Posted by: pascoesabido | February 27, 2008

Barcelona’s Brazilian Swing and Sway

When you are asked to think of Brazil, what comes to mind – Cristo? Copacabana beach? Shapely bums and ripped torsos? Inviting rhythms that you can’t help wiggling your bum to? Well, Barcelona contains all these elements plus more. Alright, perhaps not Cristo, and you might want to replace Copacabana for Barcelonetta, but it’s not far off.

Brazilians can be found all over Barcelona, adding to the daily rhythm. Even for those who don’t speak Spanish, they understand, while Portuguese is understood by any native Spanish speaker. However, most Brazilians do learn Spanish, accomplished with a sexy accent that makes girls weak at the knees

Sexiness is by no means limited to speech. If you’ve ever been to Brazil, sexiness is everywhere. Beaches full of men and women wearing rather less than Adam and Eve’s fig leaves; toned bodies, muscles for the men, amazing bums and stomachs for the women; sex appeal oozing from all, small and big. A Brazilian colleague claims he can spot a Brazilian girl anywhere in the world just from the way she walks: the telling sway of the hips and bum are unmistakeable.

The ultimate embodiment of this sexiness (and the proper use of those hips and bums) is through dancing. Like most Latinos, Brazilians are born with rhythm, leaving the womb with a pair of maracas in trail. Music follows Brazilians everywhere, so it is no surprise that Barcelona hosts some of its finest examples in Europe: not only through weekly samba nights but also through international dance festivals. The International Lambada Congress (now LambaZouk Congress), begun in 2004, is a regular fixture in the summer, bringing dancers from all over the world to hold workshops and give performances. Barcelona also hosts the BrasilNoar festival (Brazilian New Art International Festival), which celebrated its 7th year in 2007. It showcases some Brazil’s finest talent in art, music, dance, and film. For someone only in town for a week, or for those who need their regular fix of Samba, Sala Bikini hosts a live Samba band every Sunday. With professional dancers to accompany the music, a show is definitely promised, but the fun part for those slightly more adventurous (or slightly more coordinated) is the joining in and having a dance. Don’t be put off by the slick steps of others, as all levels are welcome. The girls may find it slightly easier, as the more experienced guys love leading ladies of all abilities across the floor.

If you don’t yet have the confidence to strut your stuff – or feel your struting’s not what it should be – Barcelona’s numerous dance schools can help. Many specialise in Brazilian beats, and all are on the web. No matter what your level, classes are available.

Dancing’s importance in Brazilian culture cannot be over estimated, and another example of it being exported internationally is Capoeira. Actually a form of martial arts, Capoeira is set to music and takes the form of a Dance. Originating during slavery as a way of sorting out disputes without using violence (fighting between slaves was severely punished), two opponents produce acrobatic kicks, flips, and anything in between, all in time to the music. A very fluid dance, it is beautiful to watch, especially when done well. For more information visit www.capoeiraworld.org. In Barcelona, the best place to catch a glimpse would be either the Parc de la Ciutadella or on any of the beaches. The summer is when most groups will be out practicing, but if you have the urge before the sun returns, or if you are interested in picking it up, the Asociacion De Capoeira Banzo De Senzala runs classes.

If all the dancing has worked up an appetite, the Brazilian community can help there too. Bahia Porto Mar in Barcelonetta offers traditional food with the accompaniment of live music to keep you wiggling in your chair. For those who have been to Brazil and tried the all-you-can-eat buffets with meat on swords, El Rodizio Grill in el Eixample is as close as you’ll come in Barcelona. Over-eating is a perennial danger. You can wash it all down with a rather exotic array of Caipirinhas, a traditional Brazilian drink made using Cachaca, sugar, and limes, which the Rodizio offers in strawberry and Kiwi.

Along with footballers and Havaiana flip-flops, Caipirinhas have become one of Brazil’s most successful exports. Although available in most bars throughout Barcelona, the quality varies considerably. For an authentic Caipirinha, made by your very own Brazilian Barman, go to Sinatra’s just off Placa Real and ask for Edu.

So if you’re a Brazil-nut (terrible pun), or just fancy spicing things up a bit, then Barcelona

Allows you to truly sample those Brazilian flavours, and shows why Brazilians feel so at home.

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