domingo, 26 de outubro de 2014

Samba dancing: to what kind of songs?

Samba is mainly a culture evolving around MUSIC. Samba is the name of the whole cultural set involving dancing, a national-regional narrative, etc, but it always evolved around a very specific type of syn-coped music. The music is the less negotiable of the elements of this culture. Meaning that: even if the ways of dancing have changed through time, the specific samba music swing and beat remained the central element. Of course, the music itself suffered alterations, but the specific samba beat and swing remained the basis of ALL samba culture. Now, i know that ignorance about samba culture is widespread around the world, but its good to know that this is a pretty solid and mature form of culture, highly documented, with a number of academic and scholar appreciations, a ancient historical tradition, and that`s why most “international samba dancers” often look stupid doing their “thing” while dancing to american pop music or rock n` roll.  Actually, a style of dance is always - without exception - characterized by the kind of music for which it is suitable. This is right for waltz, tango, break dance, son cubano, etc. Thats why the name of the dance is the same as the name of the music! It should be obvious even for a kid. Eventually movements of one dance can be borrow and suit to dance to other songs, but the fidelity to the MUSIC is the only thing that remains preserved as the FUNDAMENTAL aspect of a dancing style. That`s only the most elementary thing about dancing. 

I honestly think that samba de gafieira is the most mature form of art coming from samba tradition, and it has elements of tango, swing and others, but all integrated in the spirit and culture of samba - that is, in parallel to samba MUSIC, CULTURE and POPULAR EXPRESSION.

So repeating: The most mature element of samba culture IS the music, and therefore one need to give (big) explanations when suppose dancing to samba listening to a Caribbean song or to Adele. Actually, if you are dancing any other type of song, with a different kind of beat, is safe to say that you are NOT dancing to samba. Here there is a documentary from BBC where one can learn about samba culture (which is mainly about samba MUSIC):

International Ballroom samba dancers have a very particular approach of dance: they simply do not feel compelled to listen and to translate the music into their movements. It doesn't matter if the lyrics are sad or happy, they always have the same facial expression and do random figures. They think of the dance as a way to achieve a score. This is maybe the reason it is not the kind of dance someone would actually do on a dance floor, where people look for a partner to have fun and use the music to free their body expression. It's a very artificial expression of dance, fitted only to competition standards.

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