Brazilian music and culture has always been part of my life. My culture has always been a part of my identity, and a way to connect with my heritage. One way I connect with that is through music and dance.
As a model and performing artist I have been part of numerous events involving samba, sertanejo, funk carioca, but for some reason never forró. Maybe it is because the scene was never that big here in New York. Now this is changing, I have many friends who goes to weekly parties and I see the style gaining popularity in the city.
As a writer for the "Casa do Brasil" newspaper I've decided to get to know better this part of Brazilian culture and interviewed Rafael Piccolotto de Lima, one of the people who are fostering the growth of this scene, both as dance teacher, musician, and also as the creator of this website - www.forronewyork.com.
After our interview Rafael invited me to come to one of his classes and soon came this idea to write this blog to share my experience.
Rafael’s class was a truly an amazing experience! I was a little nervous to take this class because I wasn’t sure what to expect! As a professional samba dancer I didn’t know how I would step into this class. I didn’t know what we would learn and if anyone one else was on the same level I was. During warm up I was feeling the groove and getting into the zone. However, it definitely was a challenge and fun to do new footwork I wasn’t used to! It was fun to talk and bond with people over the moves, with each dance partner having their own style. We did an introduction of basics, and a variety of different technics that I had never tried before and probably wouldn’t have if it wasn’t for this class. It was great because it was a class that beginners and more advanced students could take together. I was able to ask questions and get to learn in depth more forró. It was almost like a party in itself, where I could dance with everybody and ended up making new friends. I definitely recommend this class to anyone who wants to feel like they’re in Brazil or wants to try something new and fun.
Once the class was finished we continued our forró experience at Nublu, a music venue near the studio. It was a very fun night! I can understand why many people are becoming "forrozeiros" here in New York. The dance is very welcoming to dancers with all levels of experience, the music is fun to listen, it is a very relaxed environment good to make friends and there is a strong sense of community.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR - Natalie De Ferrari is a model and dancer based in New York. She is the Miss Brazil New York 2017 and first runner up 2018. She has won many pageants and has modeled in NYFW (New York fashion week). Natalie dances samba as well as folkloric dances and plans to get more involved in forró! She is a violinist at her university in NY. Current journalist for the Casa Do Brasil newspaper and now for Forro New York blog. She is active on Instagram for people who want to follow her: