There are many stories about the origin of the name. Some says forró comes from the word forrobodó, which means “commotion” or “great party”. Some says it comes from the English words “for all” when immigrants saw the locals dancing it. Anyhow, forró became a popular dance in Brazil: basically every Brazilian knows the basic steps since generations.
The dance plays a big part during the annual Festa Junina (June Fest), a traditional party in honour of a number of saints. Instruments that are originally used in the forró music are accordion, triangle and zabumba, a big drum.
The couple often dances close together in forró. The dance also involves a lot of improvisation. There are several rhythms, like the slow xote, baião and the fast arrasta-pé. Forró has a large variation of steps, that are different in every part of the country.
Samba de gafieira is a popular saloon dance from Brazil. Samba has its roots in Africa, and gafieira is the name for the place where the sambistas dance to live music: the saloon, which has its origins in Europe.
The elegant dance has many different aspects: besides the swing and dance steps, creativity, improvisation and playing the music and rhythm are just as important in samba de gafieira. Gafieira is also called samba a dois (samba between two) or samba de salão (saloon samba).
Samba de gafieira developed from a Brazilian style called maxixe. Maxixe is a mix from African music and European styles, like the polka. Maxixe started to develop in the second half of the 19th century.
Over the years, many different styles of samba music were developed. Examples are samba cançao, bossa nova, choros, pagode, samba rock and many more. Also in the dance there have been many different paths and styles. Beside the traditional samba de gafieira, there are also samba rock, samba pagode and samba swingado, to name a few.
Gafieira unites people of all ages and social classes where, in total harmony, the musical melody and corporal improvisation join in an absolute and divine interpretation.