In Braaaazil, Rio de Janeiro, Sud America on November 10, 2010 at 5:12 pm

Brazilians dance. Samba feet blurring from left to right, hips dipping and slipping. There is no song too fast for the Brazilians to step together and grind hips, or gently bounce them, faces pressed together, eyes closed as if in a trance. For those moments the heat rises, and the languor slows their movements, for those musical moments it as if they are in love, until the woman turns away at the end of the song and leaves the man with a wave.

Tuesday night in Rio, there’s a supposed to be a good samba night on just down the way in Ipanema, it turns out to be another tourist festival in the bar of a hostel. It’s not much cop, from the tiny, narrow smoke-filled smokers area, to the heaving dance floor, filled with hunters and prey, and fey travellers, trying to find the right steps. I am nonplussed, and determined to find something more authentic

On the Wednesday we head out down to Lapa, on the recommendation of Michael who works at the hostel. He’s phoned ahead and put us on the guest list. From the moment we walk up the stairs into the half filled room as the band prepares to play, I am smiling from ear to ear. This is why I came to Brazil, for this musical melange, this joy of playing/listening/dancing/singing music.

The dance floor gradually fills, but it is never totally packed, but the band play beautifully, and as always there is an old man who sings, and sings, and sings. His tone pure and ragged, and yearning and joyous all at once. We sit and drink beer, and I am envious of the sinuous nature of the dancers, how they are molded to each other, the swirl of hips and the tinkle of their feet, how quickly they spin and move. I want to dance like this, I want to be able to have my hips be so fluid, and my feet so nimble.

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