Happy, flirtatious and exuberant is what describes Samba dance the best. Read on to know how to dance samba and step on to the dance floor.

Samba Dance

Samba is a popular Brazilian form of dance which has undergone several cultural interchanges. While its African roots remain firmly intact, traces of European influence can be seen in the contemporary forms of salsa. It is believed that the African slaves while migrating to Brazil under the Portuguese rulers brought along with them the traditional religious ceremonies, which involved the rhythmic percussion of instruments like pandeiro, reco reco, tamborim and cuica, lending a distinct sound and vibe. Since over a century, this dance form has been performed in the Brazilian carnivals, symbolizing racial and social harmony. The word “Samba” is derived from “Semba”, which is an African tribal word meaning “naval bump”, signifying intimacy and a sort of invitation to dance. This is said to be characteristic of Afro-Brazilian dance forms. It is also thought to be derived from the word “kusamba”, which means to pray. So, samba is also seen as a dance form meant to invoke the gods above through music and dance. The Brazilian Samba dancing scene combines several dance forms and no one dance can be stamped as the original samba style. Besides Brazilian Samba, another major stream is the ballroom samba which is significantly different from the former style. This article provides step-by-step instruction of two samba dance forms, namely, Samba no Pé and Samba de Gafieira.
How To Samba
Samba no Pé
This form of Samba suits best to be performed at parties, in group dances or even at home as a form of exercise. While performing this dance form, keep your back straight and bend each knee at a time. 
  • First of all, stand straight maintaining a little distance between your two feet.
  • Now, as soon as the music begins, at the very first beat, slide your right foot at the back, placing the entire weight of your entire body on it.
  • With the next beat, replace the right foot with the left, now slowly shifting the body’s weight to this foot. This should be done artfully, making the movement smooth and swift and see to it that your left heel should be in a position that it hardly touches the ground. 
  • Now, immediately lift your right leg and place it on the floor, along with your entire body weight. 
  • While shifting the weight of your body and bending each knee, your hips should move along with it. This dance form is all about the way your leg moves. The arms have nothing to do with it and can swing in any way in accordance to the beat.
Samba de Gafieira
This dance involves a couple and has become an integral part of ballroom dancing style. It is actually an assimilation of several Brazilian Samba dance steps. The word “Gafieira” is nothing, but the hall where this dance form is performed. Especially popular in night clubs, this dance form, besides including samba steps, also incorporates tango dance movements and several complex acrobatic steps. Samba de Gafieira involves two basic Samba dance steps known as the reversed box step or quadrado and right cross body lead. The three basic steps involved in this dance are either quick-quick-slow or short-short-long in fashion within four beats.
  • With the first beat, the man has to put his left foot forward, shifting his entire body’s weight on it. 
  • At the very next beat, the right foot has to be brought forward to meet the left and the weight of the body shifted to the right foot.
  • Remember to place the body weight on the ball of the foot.
  • Replace the weight on the left foot again and step back with the right foot on the ground along with the weight.
  • Now, similarly, the left foot has to be stepped back to be aligned with the right, keeping the weight on the ball of the foot.
  • The last beat involves the body weight shifted to the right foot.
  • The lady’s steps involve putting her foot at the back when the man steps forward and place her foot behind when he crosses his foot ahead. The lady has to step back when the man steps forward and cross her foot behind when he crosses his foot ahead.

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