I got into Samba dancing purely by chance but it really has made an enormous difference to my life.
I’d done some Latin American and ballroom dancing for a few years when I was young but it was only when I moved to Liverpool city centre that I discovered there was a dance class going on up the road, literally about two minutes away and I thought why not.
The class was run by a woman I’d seen dance before and had thought she was brilliant – she’s called Simone Reeves and she’s a fantastic teacher and friend.
After a couple of months she asked me to dance for her company, Viva Brasil, and the rest is history – four years later Samba is an enormous part of my life, even though I now live and work in Sheffield.
People think they know Samba because of Strictly Come Dancing but that’s very different, a Latin and ballroom Samba, all very measured and a toned down version.
What we do is Brazilian Samba, the real Rio Carnival sort of Samba, which is much more vibrant, much more expressive. You dance solo, with women dancing on their toes and men on their heels. When you see a group together all dancing with passion, there is nothing more uplifting – especially when it is to the beat of a bateria.
Viva Brasil always take part in Brazilica in Liverpool, which is the biggest celebration of Brazilian culture outside of Brazil; a carnival which is dedicated to all things Brazilian and South American. It’s a fantastic party atmosphere, which spreads across the city and attracts Samba groups from all over the world.
We also perform at Alma de Cuba in Liverpool every Friday and Saturday night and that’s a brilliant atmosphere, an old church that has been converted into a bar - we get everybody up and dancing.
Samba is ridiculously good for you. It’s extremely energetic and if you’re looking to get fit and healthy in a fun way it’s really great.
The great thing is that once you get into the costume it’s like discovering a complete altar ego.
My real aim is to go and dance Samba in Brazil with Simone – exploring the country with a guide who can show you the real Brazil would be a dream come true.