What makes this dance recognizable? What is typical, distinctive or characteristic?

Little is so typical and characteristic as the bounce, the tilting of the pelvis combined with bending and straightening of the knee. Spicy Latin characters parading in ballroom style around the floor.


Whenever, wherever - Shakira
Rythme divine - Enrique Iglesias

Mas que nada - Black Eyed Peas & Menez

BPM: 50-52

According to the generally accepted explanation samba stems from the word Semba, meaning in Kimbundu and Ngangela languages
​​of Angola belly bump or umbigada. This belly bump was - and still is in some existing samba forms - a way to give to someone else 's turn. In addition to these explanations, however, are still many other African words a possible explanation (which, however, not mutually exclude esch other):

Sanba (Kimbundu / Angola): prayer, praying

cussámba (Kikongo / Angola, Congo): similar meaning as Sanba (pray prayer)

samba (Kimbundu / Angola) being very excited

samba (Bangi / Congo -Brazzaville): dance the sacred dance

sa'ambale (Nigeria): a dance for young people

sáamba (Kikongo / Angola, Congo): the initiation group in which one is competent for political, social and religious functions

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The Samba is best known for the Carnival in Rio. This basically says enough about appearance associated with this dance. Fun and laughter are far ahead. Cheerful, loose motions are also characteristic of the highly rhythmic Samba.

The history of samba starts when in the 8th century AD, the first Africans arrive in Spain and later in Portugal. During five centuries of occupation of the Iberian Peninsula by the Arabs have some of their percussion instruments also made ​​its appearance here, such as the tambourine. During the colonial period, over a time of 350 years, between 3 and 5 million slaves were shipped to Brazil. They brought music and dance traditions which later evolved into the samba. The most important cultural influence, however, can be traced back to the Bantu peoples of Angola and the southwest of the present Congo. For private orchestras and choirs the slaves taught also to play western music like the march, waltz and Italian arias. The Portuguese invaders were fascinated by African batuques (the term was then used for all African music and dance accompanied by percussion). A new Brazilian style was born in the course of the 18th century from the combination of batuques and Western music: the lundu. Passing through as the first national dance of Brazil. A more 'erudite' variant of the lundu was modinha.

At the end of the 19th century came the flowering of coffee cultivation and abolition of slavery occured large migration flows. Many (former) slaves, many of whom were from the state of Bahia, settled in Rio de Janeiro and brought their local dances, music and uses. Some of them who have had an impact on the samba: the samba de roda do Recôncavo, samba rural paulista, the Calango, dejongo and congadas or Congos. The latter is a ceremony in the northeast of Brazil, where an African king and queen are crowned. Numerous figures taking steps along in a parade with percussion instruments and colorful costumes.

Under the influence of the polka and the Cuban habanera evolved lundu at Rio de Janeiro to a new dance and music craze: the maxixe.

Before 1914 known as the "Maxixe" Samba was first introduced in Europe around 1923. Different versions of Samba from Baion (pronounced bajao) marcha are in Brazil danced during the carnival in Rio de Janeiro or local festivals.

The carnival of Rio de Janeiro played a leading role in the further evolution of the samba.

In 1917, the samba breaks through as music style with the first national samba hit 'Pelo Telefone'.

In 1928, the first samba school Deixe Falar was established.

In the 1930s, the samba schools were part of the official carnival and knew thanks to massive government support tremendous growth. In that period, President Getulio Vargas lifted samba carioca (samba of Rio de Janeiro) to a national symbol. In no time the samba became popular throughout Brazil and samba schools were founded on the model of Rio in several major Brazilian cities.

The World's Fair in New York in 1939 led to the biggest spread of the samba. Samba became really popular after 1945. During the final parade of the Olympic Games this dance was performed by hundreds of couples, as an introduction to the fact that the dance contest at the next games would be a demonstration sport.

The samba and Brazil go together like smoke and fire, thunder and lightning, night and day. Samba is an important part of Brazilian culture - it is the music and dance of the people.

Although non- Brazilians are inclined to think that the samba is one specific dance, that is not the case. There are many versions of the samba, each with a different rhythm, tempo and mood. There are so many different dances. The dance known in the West as the samba is just one of the many exciting, vibrant variants.

Samba comum

The core of this type of samba is generally the cavaquinho and the pandeiro. Using the cavaquinho characterizes generally the difference between comum Samba and Bossa nova. There is also always used a guitar. The seven-string guitar has become popular in Brazil by this kind of music. Instead of samba comum one often speaks of samba carioca, the samba of Rio de Janeiro.

Well-known artists: Paulinho da Viola Beth Carvalho, Zeca Pagodinho, Teresa Cristina & Grupo Semente, Wilson Moreira

Samba de roda do Recôncavo

This style comes from the Recôncavo Baiano, the area around the "Bay of All Saints” in the state of Bahia. A circle is formed, the bystanders clap their hands and sing, and there is danced in a circle. Specifically for this style are the instruments: the viola (a traditional stringed instrument) and prato - e - faca, plate and knife.

The samba de chula - even samba de parade or samba de viola – is the version with the strictest rules. There is never danced while there’s singing. There is only one person who can dance. That person gives his / her turn by the typical umbigada or belly bump.

The samba corrida, the generic term for other forms of the samba de roda, is freer than the samba chula. Typically to the dance is the miudinha, a variation on the samba step so soft and subtle that it is almost invisible.

