Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Someone once said my samba show was 'cute'. I proceeded to unfollow them on all social media.

Someone once said to me in real life that my samba performance was "cute". I said 'thanks!' and proceeded to unfollow said someone on all social media.

Cute. Practicing for hours outside of class for years until I got my first samba gig. And continuing to study, adding ballet, Afro Brazilian, vogue and several other types of dance to my repertoire so that I could really consider myself a "dancer." Studying samba videos, studying with every Brazilian I could get my hands on. Suffering through Dunham Technique with Ned Williams so I could get stronger. But my samba is 'cute'. Cute??!!!!!!??? WTF do you mean cute?!! I lived in Brazil, I learned to speak Portuguese. I play several Brazilian percussion instruments. I studied the history of samba and various sub genres of samba and rhythms. I've taught samba dance for years. But this is 'cute'. Does this look like a game, people?!!? I put in honest work to make my performance authentic, beautiful and real. After 10 years in the game, I feel like I can honestly say, eu sou o samba: I am samba. Everyone who sees me dance says it's obvious that what sets me apart is, I love this! Cute is a puppy or a kitten. Cute is the dude at the coffee shop you have a crush on. Your outfit at work today is cute. My samba is LIFE.

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

The Time I lied to Bebel Gilberto

Look, I normally don't lie about being Brazilian. I really have no reason to do so. Unless I'm being paid.

(Is that effed up?)

Anyway, I once had a gig years ago at a highbrow fundraiser for this Endometriosis Foundation at the New York Public Library in Manhattan. The job entailed me greeting guests while dressed in my samba costume before performing a dance number with some other dancers. The hiring dancer let me know that if anyone should ask, to say that I was Brazilian because the client was particular about that. I agreed, doubtful that I'd have to interact with any of the guests enough to reveal so much.
And of course, within the first few minutes of holding my post at the entrance, who arrives but Bebel Gilberto, internationally known Brazilian songstress and daughter of the legendary Astrud Gilberto.

Bebel Gilberto

At that point I wasn't aware that we were to perform alongside her as part of the entertainment that evening.
Bebel struck up conversation with the hiring dancer and myself, and asked almost immediately if we were Brazilian. The hiring dancer said "yes" for both of us while I just smiled. Then Bebel approached me and started asking about what I do for exercise and whether I was Brazilian. I couldn't even muster a lie about my parents being Brazilian. I said 'no' and she gave me a dirty look and expressed disdain about the practice of people lying about being Brazilian and performing Brazilian music and dance and getting paid for it.
But!!...I didn't even get a chance to explain. I didn't have the gall to interrupt her rant and she proceeded to the green room before I could. I think she overheard me speaking Portuguese later in the green room and was confused, or liked me less. I don't know. Come to think of it, I didn't exactly lie outright to her, but sort of lied by silent consent...
But honestly. I don't walk around lying to people that I'm Brazilian on the regular. It's just one of the questions I get the most, and folks don't even believe me when I tell them I'm not. And in this case, I was just following orders.

A group photo from that night. I didn't want to stand next to her.

Batida & Afro 2K17

My batida obsession endures, as I continue looking for the perfect beat. Check out this high energy mix of batida and a few Afro house heaters (including my mashup/edit of Bodak Yellow).


"Guitarras 2k17" (OriginalGuetto) DJ Wayne DJ Anderson
"Karanganhada" DJ Bboy
"Ghetto Sunset 2k17" (Original Mix) CiroFox x MixBwe
"Depois do Eclipse" Shaka Lion
"Neptunus Remix" DJ Puto Anderson DJ Puto Marcio
"Sentah" (KKing Kong Remix) Mina
"2F 2745 2016" Bubas Produções
"[nOVO ANO] PRA VOCS VOl.02 Deejay K30
"Nguru" x "Bodak Yellow" blend
"Mandokoloma" (Original Mix) Freddy da Stupid ft Team Pastilha Soul Musiq
"Kilobo" Nídia
"Laranjas" DJ Maboku

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Beat of Life: a Sambafied Dance Party

Keeping samba alive in Harlem NYC! Rare grooves, live percussion, samba, afro samba, future samba and more for the dance floor. Pass through if you're in town.

Friday, May 12, 2017

The New Afro Hair Movement in Brazil

I was happy to come across this short documentary looking at Afro Brazilian empowerment through cultural affirmation in recent months. The Afro Brazilian heritage of South America's largest country is one of the reasons I got so taken with Brazil in the first place, so to see young people claiming what's been marginalized historically is refreshing, to say the least. I appreciate that the established cutting edge fashion magazine i-D published this piece and included an interview with Nayara Justino, the actress/model dethroned from the title of Globeleza carnival queen for supposedly being "too black".

Monday, April 10, 2017

NYC: I Just Wanna Dance!

You before samba dance class:

You before dance class with Are You Brazilian?™

You after samba dance class:

You after dance class with Are You Brazilian?™ Leticia Taylor samba dance NYC

Sometimes all you wanna do is dance. So come do that Uptown on April 20th! Let samba be your high ;). I'll be teaching a samba dance class, you get a caipirinha, and you get to rock with global beats and rhythms the rest of the evening. RSVP now, space is limited for the dance class.
We'll be rocking at Boteco Brasil in Harlem, the only authentic Brazilian botequim Uptown.

I Just Wanna Dance

Afterwork Global Dance Rhythms & More
Thursday April 20th
7:00p - 10:00p
Samba Dance Class 7:00 - 8:00p (RSVP required)
Boteco Brasil 1469 5th Ave between 118th/119th Streets
RSVP: http://bit.ly/JustWannaDance

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

STFU and Dance

Sometimes, that's just the best thing to do. Okay, all the time. Enjoy and share this quick mix featuring contemporary dance music from Brazil, Angola and Portugal. See full tracklist below.

“15 Barras” DJ Nigga Fox
“Abertura do Jogo” Os Batuqueiros
“Fighting Spirit” Boddhi Satva
“Samba” Sarz ft. Wizkid
“Baile de Favela” MC João
“Baile de Favela” (Afro Remix) DJ Malvado ft. Homeboyz
“Carnaval” DJ NinOo
“Axibangonfu” DJ NinOo
“Sarra Para Direita” (AfroFunk Mix) JackBass
“African Groove” (Original Mix) DJ Lilocox and DJ Nax
“Sapolo Gi” Staff Paulo