Updated: Jun 4
Where do you find inspiration for your dance ? Do you ever look to traditional and cultural Afro dances for inspiration for urban dance ? And if you do, how do you explore that inspiration?
As someone who loves footwork and hip movements, Brazilian Samba is a personal favorite. I first discovered Samba some 10 years ago via YouTube videos and I was immediately intrigued. How did the dancers move their feet so fast? how did they move their hips so fast, without getting cramps? And how did they parade for so many hours with such high energy and appear not to fatigue?
What blew me away most was the fast footwork combinations of male sambistas. I was familiar with footwork from House dance, but the speed and precision of the footwork in Samba was on another level. Add in the rapid frantic live samba music, and the whole thing is mesmerizing.
As I watched more and more videos of sambistas gliding across the floor executing spins, and combos in rapid speed, it dawned on me that the footwork and movement of Samba is transferable to other styles. I needed to learn it, to understand the culture and to be able to incorporate it into my personal style. More importantly I saw a benefit in learning cultural dances and using them as inspiration to guide my movement in urban dance. One can argue that Samba can be considered an urban dance; after all it came into form in the marginalized urban centers of Rio de Janeiro. For me cultural dances represent the foundation of our cultures and are excellent representations of perseverance. Many of these cultural dances have survived hundreds of years of repression, yet still they strive.
Mayombe Masai is one of those mesmerizing sambistas that caught my eye and inspired me to continue pushing my own creativity. I love his execution, how light he is on his feet, the turns, the sway of the hips to guide the movement, and his ability to improvise and let the music dictate his flow. For me his dance stands out!
We are excited to share our collaborate with Mayombe. This collaboration is an excellent example of connecting Afro cultural dances with urban dance. We challenged Mayombe to dance Samba to Angolan Afrohouse and he didn't disappoint.
Checkout our collaboration with Mayombe and let us know what you think! Do you currently use Afro Cultural dances in your urban dance?
Follow Mayombe on Instagram.