Samba is a highly energetic dance known and loved in different corners of the world nowadays. Its characteristic bouncing actions, syncopated rhythms, and abrupt hip movements attract attention. You can dance the Samba with or without a partner, and that makes this style even more interesting. The Samba dancing pictures usually feature this drive and immense energy.
“Hips Don’t Lie” as one of the most prominent Canadian dance companies does its best to get you involved in the breathtaking mixture of Samba rhythms and colors. Being a part of all our entertainment acts for hire, Samba has occupied an essential place in all performances by our Samba dance troupe. We will be happy if you enjoy it.
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History of Samba as a Traditional Brazilian Dance
The Samba dance history is rich in its wide variety of music and dancing styles. Originally, it was a solo dance from Latin America. The music emerged in the 19th century and continued through the beginning of the 20th century in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. It became central in the world-famous Brazilian Carnival performances. You can see such a picturesque Samba dance performance while visiting Rio de Janeiro.
Different musicologists put forward several versions of the true origin of this style and the Samba dance's meaning. Some argue that the word “samba” comes from the name of one dancing figure - the navel thrust - that sounded “semba” in its initial version of the Brazilian Bahian slaves who brought their folk dance to Rio de Janeiro. Another version credits the origin of the Samba dance definition to the Paraiba Valley located next to the capital. The music of this Afro-Brazilian community was accepted and elaborated by professionals in Rio de Janeiro.
So, what is Samba dancing as we know it nowadays? There were many influences in the history of Samba dance that led to the development of modern Samba. The Brazilian Marcha and Maxixe were among them, as well as the Cuban Habanera and German Polka which contributed a lot to it.
Here are some interesting Samba dance facts. Samba music became very popular and widely used in songs. One of them dates back to 1911, created by Alfredo da Rocha Vianna Jr. Samba music of the 1920s and the 1930s (enhanced by the radio era introduction) was romantic and much slower than the modern one.
This meaning of Samba dance produced the sub-genre that became famous as “samba-cancao.” It was full of sentimental lyrics and very melodic. Due to Brazilian composers and singers, it spread across the world. Dancing to this music appeared in the United States in the 1930s due to the popular Broadway play. It was also introduced at the New York World’s Fair, and many dancers of Samba accepted and liked it very much.
Before the 1950s, Samba Cancao was partially replaced by Samba de Batucada. It was quicker and more percussive. Samba as a music style became most popular in the 1970s when musicians mixed the rhythms of Samba Batucada with contemporary instrumentation and interesting harmonic solutions. It even included the elements of jazz and rock. Brazilians enjoyed it very much as the best Samba dance performance, and since then, it has become their national pride.
You can see this Samba dance in Toronto at “Hips Don’t Lie.” It’s the best destination for you if you are looking for a Samba dance group near me.
What About Samba Music and Dance Today?
What is the Samba dance? The Samba dance style has two variations today - solo and partner dance. According to this, there are different types of Samba dance.
Solo Samba dancing is a characteristic of street celebrations and festivals. It is danced as a solo or by Samba dance groups. Its other name is “samba no pe.” There are three steps in it taken to the 2/4 music. Professionals can even do 4 steps in every bar. The dance does not have any specific routine when performed in the street. Samba dancers are mostly inspired by music.
You can encounter one more solo Samba-style variation that appeared in 1992. It is known under the name of Samba Axe. You will not see any specific steps in it, but following the rhythm is essential here. It can be defined by either a faster or slower tempo.
Partner variations of Samba dance explained here, including the Samba de Gafieira, are even older than the solo ones. They had appeared long before Samba was accepted as a part of the Ballroom Latin program. The present-day Samba ballroom dance has deep roots there. Nevertheless, local Brazilians can hardly recognize their national dance in this Ballroom Latin style. The Ballroom Latin Samba is full of turns and even acrobatic tricks. It is danced to a very quick beat and requires fast and distinctive footwork. In fact, the Ballroom Samba did not originate in Brazil. It has just taken Samba music and some specific movements from the indigenous Brazilian Samba.
Moreover, many Canadian Samba dance companies offer this Samba variation and other types of Latin dance as a part of their cardio dance fitness classes. Such popular dancing fitness styles such as Hip Brazil or Zumba have incorporated many Samba elements. Lively, energetic, and festive Samba music can easily attract people to the dance floor where they can imagine taking part in the Brazilian Carnival celebration. You are welcome to “Hips Don’t Lie,” a well-known Canadian dance company that will introduce you to Samba and its variations and routines. If you want to find one of the professional Samba dance troupes for hire near me, you have arrived at the right place.
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Brazilian Samba Dance Styles and Routines
Samba dance owes many of its movements to the traditional African slave dances that were performed on the Brazilian sugarcane plantations. The Samba dance description is based on that fact. It was a circle dance with a lone performer in the middle. All the steps were rapid and relied on weight shifts, and slides were done to a 2/4-bar percussive beat. The still upper body with distinct arm and hand movements responded to the movements of hips and legs. The street performances by Samba dance teams watched during the carnivals were uninhibited and boisterous. Despite the severe restrictions imposed on every Samba dancer by the Portuguese upper class and authorities at that time, Samba survived, and it is impossible to imagine any Brazilian carnival without it.
Nowadays, the Samba dance style has a lot of variations. It is a solo dance, a couple’s dance, a street performance, and a mixture of styles where Samba movements are merged with reggae, rock, and even acrobatics. You can never say that there is one definite Samba with well-established routines. So, what is a Samba dance? As experts in Samba dancing in Toronto, we will do our best to answer your question.
