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Your Guide to the Exciting World of Samba Dancing

The Samba is one of the most beautiful and sexy dances the world has known – it is rich with the sultry, warm movements of the Latin culture.

While we would all like to master the Samba as easily and expertly as renowned dancer, choreographer and Strictly Come Dancing judge Craig Revel Horwood would, the following guide will help you get started with a useful overview of this exciting dance style.

Origins of Samba

The Samba dance originally developed in Brazil during the 19th century as an expression of joyous celebration and freedom. Although this dance style was first introduced in 1917, it only gained mainstream recognition in Brazil as a form of ballroom dance in 1930.

The term for Samba dancers is Sambista. Traditionally, the Brazilian Samba is generally performed as a dance solo – this is particularly popular to this day during the famous Carnival celebrations. It is the festive mood of the dance that has ensured its enduring popularity.

In terms of an international presentation of professional dancing, the Samba is one of the five main Latin competition dances. Done in the arena of ballroom competitions, the Samba can be made up of many different South American styles combined into one.

Main Dance Movement Characteristics

Following from the original solo Samba, ballroom Samba choreographed with partners is defined by a fast tempo that necessitates fast footwork. In a nutshell, the main method of the Samba dance is to take quick steps on quarter beats combined with a sensual, swaying hip motion. This is called the “Samba Bounce Action” – it is this rhythmic style felt through the knees and ankles which gives the dance its trademark look and feel.

The essential footwork of the Samba also includes rapid, three-step weight changes with a slight knee lift, done with alternating feet. Distinctive steps include such terms as Voltas, Bota Fogos and the Samba Strut.

Samba dancing is also characterised by building to a dramatic peak, which concludes with dancers throwing back their heads and extending their arms out to their sides passionately.

All in all, Samba dancers strive to make their movements appear effortless and free rather than formal and exaggerated – while it may appear easy, you’ll find when you first start attempting this style that this is certainly not as simple as it seems.

Samba Music

Samba music has a luxuriously distinctive rhythm which is highlighted exceptionally well using original Brazilian musical instruments such as the cabaca, chocalho, reco-reco and tamborim.

The Samba is generally performed to a musical tempo of around 100 beats per minute. The overall basic tempo of the dance is “quick, quick, slow”. This fast and energetic rhythm gives rise to the impulsive seeming dancing that has made it so popular during the famous Brazilian Carnival festivities.


While the likes of Craig Revel Horwood

could make the Samba seem fluid and effortless, it will require some focussed practise to attain the vibrant, carefree yet precise movements that have made this style so famous. Nevertheless, as with all Latin dances, you will certainly have fun while you learn.  Author Bio: Rio Spelling  is a choreography and dance enthusiast. nopicture-1147873


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