If you’ve never taken an Afro-Brazilian dance class, you should definitely try it – but be prepared for burning glutes and quads! Crush Crew was invited to try one of Dora Oliveira’s renowned classes at Spectrum Dance Theater last weekend. A whole range of us showed up, from no dance experience to Zumba to some people doing expert-looking balletic warm-ups. (I was somewhere in the middle, having taken jazz and modern . . . back in college.)
The moment Dora turned on the stereo, I knew we were in for a full-blast workout. Yes, there’s ample booty-shaking to the booming Carnivale beats, but Afro-Brazilian dance also has a lot of isolations, where you’re expanding and contracting and shifting your rib cage, then your hips, then your rib cage, etc. We also did a lot of steps really close to the ground, even dropping to the floor on one move in the style of capoeira, the Brazilian martial art. So you have to be very grounded and willing to ask a lot of your leg and butt muscles.
Luckily, Dora gave us a couple chances to breathe while she gave us some background on the hottest dances in Brazil right now and the background of samba among African slaves. If you want to break a sweat and hear some awesome music, her classes are every Sunday at 1:30!
At the end of our class, Spectrum’s company of professional dancers came in for rehearsal and told us a bit about their new show, “The Theater of Needless Talents.” It runs Oct. 25-28 – get your tickets!
Kjersti is part of Crush Crew 2012.