Victoria Point samba teacher Mishel Finlayson and students headed to Brazil for Rio Carnival

BRAZIL-BOUND: Mishel Finlayson will take two of her students to Rio to perform in Carnival. Photo: Luiz Brown
BRAZIL-BOUND: Mishel Finlayson will take two of her students to Rio to perform in Carnival. Photo: Luiz Brown

TWO Redlands samba enthusiasts and their teacher will head to Brazil to perform at Rio Carnival in February.

Mishel Finlayson - who teaches samba at Victoria Point - will take the pair on the Sambaliscious Rio and Bahia tour, where they will perform on a float at the world's biggest carnival.

Ms Finlayson made history last year when she was the first Australian to perform at the highest level of Rio Carnival as a muse - one of the dancers leading the processions.

"I have now been going to Brazil for the past 16 years and have performed eight times in Carnival," she said.

Katia Nowak, who will embark on the tour next month, said she had been learning samba for just six months, but had been involved in Latin dancing for about a decade.

"Brazilian samba music is a long-time favourite of mine," she said.

"It's happy and lively with (an) irresistible and contagious beat which immediately gets me up on my feet.

"My part in the Carnival this year is rather modest but I'm going to step up my samba training in the weeks remaining and there will be rehearsals and costume fittings when I arrive in Brazil.

"My husband and I are planning to focus on Brazilian music and dancing (during) the rest of the trip to Rio with its plentiful exciting live samba venues and to explore Rio's famous beaches, the historical center and national forest."

Ms Finlayson said she had run the tours for eight years and more than 200 of her students had performed on Carnival floats.

"(To prepare, students take part in) weekly classes, quarterly workshops with live drumming and a yearly event where they learn with dance teachers from around the world who I bring to Brisbane for my annual Australasian Samba Queen Competition held at Cloudland," she said.

"It's a full immersion into the Brazilian culture."

Ms Finlayson has been dancing samba for 20 years.

"I love that ladies of any age, body shape and fitness level can learn to samba and that it makes them feel more feminine, confident and alive," she said.

"It's also a wonderful way to bring women together for the shared love of health (and) wellness and allows them to learn about a new, exciting culture."

Ms Finlayson will teach a six-week course for beginners starting on Monday, January 13 from 7.30pm at Enso Yoga in Victoria Point.

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