From-Moscow-With-Love: How this pretty Russian plans to change Samba in Rio

Juliana Titaeva can be mistaken for one of Russia’s pretty models but she’s not into modeling. The certified business analyst has told tales of how she plans to samba herself to stardom all the way from Moscow to Rio in Brazil.

She says anyone can do the same, if they put their hearts in it.

The Russian beauty explained she has always dreamed of taking part in Rio’s legendary carnival. Her interest in samba was tickled after watching the carnival on television five years ago.

At the end of this February, the Brazilian city will play host to hundreds and thousands of visitors.

According to the organizers of this long-awaited, crazy and wild dance adventures, a famous band known as Ala de Passistas, a popular group of dancers which always go on sapucai, will play prominent roles at the event.

Many dancers – locals and foreigners like Juliana, are reportedly rehearsing and patiently waiting for the aha moments.

Portela’s school of samba has won a record total of 21 samba titles even though it hasn’t won any since 1984.

With the arrival of Russia’s Juliana, hope has been rekindled at the school. The 27-year-old is a “natural samba,” said Nilce Fran, the coordinator for Ala de Passistas.

“Juliana is a real discovery! When somebody has a sense of rhythm, emotion, the power of desire, everything turns out well. In the end, it wasn’t Juliana who asked to join us at Portela, it was I who invited her,” Fran said.

“She has fire, she has grace, and she is here with us.

Juliana found a samba teacher in Moscow, and she’s ready to take Brazil by storm with the knowledge at her disposal. Her 5-week lectures will end before the carnival begins.

“For five years I dreamed of going to Rio, but I couldn’t do it because of my career. But last year I was able to travel to Rio and see the carnival,” the Russian beauty said.

“Of course, for me it was something amazing because Brazil always seemed a country far away and unreal, but a year ago I saw it all, my dreams came true.

“I dropped everything, literally left within a week, arrived there and came to Nilce’s audition. We had three meetings. At the end she said, ‘you can be a passist (street dancer), I accept you, come in January,” Juliana said.

“The first rehearsals began immediately, I went ‘from the ship to the ball.’ They weren’t even at the school, but on the street straightaway, in Madureira.

“I had trained for about half a year in the dance hall, I can’t say that I felt confident in Moscow but my samba teacher told me not to worry, said that when I come there will be a completely different atmosphere, different energy, live drums. She was right.

“The samba is a purely African dance, it’s purely a trance. The main thing is to understand the energy, because it’s pure energy and it’s infectious – that’s why Brazilians, even the ones who are playing the drums, they are in a trance,” Juliana said.

“It is necessary to understand that and another thing: so many girls are trying to learn a lot of combinations, jumps, and all that. In fact, the most important thing is ‘samba in the foot,’ (samba no pé). That is, the basic step. I am convinced of this, because when I tried to do more of the combinations (in Moscow), analysis was constantly written on my face: what move to make next, for example.

“But when I came here, I realized that is really unnecessary. I mean, I can do some combinations and jumps and everything I was taught and that’s all beautiful, but people really start to join in, clap and enjoy it when we do the basis steps,” the Russian model adds.

5 thoughts on “From-Moscow-With-Love: How this pretty Russian plans to change Samba in Rio

  1. Everything is grate in the article. I am graduated as investment analyst, but work in PR sphere now. Ala de passistas is a traditional part of every samba school, where the most talented men and women from community of this school dance samba. And this ala dances in school and goes on Sapucai. There are no foreigners besides me and one Japanese girl. I don’t have any lectures in Portela now, i just participate in rehearsals and parties with everybody. Guys, thank you very much for attention, it is a pleasure…