Never underestimate the power of Caprinhas – and a good geography lesson

Last week I found myself in Favela Chic near Old Street – a Brazilian bar and restaurant decorated in the style of a shanty town. On one of their famous Friday nights, a silver fox was hitting the DJ booth, and the caprinhas and tequila shots were flowing like it was just another night in Rio.

Amongst my friends I am famous for having only one dance move: one arm in the air as I wiggle my bum up and down to a beat, often not the one playing, but a beat all the same – and yet Favela Chic moved something more within me; suddenly, I was a salsa dancer extraordinaire.

“Do you dance Brazilian?” whispered an Italian in my ear.

Whilst heated bodies danced by the dim light, I danced through countries and cultures.

And then, I saw him. I moved towards him, and in the crowded corner venue our bodies dripped in sweat as the Franco-Brazilian beat thumped through our spines and into our fingertips; when we touched electricity ripped through us. Drawn together from across the room, we used no words to bring us closer. Simply a desire to escape through the beat. Our bodies touched, and my back brushed against his chest in a sweaty mesh of fabric, skin, and the compressed air between us. Electricity coursed through the momentary connection. We looked up to the lights, mesmerized, caught in that moment.

Another caprinha was needed to fuel the speed of my new-found dancing ability, and I collapsed at the bar.

[quote_right] Our bodies dripped in sweat as the Franco-Brazilian beat thumped through our spines and into our fingertips [/quote_right]

“My friend is from Lisbon”. My dance partner had a wingman, it seemed.
Great! I thought. I can brush up on my language skills.
I danced my way over.
“Hola, que tal?”
“Why are you speaking Spanish to me?” my beautiful dancer retorted.

I giggled in the sort of alcoholic confusion we all get after too many cocktails and too many hormones. I brushed off the angry remark and danced closer. He gripped my hands tight, intertwining my lurid yellow nail polished nails with his fingers and then he let go. Before I uttered another word I watched as he disappeared into the night, out onto the streets of Shoreditch.

Later, I asked my friend, “Where is Lisbon again?”
“Portugal, why?”
“Oh shit. No wonder they were angry at me speaking to them in Spanish”.

As I made my way back the rain was percolating down the windows of the train – a crude reminder of the unrelenting and unrefined power that washes Shoreditch of its sins. The beauty of the rain is that it washes last night’s discrepancies, creating a fresh palate and a clean slate.

I left the club with a sweaty back and dented pride, (and no one’s number) but a thorough belief that at Favela Chic – with enough caprinhas – anyone can dance like a pro.