I have a special place in my heart for Brazilian music. The tapes my sister shared with me when she returned from travels there long ago sparked an enduring love. The good stuff is soulful, rhythmic, and pure. Brazilian dance is very diverse, like its music. Afro-Brazilian is the first style of dance I really got into, taking weekly classes for years until the studio neighbors’ complaints about the live drums shut the class down. It was a sad day!
I find it very challenging to “convert” Brazilian dance steps into Zumba material without losing their uniqueness. Swaying to a gentle bossanova is too soft and gentle; samba can be too fast/complex/physical; and some moves are just a little too blush-worthy. Luckily songs like Magalenha are out there that are simply perfect for Zumba. Sergio Mendes is a very popular and prolific musician, with a successful career starting in the 60’s and continuing today. While his band Brasil 66 is probably the most recognizable, it was preceded by Brasil 65. Later came Brasil 77, Brasil 88, Brasil 99… Sometimes it’s best to keep it simple! Magalenha is sung in Brazilian Portuguese and I have not found a good translation. You can try this one.
Anyway, I base the beginning moves of the song on the ginga move from capoiera. This video is one of many entertaining capoiera videos on youTube and shows a lot of ginga! (starting about 1 minute in)
The rest of the moves are inspired by the powerful rhythms of samba reggae such as here:
I hope you are enjoying some Brazilian flavor with Magalenha. Remember the “samba side lunges” can be done half time if you’re not ready to step on the gas yet!
See you soon!