By Beatriz Miranda, Contributing Reporter
SÃO PAULO, BRAZIL – There is absolutely no doubt that São Paulo is Brazil’s (perhaps Latin America’s) top dance capital. Home to the new paradigms of the country’s dance scene, São Paulo is where local talents become internationally famous, where daring dance performances get standing ovations.
At the same time, São Paulo’s dance companies are getting more numerous and way more diverse, to the point where one could watch at least one different dance spectacle a week throughout the year. The capital’s eventful nightlife has become more appealing to those passionate about dancing.
For locals and visitors looking for a memorable dance night out, The Rio Times has selected the best night spots to have fun and shake the rumps in this fascinating metropolis.
A real São Paulo dance experience is only complete when one tries the steps of samba-rock, the city’s most authentic dance genre. Born in the late 1950s, within the ballroom of dance parties and family parties of São Paulo’s black communities, samba-rock is a hypnotizing blend of rockabilly, Lindy Hop and “samba de gafieira” dance steps.
Democratic and versatile, samba-rock plays a protagonist role in São Paulo’s black cultural scene. Thus, it is not at all hard to find samba-rock parties happening across the city. Among the various places one can dance samba-rock, make sure to check Casa das Caldeiras, a former factory from the 1920s, now acknowledged as São Paulo’s cultural heritage site. Located in Água Branca, São Paulo’s West Zone, the house is often hosting samba-rock or other Brazilian music events.
Another option to experience both samba-rock and traditional samba music in São Paulo is Vila do Samba, a pretty authentic show house in Northern São Paulo. Known for having already hosted Brazil’s consecrated samba legends, this irreverent spot is always attracting a crowd of locals.
It is simply impossible to stand still at Vila do Samba: during the shows or in the breaks, party-goers are moving non-stop – alone or in pairs – to the sound of Brazilian rhythms, from samba-rock to pagoda music.
If dancing samba is really your thing, you simply can’t go wrong with Samba do Sol, a live event that happens every Sunday, from 4 PM to 2 AM. A true samba marathon, Samba do Sol brings together the best samba groups and Brazilian music DJs from São Paulo.
In the intervals, dancing couples fill the empty spaces on the floor with virtuous samba-rock moves. What’s more, the beautiful audience that usually attend Samba do Sol is definitely what makes the event complete.
Although the rock culture is huge in Sâo Paulo, dancing to vintage rock music is not really a trend. However, the city has just the right place for rockabilly dance lovers: The Clock Rock Bar, located in the neighborhood of Perdizes.
Rock fans will absolutely fall in love with the bar, which often throws parties that celebrate rock music from the 1950s and 1960s. If you really feel like learning the moves, the Clock Rock Bar also offers Rockabilly and Lindy Hop dance classes.
As a truly cosmopolitan city, São Paulo’s got a bustling nightlife for the most diverse Latin rhythms one can think of. Alternatively, in the bohemian neighborhood of Vila Madalena lies Ó do Borogodó, a deliciously relaxed environment where partygoers can dance to the most various rhythms, including samba, forró, coco, among others. Ó do Borogodó promotes Brazilian music shows several days a week.
For dancing to the sound of the hottest Caribbean rhythms, make sure to check the bars Rey Castro, in Vila Nova Conceição; and Azucar, in Itaim Bibi. Both consist of an interesting bar-and-club combination, with resident DJs playing salsa, merengue, bachata, reggaeton, among other Caribbean genres.
If you feel like dancing to Latin music in more alternative spots, head to Al Janiah, in Bixiga, or Centro Cultural Butantã, in Butantã. A cultural center founded by Syrian refugees and immigrants, Al Janiah is frequently throwing Cuban parties, hosting DJs and bands from this country.
At Centro Cultural Butantã, one can easily find parties, shows, and classes dedicated to dances from Colombia or from Brazil’s northeastern States – specially Maranhão.
Speaking of which, one of Northeastern Brazil’s most typical dance genres, forró is largely spread across São Paulo. Thus, learning how to dance this genre is accessible to most people staying or living in the city. One of the most famous places for that is Canto da Ema, in Pinheiros, where one can take classes and enjoy forró shows several days a month.
Known as São Paulo’s most genuine place for the forró culture, Remelexo Brasil is another venue worth checking out. Open many days a week, Remelexo brings talented forró musicians to its stage and offers classes most of the days. For further options, check Andrade, in Pinheiros.
A must-go party for urban dance lovers, Discopedia, taking place in Centro, will probably blow your mind: it feels like the whole party has come out of the Netflix’ series “The Get Down”. DJs playing old school hip-hop in vinyl records and partygoers acting cool on the floor are only a part of the Discopedia experience. At Discopedia, it isn’t rare to spot youngsters doing break, vogue and house dance steps when the floor is on fire.