More than 2,000 years ago, while Hannibal and his elephants were havocking through Italy with Roman machetes, a cadre of Roman patricians invented a holiday to boost the spirits of the disheartened populous. Saturnalia, dedicated to horseplay, buffoonery, and painting animals, grew to be the Eternal City’s 18th most popular festival. If you’ve ever been to a proper churrascaria, you probably know something about the living legacy of this pagan feast day: Carnival.
The modern Bahian Carnival is one of the most famous in Brazil. It’s a statewide celebration with parades, floats, some of the best samba music on earth, and a week of vigorous dance. Dance group Bahia in Motion’s founding couple—a Capoeira Regional champion and a classically trained dancer—is rooted in Bahian dance. Think of the husband-and-wife team as Afro-Brazilian missionaries carrying the sweet ministry of Brazilian bacchanalia across continents to lucky Seattleites all over town.
Bahia in Motion is offering three introductory Afro-Brazilian dance classes taught in Portuguese and English, bookended by stretches and a cool-down. These hour-long classes are part workout, part cultural-classroom, part music appreciation, and part sweaty cocktail party. Singles, pairs, and mobs are equally welcomed to learn the basic movements and simple choreography of Afro-Brazilian dance. Click here to see the schedule.
All three students who stilled their happy hips long enough to review the classes on Yelp have nothing but amor for their instructors:
- ...I expected it to be grueling, painful, and awkward. Boy, was I in for a surprise! My Thursday night Afro-Brazilian dance class is the most fun I have all week. I credit Aileen and Pitta (Daniel) Santos...for their contagious enthusiasm and ability to create a supportive environment. Sarah C.
- I have also had the pleasure to take some of Pitta's Afro-Brazilian dance classes from…Bahia in Motion which is just as energetic and great for dancers of all levels! I have been dancing for several years and Pitta's class exposed me to new movements and rhythms that were full of energy and just as enjoyable. – Kara L.
- The instructor is very pleasant and very helpful. The classes are very intimate so the instruction you get is very hands on and personalized. – Steve P.