Samba Dance History

Samba Dance History


There is probably no other dance or dance music that is more specifically associated with one country than Samba dance.  Samba dance history is related with Brazil (and especially with Rio de Janiero).

Samba has basically a 2/4 tempo music which is known as the ‘Brazilian Waltz’ and is danced in a loose, open position with a partner or in body contact and close. The timing in Ballroom Samba is often counted as: 1 ah 2, 2 ah 2 as the beats are quarter note-eighth-eighth (repeated quarter note-eighth-eighth). The footwork is generally seen as flat step down on the quarter note then ball-flat for the eighth-eighth.

So: flat ball flat …flat ball flat or 1 ah 2, 2 ah 2.  This dance is swift, very energetic and quite a cardio experience for those looking for a fun way to trim down and shed pounds.

Samba Dance Shown To Be The Primary Style of Music

History has shown Samba dance to be the primary style of music in Southwest and Northeast Brazil.  Especially in the major cities of Rio De Janeiro, Saõ Paulo and Salvador.  To Brazilians, Samba dance is more than just a style of music or dance however.  Samba dance history represents their attitude toward life…..happy, exuberant, playful, free-spirited.

It could even be said that the love of music, and Samba dance in particular, has kept the large sector of lower income class people in Brazilian society from being more angry about it.  As long as they have their music and their neighborhood Samba dance school…they’re happy.

When you ask Brazilians to describe the joy of being Brazilian, they’ll usually mention two or three things.  First…their music (and most likely it will be Samba dance music).  Next, they will mention Soccer.  Brazilian’s are some of the world’s most avid soccer fans.  And third they might mention the beautiful women of Brazil.

Although you do have ‘blues festivals’ in the US, they’re nothing compared to the spectacle event which revolves around the love of Samba, dance and music, the so- called ‘Carnival’.  What is especially interesting about Carnival is the effect of the competition between neighborhoods.

When you see the huge parades of Carnival, what you might not realize is that it took an army of citizens working all year to put that marching unit where you’re seeing it.  There were careful deliberations and sometimes even competitions for the type of Samba dance music to be played, for the dancers, for who was going to be the ‘grand master’ (i.e. like our ‘Drum Major”), the design of the floats, who was going to get to dance in the parade, who were going to be the musicians and every other element of the show.

Samba Dance In Schools

That group of people is called ‘Escolas de Samba’ or ….”Samba Schools”.  They are neighborhood associations that exist strictly for the purpose of the Carnival parade in February.

The Carnival parade takes place in what’s known as the Sambadrome in Rio.  Each band is assigned a time and day to march.  Sometimes, there are as many as 1500 people in their groups.  It’s really like an Armed Services parade.  You’ll see a huge tsunami of musical mankind advancing down the street.  It’s very much a grand spectacle…Carnival… an important part of Samba dance history.


Samba Dance


Certified professional dance instructor/choreographer living in Newport News, VA Commutes to Richmond for over 15 years to teach. I enjoy helping people discover the power of dance in their lives. Regardless of your ability remember this, "anyone can learn to dance," and here's why you should say "Never": It can transform your life in ways you never thought possible. Introduce you to people you'd never meet and shape your confidence like never before.

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