Just a few months ago, Brazzil ran an article by this writer describing
a highly popular forró-themed night that has been taking place
for about a year at a small club in New York's Lower East Side.
The demand for Brazilian-influenced
events has since grown here. Anyone who appreciates the sounds and colors
of Brazil no longer needs to go to a specific Brazilian community or to a
club like Greenwich Village's SOB's to find what he or she likes.
Such parties have been
popping up in various locations throughout the city. The latest addition to
this trend is Samba at The Gallery, an event promoted by Trey Parker of Spicemedia
The event, which begins
at around 6:00 PM, attempts to catch the spirit of South America's largest
nation featuring music, food, samba and lessons, dance shows and other attractions
throughout the night.
The Gallery is located
on the ground floor of The Gershwin Hotel in the Flatiron District of Manhattan.
The club, which consists
of what was formerly part of the hotel's lobby, was recently converted into
a comfortable upscale-looking bar/lounge space. (A personal note: the Gershwin
was the first place I stayed in New Yorkstill as a touristin the
winter of 1999)
The night begins unpretentiously
enough: a buffet featuring regional Brazilian delicacies is served on a hot
plate for all present. The main dish varies: one night there was a feijoada,
while the last time I was there, baião-de-doisa tasty
northeastern recipe consisting of rice, beans and other ingredients was on
the menuand a list of drink specials is listed at the bar.
Meanwhile, DJ Stylus,
who specializes in Brazilian music, spins a variety of songs which range from
selections from Getz/Gilberto collaborations to samba/funk mixtures and sounds
from Escolas de Samba (Samba Clubs).
At around 8 p.m., the
dance classes begin in the club's back room. Samba or axé are
usually offered first, while salsa takes over until around 10 p.m.
It is quite humorous to
see so many Americans, Europeans and Asians trying to pick up basic steps
of the various dances. The club has few Brazilians in attendance. The crowd
is definitely made up of mostly young Manhattanites.
The night's attractions
happen at around 10:30. Two beautiful dancers, wearing skimpy outfits, are
brought in by the event's promoter and perform a samba show. Many on the audience
ogle at them, and that is just another ingredient of their performance.
The show lasts for about
20 minutes, and then the dancers invite members of the audience to dance with
them. On a recent night, I was the first to be pulled onto the dance floor,
and made a fool of myself as my two left feet tried to keep up with the dancer.
DJ Stylus keeps it going
hot by spinning sambas to dance to, and few people remain seated as the night
There are also other dance
shows not related to anything Brazilian, such as belly dancers and other performers.
Event promoter Trey Parker
has told us that he also plans to include live bands and other attractions.
"It's a work in progress," he said.
Samba at The Gallery
Wednesdays at The Gallery
27 East 27th Street
New York NY 10016
For more information, log on tohttp://www.spicemedia.net/samba_gallery.html
Ernest Barteldes is an ESL and Portuguese teacher. In addition to that,
he is a freelance writer who has regularly been contributing The Greenwich
Village Gazette since September 1999. His work has also been published
by Brazzil, The Staten Island Advance, The Staten Island
Register, The SI Muse, The Villager, GLSSite and
other publications. He lives in Staten Island, NY. He can be reached at