Forró as an European (original)

How to: Connect to Forró as a European

by Philip Alfred (*)

What is the strongest kind of connection you can build with something?

It is when you become one with the other, when you fuse, and merge together.

Have you experienced Forró in Brazil?

If so, you will probably have recognized that the forrozeir@’s connection to the music there is quite special.

There is usually a lot of emotion and heart within the crowd. Many people know the lyrics and sing along – this creates a beautiful energy of identification. People who sing along are not only consumers of the music, but they become part of it. They feel so much love and identification for Forró that they fuse with the music.

Globalization of Forró

When Forró spread to Europe, the Europeans had one big problem: Forró is not part of their traditional culture and Portuguese not even their language (except Portuguese people of course). However, the music is one of the fundamental aspects of Forró (music, dance, party). Therefore we, the European Forrozeir@s, need to find our way to connect to Forró!

How to connect to the music as a European?

First of all, I think that singing should be much more part of forró courses, especially in countries where people can’t speak Portuguese.

However, there is a second possible way to connect to the music: listen carefully and convert what you hear into dancing. It is not like you are dancing, but rather the music is dancing you. You fuse with the music through movement.

Ok, it is a lot of fun and looks better when you dance with a lot of musicality, but what does this change for us Europeans?

Forró is much more than ‘only a dance’

However, it is often seen mainly as a dance in Europe because of a lack of identification with the other cultural aspects. If you (and your partner) become one with the music, Forró stops to just be a dance. The music suddenly becomes essential. This is how it should be. The music in Forró is essential.

In partner dance there exists a lot of posing. Spectacular moves and lifts which lead to a lot of attention. Like a false smile while taking a picture. We should be honest and not hide behind what we think it should look like. Steps and movements are amazing tools that can express musicality. But the music should come first in our dance, not second. We should not hide the tones we like and the emotions we feel. Show them to your partner and in return listen to the tones and emotions he/she feels! That’s what dialogue is all about. Why do we care so much about what others think of us? We shouldn’t. If we don’t, we will start to truly live Forró.

If Forró is not only a dance, a Forrozeir@ is not only a dancer

You don’t need much technique to apply this idea. A beautiful poem can consist of easy words. Don’t get me wrong. Technique, movement, and steps always enrich your dance and give you more vocabulary to express yourself in more than one way. However, the magic will happen in between the lines. It is like Alonzo King said: “You don’t want to be a dancer, you want to be a poet!”

Create, adapt, listen, develop, fuse, change and interact with your partner, and be inspired by the music. Don’t forget, a poet is not born as a poet. He needs to learn a lot about the language and even more about the world he gets his inspiration from.

We Forrozeir@s need to have dancing technique, it is our language, but we should not forget about what our inspiration should be.