Passionate about Brazil, Leonie has had the opportunity to take charge of all stages of different projects during her professional career: from conception to feasibility analysis, through implementation of actions to reporting. Project coordination and logistical or administrative follow-up is the common denominator of her experiences in the cultural field (cultural events (music and cinema festivals, concerts, fairs), audiovisual (Arte), cinema (production)).
Sofia started dancing Forró in 2011 and very quickly this dance and community came to occupy a central place in her life. Between 2013 and 2015 she was one of the main organisers of the Forró de Lisboa Festival, creating the logo and graphic image of the project during those 3 years, being responsible for much of the festival’s communication and taking on many other functions and tasks within the organisation.
In 2015 she spent 6 months is Brazil, studying Forró as a dance, profoundly, and experiencing a bit more the Brazilian culture. She helped organise the Pé na Terra Festival of 2016 in Portugal and also a small festival in Belo Horizonte (Brazil), BH Forró Festival, that same year. She was also part of the organisation of the Forró de Domingo Festival, mainly in the graphic design department, between 2014 and 2018.
In the beginning of 2017 she came to London to open the first unit of the Pé Descalço school in Europe, together with one of the owners of the largest Forró school in the world, Cesar Neves de Almeida. Our school was born in May of 2017 and established as a company in February of 2018.
Since 2019 she also started teaching Forró in the school, with Cesar’s help and orientation.
Her background is in design, she has a (Masters) degree in graphic design and worked for 10 years in an advertising agency (Havas Worldwide) in Lisbon as a production artist and photo retoucher.
Sonja Graf is a Ph.D. candidate at ISCTE Lisbon University Institute and her research lies at the crossroads of anthropology, social psychology and neuroscience focusing on social dances and social cognition. She is the founder of the Social Dance Research Alliance, research non-profit with the mission of supporting and connecting researchers in the area of social dance across a variety of fields, and sharing this knowledge with a wider public. Sonja is also one of the original six members who created the European Forro Federation back in 2020.
Daniel is a Forró dance teacher living in Munich Germany.
I started dancing other dances in 2007.
When I met Forró in 2012 I fell in love immediately and since then only focused only on Forró. Starting in Cologne with Rudolfo and Thiago, I then lived in Düsseldorf and learned from Regina. Then one year in Berlin, a few festivals and then creating a Forro community in Kempten while living there for 2 years. Now living and teaching in Munich since a year and learning and organizing lessons for my students with Lukas Dumont and Felipe Raso from Belo Horizonte.
Talha is a digital marketer with an engineering degree from Bogazici University. He has been dancing Forró since he joined Forró Istanbul in 2017. Since then, he has attended Forró festivals in Europe, been part of Forró events, and taken responsibilities to make Forró better known in Turkey. Thanks to his enthusiasm for Forró music, he has been DJing at dance parties in Istanbul lately. Also, he plans to move to Brazil in late 2022 to improve his Forró dancing skills.
Matheus Antunes is a Forró dance teacher living in Germany.
Born in Belo Horizonte/MG, Brazil, he started having dance classes at Pé Descalço in 2012. Two years later, for the first time living abroad (Germany), he met several Forró Festivals in Europe, attending to workshops of teachers of many diverse styles, besides being a regular student for some time at Munique Dança Forró and for a year at Forró de Colônia, where he had his first guided teaching experiences in 2015.
In 2016, back in BH, Matheus started teaching at the university UFMG. And besides spreading his passion and knowledge about Forró, he started expanding it again in 2017 at the school Simbora Dançar, this time specially focused on a dance style commonly referred to as “roots”.
In 2018 he decided to move back to Germany, where he became teacher and vice-president at Forró de Colônia, even creating a new filial of the school in 2019 in Duisburg.
Finally, in the last quarter of 2021, Matheus is leaving this region in Germany (NRW) to find new adventures in his dance life in the capital, Berlin.
Given his nickname “Detetive” by his Capoeira master for his curiosity and rigour, Marcus came into contact with Forró and Brazilian culture in general when he started training Capoeira in 2002.
He has been a passionate dancer since his teenage years, influenced by various Brazilian, Latin, American and African dance styles. He met his friends and future Forró Vem Vem associates in the early 2010s, got more regularly involved in the Swiss Forró scene and started organizing Forró classes and events in Berne in 2013. When Forró Vem Vem was founded in 2015, he took over organizational and communication responsibilities in the group before becoming an official member of the Forró Vem Vem organization team in early 2016. He has been teaching Forró classes and workshops since 2018 and continues to organize Forró events, classes and workshops for and with Forró Vem Vem up to this day.
Raul Ortega Moral 🇪🇸Cultural Producer & Sound Technician
Raul started dancing forró in Valencia in 2014 with Rodrigo Cesar Menezes. In 2015, he helped to found the association Forró Valencia which works to spread and promote forró in Spain by organizing events such as “O Fole Roncou: Encuentro de Forró Mediterraneo”. In 2020, Raul was elected president of the association Forró Valencia and he represents the association with great enthusiasm and affection.
Raul graduated from UPV in visual arts, with a Masters in Artistic Practice specialising in Public Art. He studied the popular Afro-Brazilian culture of capoeira, with his thesis entitled “Between art and capoeira. Elements of relation.” He did three years of doctoral research into cultural and community production, focusing on forró and capoeira in Europe, although he was unable to complete the doctorate for personal reasons. He is also a sound technician, specialised in live sound and sound editing for audiovisual projects.
Sarah fell in love with forró while living in Milan and she hasn’t looked back since. Building on her experience in sports and language education, Sarah launched and started to teach forró classes in Brussels in 2014. She now teaches regular classes across multiple levels and two cities, as well as travelling all over Europe and beyond to teach at workshops and festivals. She is also one of the founders of the Be Forró association in Brussels, working to serve the growing forró community in the city.
Sarah’s belief that a teacher should be forever an enthusiastic student has led her to study with many teachers and dancers, both within forró and beyond (samba de gafieira, tango, body percussion, and more…) In particular, her initial work and partnership with Ricardo Ambrózio shaped her vision of forró, and more recent studies with Sheila Santos have significantly enriched her approach and methodology. Beyond these two crucial influences, Sarah has been privileged to be able to teach and study with many other talented teachers which has broadened her horizons and skills as both leader and follower.
This desire to learn and share her knowledge has also resulted in the creation of the Encontro Pedagogico in 2017 in collaboration with Emilie Gasia. This is an annual meeting of forró teachers to collaboratively discuss and enhance the quality of their work.
Sarah’s classes emphasise the importance of presence, connection with our partner and musicality. Musicality has in fact been one of the focal points in her teaching and research for many years now and has become one of the most requested topics from festival and workshop organisers. In the classroom, she also prides herself on (trying to!) achieve that oh-so-delicate balance between technique and creativity, precision and freedom, focus and fun.
Andrea Strandberg is one of the founders of Forró Stockholm. She is an active organizer and dancer in Stockholm, Sweden. Forró Stockholm is a nonprofit organization established in 2016. Its main purpose is to popularize forró dance and music in Sweden and to produce events with focus on forró.
Having its main audience in a small capital in the north of Europe, it has been important to the organization to invite collaborators of different schoolings, from a wide range of backgrounds. Their goal is to bring the warm and enchanting vibe of forró to their audience and spread the great atmosphere that made us fall in love with it!