All about Brazil popular dance and music

September 19, 2019

Capoeira, Samba, Bossanova: traditional music and dance are deeply rooted in Brazilian culture. Discovering the traditions of this huge and complex country will make your trip unforgettable.

Capoeria dancers in Brazil

Brazil would not be what it is, without its tradition of music and dance, deeply linked to the colonial history of the country.

It's not enough to visit the monuments to really understand Brazil, but you also need to taste its cuisine and watch its dance and music performances (and if possible take part in it!). A trip to Brazil, otherwise, could not really be complete.


It’s a spectacular and fascinating dance and combat style, whose origins date back to the times of slavery.

Since 1620, the capoeira has been outlawed many times, both for security reasons and to make it difficult for the slaves to stay together. The main element in all the styles of capoeira is the berimbau, an African instrument with an unmistakable sound that creates the perfect rhythm for the “roda”, the circle of people that creates a “cage” for the two fighters.

There are many kinds of movements, and in the most aggressive style, punches and kicks, each with its different name and style based on the region in which you are. This happens because the tradition has spread for long times in the shadow, and so it had to develop itself locally with different attitudes and names from place to place.

Ginga:It's the basic step that allows you to stay constantly on the move both advancing and receding while moving laterally.

Aù:It’s a lateral turn similar to the movement used in the artistic gymnastics.

Balanço:It’s a lateral movement used to fool the other fighter.

Bananeira:It’s a handstand used to display strenght in the danced forms of Capoeira.

Spinning kicks:There are many variations of these: Meia lua de frente, Meia lua de compas, Armada, Queixada...When it’s not a real fight but just a dance, these kicks are used mainly to “move” around in the circle.

Two Capoeira dancers in Brazil
Capoeira dancers in Brazil.


t’s a musical genre born in Brazil that has its roots in the samba. Its name describes something that is done with a particular grace and with innate skills.

The songs are composed mainly with guitar and drums, while the voice differs from the usual Brazilian tradition. Once more similar to a lyrical style, the voice in bossa nova gets a completely different style.

The classic style of bossa nova was very succesful in the ‘60s and it’s still very famous all over the world.


It’s a classic Brazilian music and dance genre. Born at the beginning of ’900 thanks to the African immigrants, it's common in Brazil and has its birthplace in Rio de Janeiro where many “schools” have been established and are keeping this tradition alive.

From 1920 it has become a mainstream genre thanks to artistis such as Ismael Silva, Cartola, Ary Barros, Noel Rosa, Geraldo Pereira.

The movement supporting Samba was born in the favelas and only later became widespread through the urban areas. Samba is the main “soundtrack” for the Rio’s Carnival where hundreds of groups take a parade on the Sambodrome which attracts thousands of tourists every year.

Samba dancers at Rio de Janeiro's Carnival in Brazil
A samba show during Rio Carnival.

During your trip to Brazil, leave your shyness at home and get ready to dance!

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