I recently reminded myself what it was like to try a dance class for the first time. I headed to a part of London I wasn’t that familiar with and walked into a venue I hadn’t been to before. Nobody had recommended it to me, I discovered it online. I didn’t know anybody there and I knew nothing about Brazilian Forro…
Forro Family, 26 Exmouth Market, London EC1R 4QE – Close to Farringdon Station
Exmouth Market is a vibrant street about 10 minutes walk from Farringdon Station. It is well known for great places to eat and independent shops. Towards one end of the the street is The Church and this is where Forro dance classes take place on Saturday nights.
The Brazilian Dance Class – Forró
I turned up at 7pm not really knowing what to expect. As with most social dance you can go along on a ‘drop in’ basis, without having to commit to paying for a whole course, rather just pay as you go. My entrance fee of £10 was taken by the lady on the door. She informed me that this would also cover the cost of my social dance and the live band.
The church hall had soft, red lighting with fairy lights above. A bar was set up on the left of the hall serving a range of soft and alcoholic drinks including caipirinhas – Brazilian cocktails! The live band were setting up on the stage ready to perform after the classes. Small tables with chairs were set up around the side of the hall for people to put their jackets and drinks.
The teacher introduced himself to everyone and explained a little bit about Forro and its music. Originating in Brazil in the 19th Century, it has changed over the years. From the 1950s, the rhythms are now played with a drum, triangle and accordian.
Those new to Forro were asked to show their hands. and actually, there were quite a few of us. We stood in a circle, held hands and followed the teacher’s warm up routine.
The classes were then split into three levels, beginners, improvers and intermediate. Even though I had never danced Forró before I was asked to start in intermediate because I had danced other styles. There were around 20 people in my class with an equal amount of men and women. The majority of the people dancing were aged between 30 and 60 but some older or younger.
We were told to pair up with a partner of the opposite sex and form a circle. The teacher demonstrated a couple of moves which the males copied and led, while the females followed. Once we had practised the moves with our partner, we rotated anti-clockwise to a new partner. Once we had danced with everyone in the entire circle and returned to our first partner, the teacher introduced a couple more moves and so on. By the end of the one hour lesson we had learnt a sequence of moves to a good standard. We had also laughed, made mistakes and had social interactions with everyone in our group. This is great preparation for the social dance that follows.
After the classes have finished, the party starts. The music gets louder and people are encouraged to dance. It is suggested that women ask men to dance as well as men asking the women. It is recommended that you don’t pick and choose who you dance with and dance with people of all levels.
This was a great evening of dancing and entertainment with a good standard of teaching amongst a very friendly group of dancers. Many people go along without a partner so it is a great solo activity to do when in London or anywhere. I can recommend this venue for anyone who is keen on learning this style of dance.
If you fancy going along to Forro Family to try this style of Brazilian dance, then check their website for latest information, dates and times!
- Wear comfortable shoes – I was the only person in heels, everyone else wore flat shoes!
- A few people dressed up but the majority were wearing casual clothes
I enjoyed a very comfortable stay at the Travelodge in Farringdon if you are planning on staying over, I can recommend it.
I can recommend the wood fired pizza at Santorè, also in Exmouth Market, if you fancy a bite to eat before you go. I can’t remember the last time I ate pizza that good!