History of Forró
Forró is a traditional roots couple dance that originated in rural north-eastern Brazil. Over the 1950s forró moved south into the major cities, including Rio & São Paulo, and picked up a lot of salsa and samba influences. The basic steps are very similar to salsa, making it extremely easy to pick up.
Known as the “outback dance”, forró has never lost popularity in the countryside of Brazil, in rural states like Minas Gerais and north to its origin states, Pernambuco and Bahia, where forró is so popular that the word simply means “going to a party”.
The popularity of forró in Brazilian cities has ebbed and flowed, as musical styles like Bossa Nova overtook it in the 1960s. Forró has seen a number of resurgent phases, which are generally associated with leading artists like Luiz Gonzaga (1950s) and Falamansa (1990s). Indeed, according to Caetano Veloso, one of the most popular Brazilian artists, Luiz Gonzaga & his forró music was the first significant cultural event with mass appeal in Brazil.
Eclipsed by Samba Pagode outside of Brazil, as the most recognisable dance to international eyes, forró has always held its own within the country, and is now experiencing a renaissance in Europe due to the influx of Brazilian immigration.
Forró in Europe
There are currently 60 forró festivals in Europe, in cities from Lisboa to St Petersburg, Istanbul to Dublin, and seemingly everywhere in between.
Forró seems to follow Capoeira wherever it sets down roots, and in some places seems to burst out of nowhere, like flowers in a rocky pavement.