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Brazilian Carnival: Music and Dance

Fast Facts

Sessions Offered:



Rio de Janeiro & São Paulo, Brazil




Participants must be in good academic standing, with a basic understanding of dance and movement skills or a willingness to learn.

Application Due:


Program Cost:

Click the Application tab.

This program offers students the opportunity to explore interdisciplinary and foundational learning in the areas of dance, design and music through interaction with and exploration of two main aspects of Brazilian popular culture: Samba and Carnival. Students gain first-hand experience with all aspects of preparation for Brazilian Carnival by exploring dance, music, historical and social contexts, production, critical theories of performance, religious backgrounds and theater making in the Carnival Parades, from current to centuries-old tradition.

Video From a Past Program

Academic Program

Through extensive literature, video presentations and practice of popular dances of Brazil, students will be exposed to one of the most important and influential expressions of popular culture in the world. The course will engage elements of literature, music, dance and design of the popular art of Brazilian Carnival. It will investigate the popular culture of Brazil, with emphasis on the local art of Samba and Carnival music and dance. The group will analyze various aspects present in this popular manifestation.

The course includes readings on a regular basis, on-site presentations followed by discussions, direct interaction with locals, guest presentations and practice of the Samba and other related Brazilian popular dances.

Students receive 3 sh of credit for successful completion of course work in the program. The credit does not duplicate the content of the Department of Dance course of the same title that is taught on campus. The on-campus course is 137:157:SCA Brazilian Carnival. The course taken in Brazil will appear on your UI transcript as a study abroad course, 165:894, Brazilian Carnival. Course credit earned on this program may be applied as general elective hours towards graduation, separate from Department of Dance course list. If you are hoping to fulfill specific Dance requirements, check with the Department of Dance to explore this possibility.

The exact program itinerary varies from year to year. A current itinerary, subject to modification, will be provided for participants prior to departure. A past program itinerary provides a good example of the kinds of activities one might expect on this program in any given year:

doc2010-2011 Program Itinerary

Cultural Activities

The group will also take one excursion to São Paulo at the beginning of the program to visit the Afro-Brazilian museum and other important sites of this city.

Program Dates for 2014-15

Program dates for 2014-15 are December 27, 2014-January 18, 2015.

Note that program dates are the dates you will arrive in and depart from Brazil. Travel time may mean that you actually leave and return to the US a day earlier and a day later.

For More Information

Questions about the academic content of the program can be directed to Faculty Director Armando Duarte, Professor, Department of Dance:


Situated on the continent of South America, Brazil is the largest country on the continent and the fifth largest in the world. This enormous country is known for it's rich cultural history, dazzling beaches, immaculate rain forests and incomparable metropolises. Owing to the country's continental dimensions, varied geography, history and people, the Brazil’s culture is picturesque and diverse. It has several regional variations, and in spite of being mostly unified by a single language, some regions are so distinct from one other that they appear to be different countries altogether. With so much diversity to discover, it's little surprise that Brazilians often say 'Deus e Brasileiro' (God is Brazilian).

São Paulo

São Paulo is the largest city in Brazil and is among the five largest metropolitan areas in the world. The city is know as "Sampa" and is know for its diverse international population, architecture, and cuisine.

Rio de Janiero

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil’s second largest city, lies on the southern Atlantic coastline. Flanked by stunning mountains, white-sand beaches and lush rainforests, Rio occupies one of the most breathtaking settings of the world’s great cities. Rio is home to Brazil’s world-famous Carnival celebrations, where samba music and dance are enjoyed by locals and visitors alike. Carnival and New Year's Eve in Rio are renowned to be the most spectacular festivals in the world. There is always a celebration happening in Rio, whether it’s an impromptu music jam in the street, festivities at soccer matches or a weekend Samba party. It truly is a city full of life!

Living Arrangements

Students will be housed in centrally located hotels in Rio and São Paulo.

Travel Arrangements

Confirmed participants will be given a suggested itinerary to book. Please do not make travel arrangements to and from Brazil until you receive instructions to do so. You need a passport to travel. If you do not have one or need to renew an old one, do not delay in doing so!


Participants must be in good academic standing, with a basic understanding of dance and movement skills or a willingness to learn. Undergraduate and graduate students are encouraged to apply. A declared major, minor or strong interest in any of the following areas is suggested: Dance, Music, Theater Arts, Performing Arts, Sociology, Anthropology, African American Studies, Latin American Studies or Spanish and Portuguese.


The program fee for winter 2014-15 has been set at $5670. This fee includes tuition and fees, housing, private ground transportation, the cost of cultural activities & excursions, and health insurance.

Airfare, meals, visa and personal expenses are not included in the program fee.

To see a total estimate cost of participation, see the program cost sheet here.PDF

How to Apply

After August 5, you can find the application for this program on our website by clicking here.

Application Deadline



Video From a Past Program

Mandatory visa meeting:

We will announce mandatory visa meeting times after the program deadline

Mandatory pre-departure orientations:

We will announce mandatory pre-departure meetings after the program deadline