Samba Dance Lessons
You’ve heard of Carnival, right? This is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to Samba dancing. This style has a slightly different rhythm than many of the other styles and is full of energy! It can be danced solo or with a partner and uses its rolling action to deliver an ability to be supple with one’s body. It is inherently fun and exciting while still appearing effortless and relaxed– it’s a great style to add to your social or competitive dance repertoire!
The samba is among the most sensuous, energetic and hottest dance styles ever to emerge. It’s the national dance of Brazil although its roots can be traced back to Africa and Europe. The name is derived from the Angolan term ‘semba’, meaning an ‘invitation to dance. It was also a common term for dance parties held by slaves who were brought to Brazil from Africa. The dance features gyrating hip movements to rich and syncopated rhythms that have made it one of the most mesmerizing and infectious styles now envied and practiced by people the world over.
The birth of the samba
During the late 19th century, African slaves that landed in Brazil from Bahia incorporated several steps of the polka, maxixe and other dances popular in Brazil with their own traditional dances, which possibly gave birth to the samba. Rio de Janeiro is considered the birthplace of the samba, which is evident from the pomp and circumstance witnessed by thousands at the Sambadrome and millions around the world at the Rio carnival held every year before the beginning of lent. It did not take long for the samba to reach the United States when the legendary dancers Fred Astaire and Dolores Del Rio strutted their stuff in Flying Down to Rio. Carmen Miranda also mesmerized audiences when she danced the samba in ‘That Night in Rio’, the 1941 musical comedy.
It about pelvic tilts and footwork
Samba has a distinct rhythm that best highlighted by the musical instruments used and the happy, flirtatious and exuberance of the dancer. Many moves require a pelvic tilt action and rapid footwork in time to the intoxicating rhythms of the drums, which is difficult but not hard to achieve. Speaking of footwork, the basic footwork includes three-step weight changes with a knee lift led with alternating feet while the basic rhythm is a ‘quick, quick, slow.’ Watch any samba performance and you will notice the distinctive, dramatic climax where dancers throw back their heads and extend their arms out to the sides.