Half way through my first New York City summer, I'm proud to say I'm surviving just fine. In fact I kind of enjoy the heat and humidity, and the sweating doesn't bother me much. If anything it reminds me of Belém, the city in Northern Brazil where my love affair with the country began. Belém is in Amazonia, where it's hot year round and there are only two seasons: the rainy season and the less rainy season. It's hot and wet, and I love it.
Going out in this weather is even better. If you are going to dance, you will inevitably perspire, maybe even soak your clothes or smudge your make up. But who cares? It's a sign that you are having fun!
On Friday, I braved the heat and went to Canal Room with some friends to the Beleza NYC Samba party, where Cesar Vieira and Mistura Perfeita took the stage. I've seen a number of New York based Brazilian bands play, but none have played exclusively Samba. A beer in hand and alternating between samba and just moving my hips when I got tired, I felt as if I were back in Belém at a boteco with my girlfriends listening to samba pagode.
Samba pagode is a contemporary style of samba popular among young people, but Cesar Viera and Mistura Perfeita play traditional samba, as well. To kick off their second act, some of the percussionists from Mistura Perfeita joined Toca & Alé Alé Drummers on the floor and the MC corralled us all into formation around the bateria. I thought this was a sign that a pair of costumed samba dancers would strut into the room at any moment and give us a show. Instead when the bateria began to play, the MC lead people from the crowd into the middle of the circle one by one. This was becoming a traditional roda de samba. I'd never seen a roda out at a club in New York. This was something I did just in my Samba class, but it was cool to see it somewhere else. In fact, I actually recognized some of the top students from my class shaking it in the middle of the circle! Our teacher, Danielle Lima, would have been so proud.