As July heats up, our Guest Blogger Liani, Samba Queen talks Brazil, learning Samba & Skimpy Bikinis with Kinky Octopus!
I'm Liani, a Scientist by daytime and a Brazilian Samba Queen by night living in London. I’m originally from Santos (where football King Pelé comes from) in São Paulo state, Brazil.
Pele, The Legend
I moved to London in February 2010 to improve my English and maybe stay a bit longer to do a Doctorate. After three months in London, I met my husband, and now I call London my home. I’ve just finished my Ph.D. in Regenerative Medicine at King’s College London (yay!), where I also work as a Research Scientist.
Samba has always been part of my life but not the way it is today. I’ve started samba when I started walking, that’s how early some Brazilians start samba. While I was living in Brazil, I took part many times in Carnaval in Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo, and also Carnaval in Salvador (Bahia) and Olinda (Recife). Parading in Carnaval (from São Paulo to Bahia) is an overwhelming experience full of good energy and happiness. It’s something you should include in your bucket list.
Liani shakes a tail feather or 2 at Rio! Photo by Vinko Kalcic
In 2013, already living here in London, I decided to dedicate a bit more to samba. I joined a school called Paraiso school of samba and became a Passista (an elite samba group inside the school) then later, I became the Queen of the drums (one of the most prestigious positions for a Passista), and now I’m also one of the samba teachers there (we teach all levels from beginners to advanced). I also teach samba privately, and I cover samba classes at other dance studios around London. On top of that, I do professional shows with different samba groups in the UK. Besides, every year, I do Notting Hill Carnival, Brazilica in Liverpool, Carnival in Hackney and a few other festivals around the UK.
Carnival London-Style! Nottinghill Carnival 2017, photo by Tolga Akmen
Samba is an infectious and exciting Brazilian rhythm with different subgenres, from fast-paced Carnaval samba style to a more melody partner’s dance called Gafieira. In São Paulo, we have Pagode, a different variation of Samba with more lyricism and various instruments. Samba has so many styles, but in any of them, you’ll find passionate people singing along and dancing with a broad smile on their faces.
Samba has its origin from the combination of dances and drums brought by Africans that came to Brazil as slaves. It had (still has) religious meaning, and it has mixed with other instruments in Rio de Janeiro and Bahia in the nineteenth century. From there, it has evolved into what we know today, a mixture of rhythm with different styles depending on the region in Brazil.
Brazil’s culture is so diverse and vibrant. The country was built by the slaves brought from Africa by the Portuguese and the Spanish people. Then Italians, Germans, French, Lebanese and Turkish people came along with a massive influx of Japanese (especially in São Paulo). All those cultures influenced what samba and Carnaval are today - I feel so lucky for being Brazilian.
Sprinkle on those Sequins Liani! Photo by Dex L
For Brazilians, who love samba, like me, samba is part of our routine from an early age with more meaning than just a dance. Samba is a way of living. It’s how the Brazilian people communicate and expose their essence to the world. When Carnaval comes, Brazil stops to celebrate, get emotional and watch this fantastic show on Earth.
You have two ways to go in Samba, you can do it for fun as a dance fitness class, or you can take it further and join schools of samba, like Paraiso, and do carnival parades (here in UK/ Europe or even Brazil), where you can wear costumes (tiny bikinis or big dresses - up to you). The important part is having fun!
Samba gets Sexy Photo byNik Sfiry
To master the necessary level of samba, you’ll need dedication and a bit of patience. Natural rhythm helps but it’s not essential, commitment is. I would say it takes a good six months to get the fundamental step right and a good three years to make it better (advanced level). However, to parade with our school of samba, any level is welcome, we have a place for every level and guarantee great fun along the way.
Check out Liani's Samba in this video for Basement Jaxx!
If you want to have fun and learn our ‘Alegria de viver’ (happy lifestyle) while getting fit and healthy, you should be doing Samba. It’ll bring the best out of you; it could be your passion for movement or the music and the drums or for the people who love samba. Samba has a lot to do with femininity, confidence, and self-esteem. Also, with social events and community, it's a place where you can feel welcomed and belonged.
Photographer Nik Sfiry
You can find me on Instagram https://www.instagram.com/2fit_samba/ (private or group classes on request, any level), at Paraiso School of Samba www.paraisosamba.co.uk and ABIEIÉ DANCE http://www.irineunogueira.com/abieie-dance/
Now for bikinis… Does England make bikinis?! LOL… I love Brazilian bikinis, they are well made with an impressive Lycra, very resistant, and they fit much better than any other bikini I ever tried. My favourite? Small ones, triangle top and tie-side thong, they comfortably fit in any type of body and I like having a small bikini mark. Shop Kinky Octopus Black Thong Bikini here!
It may be sizzling in the UK this week but Independant Travel Expert & this week's Guest Blogger, Lara Haworth, is still swimming in the clear blue waters of Mykonos, Greece.....
Without a doubt the island of Mykonos is worth grabbing a swimsuit and jumping on the next plane to Greece!
Mykonos has something for everyone, it's not just a party island with all night parties
Tip: You’ll need four days to take it all in! So grab your suitcase and passport, because crystal-clear water is calling…
This week's Guest Blogger Abbie Curtis gets tough with the Fashion Industry.....
So what is Sustainable fashion all about?
Ibiza Fashion Festival returns to Eivissa’s white shores this week, bringing you the best in bohemian and ethical fashion.
KInky Octopus is sponsoring footwear at the week long festival - which starts this Thursday 7th june - with our Eco, reycled Gladiator Sandals flying the flag for Sustainable Recycled Fashion!
This week's Guest Blogger Ian Ashley, treats us to a Biddermouth on Sea Special Short Story
When the local department store brings in a new Swimwear range, efforts to slim down for a Leopard thong, hit super-charged levels amongst the redoubtable Ladies of Biddermouth on Sea..................................