The Best Places to Learn Samba in Rio De Janeiro

Samba dancer
Samba dancer | © Elisangela Leite|Riotur / Flickr
Sarah Brown

No music defines Rio de Janeiro better than samba. It’s the rhythm that endlessly courses down the city’s streets, putting a subtle shake in anyone’s hips. There is no better place to learn the tricky steps of samba than Rio de Janeiro, a city that’s home to some of the world’s most renowned samba dancers. Here are some of the best places in the city to learn samba.

Rio Samba Dancer

With lessons in English, Rio Samba Dancer tailors its classes to target travellers eager to learn samba. Lessons include social outings for individuals, couples or groups. The course begins by learning the basic footwork of samba, before taking students on a night out to a samba club in Lapa to test out their newly acquired skills.

Rio Samba Dancer, Condomínio do Edifício Central Ipanema, R. Visc. de Pirajá, 82 – Sala 104 – Ipanema, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, +55 21 98229 2843

1. Casa de Dança - Carlinhos de Jesus


Casa de Dança – Carlinhos de Jesus is an authentic samba school and considered one of the best in Rio, and it requires some level of Portuguese as all classes are in the local language. There are two types of samba classes: samba no pé, which is the traditional samba seen at the carnival parades, and samba de gafieira,or samba as a couple. The latter requires the man to lead and is regarded as easier than samba no pé. There are also forró classes, a popular type of music and dance from the northeast of the country, and zouk, a trendy Latin rhythm.

2. Dança CCC


Located in Rio’s bustling city centre, Dança CCC specialises mostly in samba de gafieira. It’s a great way for couples to learn samba together and allows an easier way of picking up the tricky footwork and fluid hip movement. The school also offers several other dance options, such as ballroom dancing, forró, ballet, and zouk. Classes run from Monday to Saturday and are reasonably priced.

3. Jaime Aroxa

Regarded as one of the best dance schools in Rio de Janeiro, Jaime Aroxa provides four separate studios and teaches samba, forró, tango, and bolero, among several other types of dance. Jaime Aroxa is one of Brazil’s most famous and remarkable professional dancers, and all the staff are trained under his guidance. The classes all take place in the evening in Botafogo, a region known for its busy nightlife scene, so students can practise the moves during the lesson and then try them out at a nearby dance bar or club.

Jaime Aroxa, R. Arnaldo Quintela, 22 – Botafogo, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, +55 21 2542 2040


This samba class with rdj4u comes as a package and is specifically designed with foreigners and visitors in mind. Students learn either samba or forró, as well as their significance in Brazilian history. After the class, students go out with the teacher to Rio Scenarium, one of Brazil’s best-known nightclubs, to practise their moves in a real-life setting. The three-storey building is lavishly decorated inside with antiques and vintage objects, and famously hosts established Brazilian singers and bands for unforgettable nights of national genres. These classes are an excellent way to meet fellow travellers, and they set the scene for a memorable night out.

For more info, visit the website or call +55 21 4042 9251

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