Samba Defined


Date added to ADN: Tue, February 21, 2012
Originally Published: Sun, January 01, 2012
by The AccessDance Network (About the Author)

The Samba is referred to as the dance of joy and celebration at Carnivals in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. A dance that is lively and rhythmical, it has become one of the most popular Latin dances in ballroom dancing competitions.

HISTORY
Samba was popularized by Brazilians but had African influence. Its origins started with slaves from Africa who were brought into Brazil by the Portuguese. Their music was fused with Indian and Portuguese music creating a Latin rhythm. The African dances were attempted to be suppressed by Christian Portuguese, because the dances were deemed as sinful. In the early 1800s, Emperor Manuel I banned what they called the Batuque, which was an antecedent to the samba. However, many black and white people danced such rhythms continuously. As the African slaves and the Portuguese interacted with the Native Americans in Brazil, local tribe steps were incorporated. The swaying and body rolls of Lundu natives were included and later became a major characteristic of samba. The local dances were performed in the Brazilian Carnival during the 1800s. The Portuguese and other settlers from Europe included their original moves, which include the holding of partners. It later became a dance called Zemna Queca, and then was named Mesemba. In the early 1800s, it was mixed with Maxixe becoming the earliest adaptation of the modern samba. The dance eventually started to make its way throughout Europe and was localized. The Europeanized version of the Samba, which is the Carioca spread to the US and was performed by Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers in the movie they had together.

DANCE STEPS
Sambistas or samba dancers perform rapid steps taken on quarter beats and with swaying motion. The major characteristic of this dance is the "Samba Bounce Action" which is felt through the knees and ankles. The basic footwork of the dance includes fast, three-step change of weight together with a slight lift of the knee and with alternating feet. The rhythm is "quick, quick, slow, and". Samba concludes with the partners throwing their heads back and extending their arms to the sides.

TYPE OF MUSIC
The music of samba is emphasized by Brazilian musical instruments, like the tambourine, chocalho, cacaba and reco-reco. With its distinguishing rhythm, its music has a tempo of about 100 beats per minute.

You don't have to be at a Carnival in the streets of Rio to enjoy such a fast and energetic rhythm. Whenever you feel like celebrating, you can easily and quickly dance to its glorious moves. Why don't you learn with us now? You'll surely have a joyous feeling while dancing the beautiful rhythm of samba.


About the Author:
Providing information for Ballroom Dance Lessons, Activities, Dance Competitions and News of the Dance Industry.

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