Did you know that the origin of samba dance dates back to the 16th century? No? Explore this article to get interesting information on the background & history of samba dance.

Samba Dance History

Samba dance has its roots well laid in the Brazilian soil. The dance form has a combination of African, Native Indian and Iberian influences and is practiced almost all around the world. Colorful and energetic, the festive style and mood of samba dance that was there in the yesteryears has been kept alive to this day. Samba is a fun dance that fits most of popular music of today's world. Both samba dance and music can be adapted to various forms - right from the vivacious and spirited samba de enredo - the music of Carnival - to samba cancon - a relaxed and rhythmic variant. However, the initiation of the dance form was rather modest. Read through the following lines, to get some more interesting information on the background and origin of Samba dance form.
Interesting Information On The Background & Origin Of Samba Dance
The history of Samba dance dates back to the 16th century. It was during this time that the Portugese discovered the east coast of South America, a place they called the January River (today, Rio de Janeiro). Just as the place began to prosper, so did its culture and heritage. Music and dance played an important role in the culture and heritage of the place. The word 'Samba' means 'to pray to God' and invoke 'personal orixa' i.e. god or saint. The Afro-Brazilians featured their music around this theme only, making it divine and blissful to hear to. Along with music, samba dance also evolved. Though the dance was considered sinful by Europeans, who introduced measures to suppress it, Samba dance managed to survive. In fact, it soon became popular amongst both blacks and whites.
It was in 1830s that a composite samba dance was developed. The dance form was such that it included the plait figures of the Negro dances and the body rolls and sways of the indigenous Lundu. It was only later that carnival steps were introduced in the dance. With time, the dance was modified and began to be performed with the dancers holding each other in the European way i.e. in closed dance position. About five decades after its inception, the dance was adopted by the high society of Rio and became popular as Zemba Queca. The dance form was again modified and renamed Mesemba.
During the early 20th century, Mesemba was coupled with another Brazilian dance, the Maxixe and popularized in USA and Europe. It had the same steps as the Polka, but was performed to the music of Cuban Habanera (from Havanna). It was during this time that a form of the samba called Carioca was revived in UK and eventually spread to USA. Movies further accelerated the popularity of the dance. In November 1938, a samba exhibition was held in the meeting of New York Society of Teachers of Dancing. A year later, samba music was played at the Brazilian Pavilion, at the World's Fair in New York. Then, there was no looking back for this energetic and colorful dance form. Today, there are various forms of Samba dance, developed to fit the mood of modern music.

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