“It was very clunky”, says the icon of the Beija-Flor who sambaed with King Charles

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The new monarch of the United Kingdom, King Charles III, has moments in his history when he demonstrated Brazilianity – or at least tried to.

On his first visit to the country, in 1978, the then prince of British royalty visited some capital cities, such as São Paulo, Manaus, Brasília and Rio de Janeiro.

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In Rio de Janeiro, at the age of 29 and single, Charles took the opportunity to get to know a little about Carnival and watched a performance by Beija-Flor – the great champion of that year.

It was in this engagement that he broke protocol, approached the samba dancers and risked a few dance steps with a Brazilian woman. The Brazilian, in this case, has been an icon of the school for decades – the highlight Pinah Ayuob.

“It was very awkward”

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“He came to dance, it wasn’t me who went to dance with him”, the samba singer remembers smiling in an interview with CNN.

She says that Elizabeth II’s son “was very clumsy” and tried to put on some “charleston” steps in the middle of the samba school.

The charleston is a popular dance rhythm that emerged in the 1920s in the southern United States, characterized by somewhat frantic movements, with legs swinging in a kicking motion (see below).

“I started to want to imitate him, but the samba with charleston didn’t work out very well. If you watch the images, you can see me clumsy too”, she jokes.

The presentation situation to authorities was nothing new for Pinah. She recalls that at that time, Beija-Flor was very successful – in 1978, the school was champion for the third year in a row – and dancing for royalty became a habit.

“Beija-Flor won almost all the titles. I danced for the King of Morocco, of the West Bank, King of Spain, but Charles was the one who had the biggest impact”, says Pinah.

“I didn’t know who it was at the time”

She recalls that the carnival artist Joãosinho Trinta, who signed the plots of Beija-Flor at the time, had passed on a strict security scheme to the more than 800 people who danced for Charles.

“He [Charles] came at the invitation of the mayor of Rio and wanted to see what Carnival was, because he only saw it on TV. In that, Joãosinho made a parade as if it were the avenue [do sambódromo]”, explains Pinah.

Then-Prince Charles dances with Beija-Flor standout Pinah Ayoub in Rio de Janeiro in 1978.

“Charles used to be on the balcony of the palace [sede da Prefeitura do Rio] ahead and Joãosinho gave a circulation limit [para as sambistas]”, he adds.

Pinah says that “suddenly, as he passes by, a guy comes along – on top of that with charleston steps”.

Due to the strictness of the protocols around the prince, she did not think it could be Charles at that moment: “I thought he was a security guard, because he had so many recommendations that I could not get close to him, I could not touch him because he is the future King of England.”

“The next day, my mother woke me up saying: “What have you done to my daughter? There’s a lot of press at the door.” Then I found out who I had danced with,” she says, amid laughter.

Then-Prince Charles dances with Beija-Flor standout Pinah Ayoub in Rio de Janeiro in 1978.

Meeting with Prince Harry in 2012

Decades later, already married and living in São Paulo, in 2012, Pinah once again crossed her path with British royalty.

Prince Harry was in Brazil for a number of agendas, including promoting the London Olympics, and there was a dinner in São Paulo.

She was a special guest for the event, which had 50 people. “I went with my husband, and he [Harry] It was super polite,” he recalls.

Source: CNN Brasil

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