Samba! Samba!

Manolo says, clearly the peoples who say you cannot dance in the shoes of the high heels have never heard of the Samba!

It isn’t surprising that shoes are an obsession with the beauties who grace Brazil’s Carnival parades — they’re generally the biggest things they wear below the neck.

Dancers at Carnival, the pre-Lenten bash that starts this weekend and ends on Ash Wednesday, say the higher the better for their towering heels, worn with soaring feathered head-dresses and little else but glittery patches, strategically placed.

Patches of strategic placement and Samba!

Dancers say the platform sandals, preferably with shiny straps and buckles that snake to the knee, help prevent them from tipping over and injuring their ankles while dancing the lightning-quick gyrations of the samba.

“Platforms are safer,” said Iris Sol, 28, a dancer for the drum section of the Barroca Zona Sul samba club in Sao Paulo.

“I’ve paraded with samba troupes since I was six, but the truth is that I was dancing samba when I was born,” she said.

From the very birth, Samba!

Sandals with platform heels push body weight onto the ball of the foot, where the samba is danced. Samba platforms go as high as 17 centimetres, or 6.6 inches. Heels are extra-wide.

“Platforms make women more beautiful, elegant and taller, with better posture. They help you stick out your chest and butt a bit,” said Magaly Santos, 22, Sao Paulo’s 2005 Carnival queen.

The culture of derrieres is so big in Brazil that GNT, a popular cable channel, produced a show about them in preparation for Carnival this year. Its title? “The National Passion.”

Big butts and Samba!

A display of samba sandals by Fernando Pires, who designs for top dancers, included eye-catching designs like swirls of red, yellow and orange leather resembling flames, and black heels topped with lanyards of fake diamonds and pink beaded jewels.

Carnival dancers put almond oil on their feet to prevent skin from cracking and splitting. But they say blisters are inevitable during hours of late night dancing to thundering drums.

“It hurts. You get blisters and feel pain but you samba a lot because you don’t want to stop,” said Michele Eleuterio, 20, of the samba troupe Unidos do Peruche.

You must sacrifice for Samba!

Everybody Samba! Samba! Samba!

8 Responses to “Samba! Samba!”

  1. Christina Jones February 25, 2006 at 11:40 am #

    Fantastic article, Manolo! I am a little embarassed to say, but I have a pair of shoes almost exactly like the black ones in the middle, and I love them! Do I samba? Nope. Maybe I should start… :)

  2. VeddyVeddyBadAng February 25, 2006 at 2:23 pm #

    Now we know where stripper shoes come from.

  3. Emma February 26, 2006 at 3:35 am #

    Yes – these shoes can be worn for dancing because of the strapping – you cannot slip with the heel. It is fixated in place. The shoes suggested for dinner and dancing earlier in the Manolo’s excellent blog, they cannot. It’s not the high heel, it’s the foot’s stability on top of the high heel.

  4. Tiberia February 26, 2006 at 1:49 pm #

    I could never walk in these shoes, let alone dance in them – but they’re really cool to look at – works of shoe art! More power to the samba ladies!

  5. Texasexile February 26, 2006 at 9:04 pm #

    High heels and a national celebration of big butts. Works for me! I am putting dancing the Samba in Brazil on my to do list!

  6. Ellen February 28, 2006 at 7:10 pm #

    So they love big butts in Brazil? Why oh why wasn’t I born in Brazil????

  7. jenny March 2, 2006 at 12:55 am #

    I’m afraid that my big booty wasn’t made for samba. Things would get a’ jigglin’ and the fellows at the Seismic Observation Station would panic and send out a red-alert.

  8. sambamama November 16, 2009 at 3:42 pm #

    Where can I get shoes like these?!