Sometimes called the South American Waltz, the Samba pulsates to a unique latin rhythm. Samba improves the flexibility of the body and helps achieve the easy movement and lightness. The Samba rolling action teaches the body to be supple. To move lightly, quickly and smoothly without effort takes study but only at the start. Although considered a good exercise, the Samba should be danced smoothly and in a relaxed manner giving the appearance of an effortless movement.
This national dance of Brazil became the rage of its society in the 1930’s but began as an exhibition dance in Paris in 1905. Movie star and singer Carmen Miranda, is credited with the dance popular in the U.S. in the early 1940’s.
Today’s Samba music is influenced by jazz and latin rhythm. It is written in 2/4 or 4/4 time. The music is festive and fast paced with a sound associated with Rio’s Carnival. The basic count is “Slow a Slow” or “1 & 2”.
Walking steps and side steps are the basic components of Samba. The major characteristic of the Samba is the vertical bounce action. Steps are taken using the ball of the foot. Knee action along with body sway and “pendulum motion” in the accomplish dancer, is made to look effortless and carefree.