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Brazilian Dance: Zumba Brazil Style

  • September 2, 2015
  • By Brittany
Brazilian Dance: Zumba Brazil Style

Hi friends!  I have a really fun post planned for you today that I’ve been working on for awhile.  It’s all about Brazilian Dance!


When I considered moving to Brazil I pictured a country in my mind known for:

  • Soccer
  • Fitness
  • Carnival and dancing
  • Music

Brazil is a country rich in culture so it’s no wonder that music and dance are staples of the country.  I was really excited to learn more about the various types of music and dance styles that are popular in the largest country in South America.  I made a vow that when I came here, I would learn all about Brazilian Dance and luckily, Zumba had me covered with Zumba Brazil Style!

Brazilian Dance has five major rhythms that are popular in both beats and moves: capoeira, samba, Brazilian funk, axe and frevo.  I did a little breakdown for you here on each move but to really get the flavor, check out my video that includes a breakdown of the moves in each style and then puts them all together in a short dance!

capoeira dance


  • Capoeira is actually a form of Brazilian martial art but it combines elements of dance, acrobatics and gamemenship as well. 
  • Capoeira developed as a way for slaves to express themselves in Brazil since they were not allowed to express themselves of teach themselves any form of self defense.
  • Today you most often see capoeira performed in a circle with shirtless and barefoot men wearing white pants performing incredibly acrobatic moves. 
  • Typical Capoeira moves include: Ginga, Balanco, Esquiva and Bencao. 

samba dance


  • The most well known Brazilian rhythm, samba is synonymous with Carnival.
  • Its roots are actually in Africa and are part of Brazil due to the African slave trade.
  • Samba is associated with the crazy Carnival held in Rio de Janiero (pronounced he-o).
  • Samba is used to identify Brazilians as a community and culture.
  • Typical Samba moves include: Basic Samba, Samba Lunge, Samba Travel and Samba Rockback.


brazilian funk

Brazilian Funk

  • Brazilian Funk is the most recent form of Brazilian dance developed in the 1980s in the favelas or shanty towns of Brazil.
  • Brazilian funk is a unique blend of American hip hop, freestyle and Miami Bass.
  • It has a similar feel to reggaeton and hip hop.
  • Typical Brazilian Funk moves include: Basic Funk, Knee Up, Travel Snake, Turning 1 Knee Up

brazilian dance


  • Axe is an extremely popular dance rhythm in Brazil with many popular musical artists performing in this style, including Claudia Leitte.
  • Axe developed originally in the Bahia state and means “good vibrations”.
  • It has a distinct afro-Caribbean feel to it, sounding like a mix between reggae and calypso.
  • It has a great deal of percussion in it due to the Bahia state’s desire to form their own Carnival music with blocos or street bands that use large percussion instruments.
  • Typical Axe moves include: Samba Axe, Axe Twist, Axe Side Step and Axe Travel. 

brazilian dance 2


  • Frevo is a musical style from the city of Recife in the state of Pernambuco, Brazil.
  • Frevo started when Brazilian Army regiments based in Recife began parading during Carnival. Each regiment had their own bands, a couple with famous bands, and large crowds drew to the streets to cheer for their favorite bands. The bands started to compete against each other by playing faster and louder. 
  • Frevo is a fast-paced dance which includes choreography such as jumps, deep leg squats and fast leg movements.  It comes from the word ferver, which means to boil.
  • Typical frevo moves include: Frevo Cross Step Bounce, Frevo Wide Twist, Frevo Machete and Frevo Cross Step with Travel.

Readers, what comes to mind when you think of Brazil?  Have you ever tried any of these dance styles before?  

By Brittany, September 2, 2015
  • Sara
    September 2, 2015

    Does your area do any Carnival-specific classes? Starting right about now (Argentinian spring) all of the classes that USED to be called Zumba start practicing and revving up for Carnival in February. It’s fun to watch them dance, but they’re a little advanced for me! Are you planning on trying to dance in a Carnival crew?

  • Dani @ Dani California Cooks
    September 2, 2015

    This is a REALLY fun post. I absolutely love to dance, and I always say that in my next life maybe I’ll come back as a dancer, because in this current life I can never move my arms/legs at the same time. Too much coordination? The Brazilian/Latin dances are always my favorite in Zumba!

  • GiGi Eats
    September 2, 2015

    OK YES! I LOVE DANCING! I have never done Brazilian dancing, just dancing in front of my mirror in my home, LOL… Uhhh maybe that’s just considered having a seizure??

  • Holly
    September 2, 2015

    WOW-you blew me away with this post. How did you learn all those dance styles so beautifully? You look better than the locals dancing at Bar Samba (which was in your video)!

    AND the music makes anyone want to dance. I am going to download some Brazilian Dance music for fun and also practice along with your Let’s Dance at the end of your video! I want to do the Basic Samba and the Axe. Love these. The Frevo does have the parade beat. I’ve watched almost all the video links already!

    Seriously, Brittany, . . . Instruct in these dance styles . . . open a studio . . .

    P.S. Some of the Carnival Dancing – Whew !!!!!!

  • Melanie @ Happy Being Healthy
    September 4, 2015

    I absolutely love that you’re living in Brazil right now. That is so cool and such a neat experience! It’s also very cool that you know all of these types of dance. I’m not much of a dancer (wish I was!), but my husband took a few ballroom dance classes in college and has taught me a thing or two. I’d love to learn more!

  • Nicole @ Foodie Loves Fitness
    September 4, 2015

    How cute are you?! Thanks for giving me some insight into Brazilian dance culture! I really want to visit there sometime in the next couple of years.

  • Phillius Thomas
    September 29, 2015

    I love seeing people from Brazil dance, they have such fluid motions. I took a couple samba dance classes once, I was unable to get very good at it. It would be fun to try again, see if I can improve this time.

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