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The beginners checklist (for forró dancers)

Updated: Feb 26, 2023

What are the things a beginner forró dancer should know and practice?

What are the forró basic steps?

How to build a good foundation and evolve as a forró dancer?

I prepared a very special 2-hour class to cover and recap the main skills and movements I teach to my beginner students. Things they should understand and master before taking more advanced classes.

As you will notice, the repertoire of movements is just a portion of it! The "how" is a key element to build a good forró foundation.

How to feel the music and dance in time?

How to connect with your partner?

How to play skillfully with body weight transfer?

How to lead and follow effectively?

It is not about "what" movements you do, as much as it is about "how" you do it.

  • Be able to find the tempo (regardless of the speed or style).

  • Be able to identify the downbeat (strong beat) of each musical bar.

  • Be able to match the music rhythms with the 3-step forró patterns.

  • Be able to dance in time, in a musical way.

  • Have a good natural posture (upright, but not tense or forced).

  • Have a neutral style and body language as a starting point.

  • Suggestion: followers should be able to dance on the ball of your feet, not using high heel shoes.

  • Know the traditional forró embrace position (details in the class).

  • Be light, without unnecessary (and unwanted) pressure.

  • Use full body contact.

  • Be responsible for your own weight (and your arms weight).

  • Use appropriate frontal core energy/pressure.

  • Be respectful & empathetic.

  • Always be looking for reciprocity when it comes to personal space.

  • Never be forceful.

  • Be aware and in control of how to move body weight from one side to the other, front and back, or diagonally.

  • Be able to do basic movements without losing balance, not allowing body weight to go to the back (including turns).

  • Not allow your (lack of) balance alter the rhythm of your steps.

  • Side basic step in 1 or 2 tempos (with either 1 or 3 steps).

  • Front and back basic step.

  • Back step.

  • Be able to transition between these basic steps.

  • Transition from close position to open position, and vice-versa.

  • Clockwise turn in close position (at least 180 degrees).

  • Circular side displacement in open position.

  • Simple turn.

  • Cycle of simple turns (with hand variations).

  • Cycle of simple turns without contact.

Do you want to learn more about all these topics?

This full class is available as a bonus of the beginners online course.


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.

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