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  Workshop Descriptions (2017):

  • Orixas movement with Dandha da Hora

The gods of the Afro-Brazilian Candomblé religion are called Orixás. Dance, drums and song are the basic elements in its religious ceremonies. These rhythms and dance movements are used in dance lessons, stage performances and other non-religious contexts, and are used regularly in folklore events in Brazil.

  • Afro-Brazilian Dance with Dandha da Hora

The Afro-Brazilian dance incorporates Afro-Brazilian roots and the rhythms of samba in the tradition of the famous blocos afros (carnaval groups) from Salvador, Bahia.

  • Samba Reggae with with Dandha da Hora

Samba-reggae is a music genre from Salvador, Bahia, derived as a blend of Brazilian samba with Jamaican reggae. Samba-reggae arose in the context of the black pride movement that occurred in the city of Salvador de Bahia, around the 1970s. Samba-reggae has given rise to a style of African-influenced dance derived from Afro-Brazilian and candomble dance moves. In a social setting, samba-reggae dances tend to be done in a follow-the-leader fashion, with a few skilled dancers initiating moves in a line in front of the crowd, and the whole crowd then following along.

  • Bateria Drumming Intro Class (Teens and Adults) with Carl Dixon

This workshop will introduce participants to the instruments, techniques, and rhythms of Brazilian samba music, focusing on the samba material played by Bateria Alegria, the percussion ensemble from the Boulder Samba School. With up to eight different samba percussion instruments to choose from, there is something for everyone. Jump in and learn to play samba. No experience needed.

  • Advanced Samba/Pagode Music Workshop with Ronaldo Andrade

This class is meant for those who have studied pagode samba extensively, and students will bring their skills to this ensemble setting. For a more basic class covering the fundamental rhythms of pagode samba, please see our Intro to Pagode workshop.

  • Intro to Samba/Pagode Music Workshop with Francisco Marques

This samba percussion workshop is ideal for those students who have little or no experience singing in Portuguese or playing traditional Samba/Pagode instruments. In this class you will learn the fundamentals of playing samba with traditional Brazilian samba instruments: the cavaquinho, pandeiro, rebolo, tantan, tamborim, reco-reco, repique de mao, and ganza.

  • Orixás Talk with Carmen Nelson

The Dances of the Orixás are extracted from gesture and interpretation of “Orixas” – Forces and elements of nature, honored by Brazilians. It is important to notice that the dance classes are taught strictly as a dance form, outside of the sacred space of the Candomblé religion. I want to share with you my deep respect for the enslaved Africans that brought their dances, song, and drumming to Las Americas. Their spiritual connection with the Orixás, sustained them in their very painful Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade.


Ronaldo Andrade image 2015Ronaldo Andrade wasborn and raised in Brazil, where he became a samba vocalist and true master of cavaquinho, guitar, and percussion. He has been on the faculty of California Brazil Camp for several years, and regularly performs in New York City with his band Turma do Samba and around the US. Now with a collection of songs on iTunes, Ronaldo will bring his repertoire of pagode-style samba and original compositions to Colorado.

Dandha reduced pic Dandha da Hora: Born and raised in Salvador, Bahia, Dandha has been a member of Ile Aiye, one of Brazil’s most important musical and cultural institutions, since she was 6 years old. She brings the incredible spirit of Salvaldor and of Ile Aiye to SambaDá and we are lucky to have her! A master dancer as well as vocalist and percussionist, Dandha honors the incredible gifts of her culture everytime she performs. As a lead dancer with Ile Aiye, Dandha has shared the stage with Brazilian stars such as Caetano Veloso, Gilberto Gil and Daniela Mercury. As well as performing with Ile Aiye and SambaDá, Dandha teaches Afro Brazilian dance all over the San Francisco Bay Area. 

Francisco Marques is actively engaged in the creation and dissemination of Brazilian music in the Rocky Mountain area has played with a multitude of Brazilian music ensembles based out of Boulder, CO. Born in São Paulo, Brasil, he was raised in the Washington D.C. area and graduated from Colby College in 2000 where he received a BA in Music with a focus on classical guitar. He has been playing in the Boulder area since June of 2000 with many bands in a variety of styles. Francisco passionately teaches samba and pagode workshops in Boulder, and leads the student performance ensemble Chegando Lá. Francisco also is a member of Brazilian music bands Sambadendê and Ginga, also featured in Colorado Brazil Fest. For more info: 

Carl Dixon image 2015Carl Dixon is the director of Bateria Alegria and the lead instructor of the Boulder Samba School.  He is a professional percussionist, and holds degrees in percussion performance from the University of Colorado-Boulder (MM) and the University of Wisconsin-Madison (BM). Carl performs with the Brazilian music band GingaBesides Brazilian music, Carl plays in professional orchestras, jazz and world music ensembles, teaches percussion and world music at the University of Colorado-Boulder, and teaches private lessons in all styles and percussion instruments.  For more information, visit

Carl Dixon image 2015 Carmen Reina Nelson, a native of Guatemala, introduced Boulder population (1991) to the popular dances and culture of Latin America. For the next 25 years, Carmen taught dance classes, performed regularly with her Grupo Macondo, served as artist-in-residence, created the first Afro-Latin dance festival, sponsored visits by inspiring teachers and served as Latin American Projects Coordinator for local festivals. Carmen says, “I have always been very aware of how the dances of Afro-Caribbean Portuguese and Hispanic cultures are a cooperative expression of community, not an endeavor to achieve awards or win competitions. Dance is meant to nurture the spirit, not the ego.” She has become interested in the religious and cultural roots of contemporary popular dance throughout Latin America, and in particular Cuba and Brazil. Her teachers, Rosangela Silvestre and Richard González, instilled in her a deep respect for these traditions, and inspired her to further study how movement was historically transformed into what we know today as “popular dance.” She has traveled to Cuba and Salvador de Bahia with research teams from the University of Colorado in order to begin conducting some of this work. She aims to share her knowledge of these wonderful traditions.