Forró vs. Other Dances

by  Mose Hayward
LAST UPDATED ON  2020-06-26
PUBLISHED ON  2019-01-04
Forró dancing next to the Seine River in Paris. Photo by Chen Kun.

Forró is not salsa! Nor bachata, tango, samba, or anything else. Forró is forró (for more, see our complete description of the forró and how it is on a worldwide rampage).

We asked a few forró teachers and organizers from around the world to comment a bit on the dance and the advantages and disadvantages of trying to promote it in new places, as compared to more popular couples’ dances.

The Disadvantages of Forró vs. Other Dances

Aleksei Kirillov (Saint Petersburg): Forró can be more difficult to promote, as it is less show-oriented than tango or salsa. In its original form, it is about the inner interaction between dancers, and not about showing off one’s cool tricks or beauty. Also missing are impressive costumes, e.g., high heels and elegant dresses for the ladies.

The Advantages of Forró vs. Other Dances

Aleksei: Forro is easy due to the simple basic steps. The zabumba [bass drum in forró] helps mark the rhythm. It can sneak up on people that suddenly they are dancing forró, and this inspires people and boosts their self-confidence. The music attracts people as well; some like traditional forró trios and others like modern groups with more instruments.

Marion Lima (Paris): This is a dance in which one can very quickly reach the point where it’s enjoyable, even if it can take time, even years, to dance well. But with just two nights out, if you have a sense of rhythm, you can have fun with forró.

Terra Pasqualini (Stuttgart): Forró’s simplicity is also a challenge; we need for people to understand that simplicity is a result of excellence and perfection, and it is not an indication that the dancers lack technical skill or knowledge.

Juliana Braga (Amsterdam): Forró is about the embrace and contact from the heart. The simpler, the better. We have time to enjoy the music and exchange energy. Forró has grown because forró is feelings. The challenge is to not lose this essence. We need to pass on the essence, and not just the form.

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