Ballroom Samba dancers will not be mistaken for the plume-bedecked ladies flashing their jewels, teeth, and a lot of skin, at Rio’s Carnivale.
Aside for the more modest dress code at most dance studios like Richard Felix’s River City Dance Studio, Ballroom Samba is a partner dance, not meant to be danced solo.
It emerged from Samba-Carioca, an urbanized dance style built on the potent rhythms and movement of other Brazilian dances with deep African roots.
The heavy, throbbing pulse of the beat has a mesmerizing effect, and when you learn to move your body in time, it can feel like you’re succumbing to the grip of a force much larger than yourself.
Ballroom Samba became popular in the UK and US in the 1930s and 1940s, and remains one of the most engrossing and joyful dance steps taught today.
The footwork for the basic step starts as a box. But unlike the Waltz or the Rumba, dancers lean forward in an athletic stance as they flex up and down to the beat, shifting their weight left, bouncing slightly, then shifting right, and rising again.
The constant leg-flexing makes Ballroom Samba one of the most aerobically challenging dances taught. But unlike a health club treadmill, you don’t need a lot of motivation to keep going.
Samba music has a way of grabbing you and carrying you to the end of the song. You may be gasping for breath when the song’s over, but you’ll also be hooked and hungry for more.
Samba’s heavy, pulsing beat has a way of getting you out of your seat and out on the dance floor. Here are a few samples
Brown Girl In The Rain by Boney M
Carrilio De Noite by Carrilio
Coco Jambo by Mr. President
Comadre Compadre by King Africa
Encierrame by Jon Secada
La Isla Bonita by Madonna
Lola, Lola by Ricky Martin
Mama Mia by Azucar Moreno
My Friend Mi Amigo by Paulina Rubio
Ole Ole by Leonid Agutin
Quien Te Quiera Como Yo by Donato y Estefano
Rosalinda by Thalia
Listen to a music sample
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