Dance your way around the world
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).