blog focus on these movements, what I could call a "complete forró starters kit."
If you go to most forró parties, you will notice that 90% of dancers use these same movements with some variations. Even the more experienced dancers rely on these movements, especially to dance with new (and less experienced) partners. This happens for a simple reason: they are not hard to do, and it works!
If you learn and master all the following movements, you will have enough variety to make the dance fun for the entire night!
I would also say that this is the basic prerequisite if you plan on joining any intermediate class or workshop.
Beginner 1 - Forró steps and movements
Basic footwork patterns in closed and open positions
The most important movements any forrozeiros must learn are the basic ones: our bases. They must also understand when each basic pattern should be used (in open or closed positions).
Once the student masters the basic steps, they must learn how/when to transition from one pattern to another. It is also important to learn how to transition from a closed position to an open position.
Half turns together
Being able to change direction in a close position is one of the most useful tools and the foundation for many other movements in a close position. A half-turn together is the easiest way to get started with this kind of movement.
Orbiting motion principle
This is one of the most important principles dancers must understand to be able to do movements in an open position: how to create orbiting motion with their partners - how to change sides.
This is the most used turn used in forró, and the base for many variations! The first one anyone should learn.
The cycle of simple turns
Understanding the dynamic of sequential alternating turns between leads and follows is fun to do and it is crucial as the foundation for most turn variations and sequences.
👇 Watch below a recapitulation from a beginners class including all movements cited. 👇
Beginner 2 - Forró steps and movements
It is time to explore half inverted turns together in a line (facão) and be more adventurous with regular turns together, full turns (pião), and sequential turns.
Add walks - in close position (in a line) and half-open (diagonal) - to add more motion to your dance and use more space around you.
Breaking basic patterns
At this point, you should have mastered the basic patterns. Now you can start to play with the rhythm and make it less predictable. Added repeated steps are the best way to do it.
How about getting creative and more dynamic with the transition from a closed position to an open position? Start adding cross footwork to create "elastic" motion, moving in opposite directions.
Simple turn variations
You should be able to master the simple turn at this point. It is time to explore all hand combinations, keeping the same footwork pattern.
Interrupted simple turns
This is an important addition to your repertoire: interrupt the simple turn cycle and the orbiting motion. Explore hand combinations to do this: down (" gancho"), keep it up ("chuveirinho"), and alternate.
Introduction to inverted turns
It is time to challenge yourself with more advanced turns. Learn inverted turns ("giro paulista"), both for leaders and followers. "Casinha"/"banana-banana" and "mochila"/" carrossel" are good ones to add to your repertoire in addition to the classic hands-free inverted turn.
👇 Watch below a dance demonstration using only the movements featured in this blog. 👇
It is now just about "what", but also "how"!
Many students focus on learning as many movements as possible without putting much effort into how they do it. Also, many people think it is enough to learn the basic mechanics of a movement without putting effort into refining its execution. Both things can be big mistakes!
Most experienced dancers agree that the quality of a dance is dictated much more by HOW dancers do the movements they know than by WHAT movements they do. I dedicated an entire blog to this topic: "basics, basics, basics."
So, use your repertoire as a tool be able to create meaningful interactions with your dance partners and explore your musicality and creativity. Don't just robotically execute movements. Be an artist on the dance floor!
Do you want some guidance get started the right way and/or to take your dance to the next level? Join our classes, events, or online courses here on the website (click below)!
About the author
Rafael Piccolotto de Lima is an experienced teacher. He is passionate about arts, a doctor of musical arts, and a Latin Grammy nominee as a composer.
For him, all forms of expression are somehow related. Based on that premise, his interest and work have a wide spectrum: from a tail tux at a concert hall, to the dance shoes at a worn-out dance floor.
Born in Campinas, São Paulo - Brazil, now he lives at the NYC area, teaches weekly forró classes in Manhattan and produces some of the best forró festivals in North-America.
YouTube Channel: www.youtube.com/rafaelpdelima