Dance your way around the world

The Sunday Telegraph - Travel - - Front Page -

Ear-split­ting. Erotic. Elab­o­rate. Samba – once an ob­scure African priest­ess ri­tual, now one of the most fa­mous dances on earth – is dif­fi­cult to ig­nore. On the sur­face it may seem all jan­gling per­cus­sion, jig­gling hips and skimpy get-up that glit­ters like Christ­mas lights. But squint and you’ll see it’s a cru­cial part of Brazil’s so­cial fabric. To see samba at its best, head to Rio Car­ni­val in Fe­bru­ary for spec­tac­u­lar street par­ties and fancy dress balls. The pièce de ré­sis­tance is a com­pe­ti­tion be­tween samba schools from across the coun­try in the hu­mon­gous 70,000-seater sam­badrome. Think Gla­di­a­tor with se­quins in­stead of swords. In the fi­nal run-up, these schools hold dance so­cials open to trav­ellers. Don a rhine­stone and feather plume out­fit and per­form at the main event if you dare.

A 10-day Brazil’s Car­ni­val Cel­e­bra­tions tour costs from £4,665 per per­son (in­clud­ing cos­tume hire to par­tic­i­pate in samba pa­rade), with in­ter­na­tional flights, ac­com­mo­da­tion, ex­cur­sions, trans­fers, samba les­son and Rio Car­ni­val ticket (01993 838610; au­d­ley­travel.com/ brazil).

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