Samba Solo Dance Variations and Their Routines
Solo Samba or Samba No Pe is more traditional and easily recognizable for the Brazilian locals. It is performed by many professional and amateur Samba dance groups and features three steps in every 2/4-count measure, with its basic step-ball-change. The knees are kept soft and bouncy, and the feet are placed together. The first step is done back by shifting the weight to the right foot, the slide done with the left foot, and stepping back again which are the main elements of this routine. You need to catch the rhythm and follow the pace of the given music tempo. The arms swing naturally when you repeat the pattern. Men usually dance the solo Samba on the flat of their feet, while women, wearing high heels, step on the ball of the foot.
The solo variation of Samba produced Samba Axe which is pretty bouncy with the aerobics elements. Samba Axe does not have a fixed routine, either. It is changing, featuring specific movies tailored to a separate song and lyrics. As a rule, this dance starts slowly and then speeds up due to its further rapid tempo.
Partner Samba Variations and Their Routines
Partner Samba is one of the most popular Latin dances that is widely represented in ballroom competitions. The ballroom partner Samba dance means the use of elements based on the Samba Gafieira. The latter is commonly described as a mix of Waltz and Tango elements. However, it is more spontaneous than the Tango, and the posture of the dancers is more relaxed. Samba Gafieira does have common elements with Tango because it comes from the Brazilian Maxixe, a simpler version of Tango that originated in neighboring Argentina.
The choreography has changed a lot over time. It added more turns, linked legs, tricks, and acrobatic feats. The Samba Gafieira has a quick beat demanding fast footwork. The most prominent step here is the paso gero simple or a simple spin step. It follows the Waltz pattern of a simple box step, with a similar space between partners and hand placements. The entire box step is repeated twice during the overall eight beats. Then, the partners step to one side together, do the half-step on the foot and continue quickly shifting the weight to bring the other foot for a quick tap. Then, you make a turn, keeping your head and torso in the direction of the movement, and after that, complete the turn to face the partner again. The spin also takes four beats.
One more variation of this partner Samba dance is Samba Pagode. It features many elements of Ballroom Samba and is very athletic and showy with all its spins, dips, and lifts.
Its rhythms created by Samba drums are pretty recognizable due to popular songs by Daniela Mercury. This Samba style is popular in Bahia and followed by any local Samba dance group in many parts of Brazil.
The style is also African-influenced, being a merge of Afro-Brazilian and Candomble dancing. The dance is social and performed in the follow-the-leader manner, and some advanced dancers can perform it in a line, initiating steps in front of the crowd to follow them. The percussionists can also join to dance the Samba while playing their drums.
This playful variation of Samba originated in Sao Paolo. It is a nightclub dance. The style is concentrated on relaxation but with the accurate following of the rhythm. It blends the African Ginga (better known as Capoeira) with its emphasis on feet and hips, and the European Ballroom Latin style. You can dance it to the music of Rita Pavone, reggae, pagode, or R&B, so it is more universal.
Samba de Roda
It is a traditional Afro-Brazilian style performed informally after the Candomble ceremony to the percussion instruments used during this ceremony. Drummers are accompanied by clapping and singing. The variation incorporates music, poetry, and choreography. The name “Roda” means dancing in a circle where all the participants of the festival or celebration are invited to join by imitating the movements. The choreography is usually spontaneous. Samba de Roda, however, is not too popular nowadays due to the effects of mass media and competition.
The ballroom version of Samba dancing is different from all described before. This version did not originate in Brazil but is danced to the traditional Samba music. It incorporates the elements and routines of various Samba styles and versions. Ballroom Samba is a part of the International Latin Ballroom program, and its elements are more sophisticated and performed in very rapid rhythms.
What is the Samba dance?
Samba dance is an energetic Latin American dance with strong African and Cuban roots. It is danced socially in different solo and partner variations or professionally. Samba is a part of the International Ballroom Latin program and is widely performed at competitions.
What are the characteristics of Samba dance?
Samba dance is characterized by bouncing actions, rapid syncopated rhythms, and prominent hip movements. It is also known as a part of the Brazilian carnival, so bright multi-colored costumes are also its characteristic feature. Percussion music of a 2/4-bar beat is also essential to recognize Samba from other Latin American dances.
Why is the Samba dance so difficult?
Professionals do not agree that the Samba dance is too difficult to learn. However, it is challenging to learn because of its speed and distinct syncopated rhythms you need to follow. It also has a lot of interesting elements and figures that come from other dances, such as Waltz and Tango, so you need to know how to do them properly.
Where is Samba dancing most popular?
Samba dancing is a part of the national culture in Brazil, so it is immensely popular there. No Brazilian carnival or any other celebration is possible without Samba. However, the dance spread across the world, and now, it is very popular in both Europe and North America. Many Canadian dance companies include Samba in their performances and training programs.
All in all, Samba, alongside many other Latin dances, can bring a lot of energy with its fast rhythms, beautiful colorful costumes, and sophisticated steps and tricks. It is so exhilarating and simply fantastic to watch a professional Samba dance troupe or take Samba lessons from experienced dance teachers. We will get you into the atmosphere of a true carnival or fascinating Brooklyn performance.
“Hips Don’t Lie”, a prominent Samba dance company in Toronto, offers perfect dance acts for hire, and you can enjoy the stunning combination of five dance styles at your celebration or special occasion. We have the best Samba dance groups and the most experienced Samba teachers in Toronto and GTA.
Therefore, you can contact us anytime or come and see everything with your own eyes.