How to Dance Samba

April 24, 2017

How to Dance SambaThe Samba dance, one of the World’s most popular dance styles, originated from Rio De Janeiro, Brazil during the late 19th – early 20th century.

The history of the samba is rich yet humble. The dance has roots in early & former slaves within the region. By the turn of the century, it became influenced by other geographical locations such as Cuba and even Germany!

Bossa Nova would go on to spark a second renaissance of the samba during the 1950’s. In the 1970’s it was a worldwide sensation.

Today we find the samba throughout the World.

The 2/4 timed dance (and accompanying music) is easy to learn but hard to master. Making it a popular dance style for couples and, recently, exercise!

The Samba: Get Moving!

Samba requires a basic form from two individuals (leader and follower).

The form has both individuals near with the leader holding the followers left hand up high. The leader typically places their hand on the back of the follower. The follower reciprocating by placing theirs around the shoulder.

Samba is done by doing three steps every two beats.

The basic routine goes as follows:

  1. Left foot forward (leader)
  2. Right foot slightly back with weight on right side (follower)
  3. Slide right foot forward without touching the heel to the floor (leader)
  4. Slide left foot back without touching heel while weight on right side (follower)
  5. Shift weight back to right side and complete right footing (leader)
  6. Shift weight back to left with left foot now in place (follower)

It’s much like walking toward/away from another while moving those hips and body. Try using the following infographic for the basic steps.

The middle shifts in the dance routine can be thought as if you’re stepping over an object. You aren’t quite making full contact with the floor though you’ll want to do one fluid motion — this will take practice.

As you progress you can begin to add new moves to the basic styles:

  • Volta – A side-step/cross which follows the basic mirroring and bounces which give you and the partner a horizontal movement on the dance floor
  • Plait – A quick, quick, slow drive toward either leader or follower. Follow basic moves but do so rapidly.
  • Side steps – A basic one-two (like the volta) but without the bounce
  • Whisk – Sidestepping but bringing the leading foot behind you
  • Walk – Hold with two hands (extended), left leg extended behind (leader), right leg extended behind (follower) followed by the basic routine but with greater flair and distance in the legs

As for the finish?

Top it all off with a grand, dramatic fashion! Flourish the dance with your arms spread wide and head cocked back. Perfecto!

Practice Makes Perfect

The samba is a rather simplistic dance but requires a degree of commitment and practice on your behalf. There are structures to the routine yet freeform is welcome to add extra flair.

Consider joining a dance studio or take private lessons. Watch YouTube videos or follow a professional dancer on social media. Get on out there to events and nightlife gatherings which allow you to show those samba moves!

With time — you will perfect the moves and flow.

Practice makes perfect. This is one new routine you’re bound to love!

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