The Brazilian harvest festival, organized by students, featured music games and dancing.

Brazilian dance is now available at BYU-I

Story by Courtney Mason. 

Latin, swing, country and ballroom are well-known styles of dance available at BYU-Idaho, but now Forró is available, too.

Gustavo Iglezia, a sophomore studying communication, introduced a new form of dance to the BYU-I campus. As a native Brazilian, he is familiar with a style of dance called Forró. He said he wants everyone to join in and dance the night away with this simple, fun and exciting form of dance.

There is theory that suggests that forró is the derivative of the English ‘for all,’ according to the Buzzle.

Brazilian dance practice begins Tuesday, Feb. 16 from 7:30-9:30 p.m. in the Gordon B. Hinckley Building 286, according to the BYU-I Events Calendar.

Marilyn Johnson, the activities director and a junior studying English education, said Iglezia walked into the activities center with an enthusiastic desire to create this event. She said he had a purpose in mind to fulfill the activities stewardship statement.

“Social activities invite students to gather, develop socially, discover their capacity for success and obtain a lasting desire to help others recognize their own potential,” Johnson said.

Iglezia said he loved the idea of creating this event after learning about it at BYU Brazilian dance night.

“It was fun to reconnect with my culture,” Iglezia said. “It is a very safe and inviting environment. You just feel happy and relaxed.”

Iglezia said it was intriguing to watch how the students learned the movements of Forró.

“Students would learn and have fun at the same time,” Iglezia said.

Iglezia said he will be instructing Forró, which is similar to Zumba.

“There are three rhythms of Forró: xote (a slower-paced rhythm), baião (the original forró) and arrasta-pé (the fastest of the three), and amongst these, many styles of dancing, which varies from region to region,” according to Forró Dance, a website dedicated to informing people about Forró.

Iglezia said Forró is a mixture of dances, which makes it unique.

“It’s very fun and probably the easiest of all Brazilian partner dances to learn,” according to Brazil for Life, a website about Brazil.

Iglezia said this dance typically requires a partner, but dancers do not need to think of it as a date finder.

“This originates from the early twentieth century, during the build of the Great Western Railway in Brazil,” according to Iamforrozeiro, a website which describes the origin of Forró and the step and styles associated with it. “The British engineers, installed in Pernambuco, promoted parties open to the public, so ‘for all.’ This changed in the Brazilian vocabulary into ‘forró’.”

Iglezia said he proposed the idea to the activities center because it was different. He said it is simple and the steps are basic.

“They already have swing dance, ballroom dance and country dance, but they don’t have Brazilian dance, which is very different,” Iglezia said. “They loved it.”

Iglezia said the Forró dancing experience can truly only be captured   in person.

“He wanted an event on campus for all,” Johnson said. “You don’t have to be Brazilian. You can come and have fun with friends.”

Johnson said Iglezia’s goal is to provide all types of students at BYU-I with the opportunity to gather together and have fun.

“As college students, we get busy sometimes and go into stress mode, but sometimes we need to kick back and have fun in a good, wholesome environment,” Johnson said.

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