Insights on Samba Dance

carnival samba dance

Samba dance originated in Brazil and is largely recognised as the dance of celebration and joy. Learn more about Samba dance and what makes it unique and popular.

Samba dance is lively, upbeat and rhythmical. But there are different types of Samba dances that you need to know.

1. Carnaval Samba
Carnaval (Carnival) Samba is a solo dance that is popularly performed in the carnival at Rio de Janeiro. Every year, hundreds of thousands of revelers in flattering costumes parade the streets of Brazil singing, drumming and dancing to Samba. It involves simple Samba dance steps that are performed spontaneously when music encourages someone to get up and dance.

2. Ballroom Samba
Ballroom Samba is a partner dance that is part of Latin dances and is usually performed in ballroom competitions. The posture of the dancers is more relaxed because ballroom Samba is a more spontaneous dance than tango.

3. Social Samba
Social Samba is also a Latin partner dance except that it integrates the social North American styles dancing its dance moves.

Samba dance characteristics
Initially, Samba dance used to incorporate a whole range of styles of partner dances and solo dance. Partner Ballroom Samba encompasses quick beat that requires fast footwork and progresses counter-clockwise around the floor. Currently, Samba dance is characterized by rapid steps taken on quarter beats (syncopated timing) and a rocking, rolling hip action of dancers. Samba dance integrates pelvic tilts, acrobatic feats, and tricks into its basic set of moves. A great deal of Samba is expressed throughout the torso.

Samba dance history
Samba dance was introduced in Brazil in 1917 but was adopted by Brazil as a ballroom in 1930. In Brazil, Samba is danced solo and is renowned for bringing festive moods during celebrations of Carnivals. Samba is one of the five Latin competition dances performed in International style Latin dancing.

Samba dance technique

Samba is widely renowned for its major technique of Samba known as “Samba Bounce Action”. It is what gives Samba its unique look and feel.
Although difficult to master, the Samba Bounce Action involves a gentle, rhythmic movement that’s felt through the knees and ankles. When performing Samba, you must strive to make this action appear effortless and carefree.

Samba dance rhythm and music

Samba has a distinctive rhythm, largely highlighted by original Brazilian musical instruments such as tamborim, cabaca, reco-reco and chocalho. Samba is performed to high tempo music that’s intimately connected with the Carnival in Rio and Brazil’s African heritage. Samba’s fast and energetic rhythm inspires spontaneous dancing, such as those witnessed in the beach during Carnival celebration. In Brazil, a Samba dancer is referred to as a Sambista.

Samba dance steps

Samba footwork involves fast, three-step weight turns with a slight knee lift, led with alternating feet. The leader steps forward or back with either foot. The follower mirrors the leader’s steps. Samba dance uses distinctive Samba steps namely, Voltas, Samba Side Steps, Bota Fogos, Kick Change and Samba Strut.
Samba is completed with dancers throwing back their heads and extending their arms out to the sides.

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