Partido alto

The Partido alto is characterized by a greater influence of the pandeiro and the use of surdo and tambourine. Generally, the text is divided into verses and a chorus. Often the verses are improvised.

Well-known artists: Jovelina Perola Negra, Candeia, Zeca Pagodinho, Arlindo Cruz, Sombrinha, Nei Lopes, Almir Guineto, Camunguelo, Aniceto do Império.


Pagoda is the most common samba style in Brazil. The pagoda variant originated in Rio de Janeiro in the 1970s and broke with tremendous success through in the 1980s. The pagoda opposed the commercialization, "whitening” of the samba schools and the perceived musical quality. Pagoda is in that sense a reinvention of a samba that for some was deviated too far from tradition. From there, the question can also be asked whether it is really about a new subgenre here. In any case, both the music and the informal spontaneous party were very popular throughout Brazil. In this type of samba pandeiro, banjo, cavaquinho, Rebolo, repinique and the mão tantan play an important role. Pagoda is a more informal type of music. Often groups of friends on a Saturday or Sunday in a bar come together to drink beer and pagoda together to play and sing. Or they go to a "quintal", a spot in the backyard to make music. The texts have varied content. This may be more politically charged chronicles about life in the favelas, simple romantic themes, to explicit sexually lyrics of the pagoda Bahiano. Subgenres are the pagoda Bahiano and pagoda paulista, respectively, from the state of Bahia and São Paulo.

Well-known artists: Fundo de Quintal Zeca Pagodinho, Raça Negra, Molejo, Martinho da Vila, Jorge Aragão, Grupo Revelação.

Samba Canção

A romantic form of Pagoda.

Well-known artists: Cauby Peixoto, Nelson Gonçalves, Agnaldo Rwayol, Dolores Duran, Maysa, Angela Maria.

Samba enredo

Samba enredo is a samba style that accompanies the samba schools during the carnival parades. The text of a samba enredo tells about the theme represented by the samba school. The text is usually sung by a man, accompanied by a cavaquinho and the bateria (percussion group) of the samba school. The pace of the modern samba enredo is higher than other forms of samba.

Samba reggae

This form of samba is typical of Salvador de Bahia and has a clear political dimension. Samba schools modeled on Rio de Janeiro Salvador de Bahia do exist since the 1950s and 1960s.

In the 1970s inspired the blocos indios on Native American groups such as the Comanches and Apaches. Group members founded in 1974 the first bloco afro. They mixed the rhythms of afoxé with the rhythms, instruments and organization of the samba schools. The bloco afro "Ile Aiye' was inspired by the North American soul and black power, the negritude and decolonization wave of many African countries. In a short time emerged many other blocos.

In 1979 members of the Ile Aiye Bloco Olodum, founded one of the most famous, due to the new rhythm of master percussionist Neguinho do Samba: samba reggae.

However, it is likely that the rhythm is a collective invention, created during the many practice sessions of the blocos where improvisation, experimentation and mutual influences were prevalent. This particular rhythm received its final designation by the American singer and composer Paul Simon after he saw during a visit to Banda Olodum Salvador in the early 80s as a mix between Samba and Reggae. The samba reggae has a slower pace than the samba enredo and at times is beaten on repique with thin, flexible drumsticks - a small, sharp -sounding drum. They give the rhythm a reggae swung.

The influence of reggae is also present in the melody, while the lyrics often deal with African countries, historical figures in the emancipation of the Afro - Brazilians and gods of Candomblé. The strong political character of the blocos is also evident from their involvement and activism in the local community.


The Axe -music is limited to one style or rhythm but is used for all the popular music of Bahia state: the frevo (style from the Northeast of Brazil), the paso doble, salsa, to reggae, samba and marcha.... In the mid 80s, the singer- songwriter Luis Caldas launched the hit songs "Fricto " and Nega the Cabelo dur ' in which he combined elétrico frevo and the rhythm of the Candomblé Ijexá (www.abemusica.com.br). It didn’t take long before the popular music of Bahia was known as axe -music, a combination of the Yoruba word "force that gives life" and the English ‘Music’. The Axe -music was at no time very popular in Brazil and the rest of the world, with the commercial success of Daniela Mercury, Margareth Menezes, Carlinhos Brown, Olodum, and many others.

Other forms of samba

Bossa nova, a jazz version of Samba. Best known for Tom Jobim. Known numbers include

Mas Que Nada of Sergio Mendes and

Girl from Ipanema with music by Antonio Carlos Jobim and text of Vinicius de Moraes.

Samba de breque is an extinct genus of samba whose lyrics and music are occasionally interrupted for a monologue or dialogue.

Dance (traditional)

The above types of music are also a dance. Samba de Gafieira is a traditional partner dance that looks somewhat like the tango.

Also on the samba Pagoda (very fast with lots of fly and throw work) and samba rock (the Brazilian version of the Rock 'n' Roll) is a partner dance danced. Samba no pe (carnival samba) and his axé are samba dances without a partner.

The Samba is essentially an improvised dance. That does not mean that just anything is possible. Dancers can draw on a rich repertoire of dance moves. Which are combined with the basic step further and filled with inspiration of the moment. Longer choreographies are reserved for (dance) performances, the popular hits of the axe -music, or parts of the carnival parades such as the beautiful dance of the porta - bandeira and mestre sala.

Standard dance

The samba is a Latin dance, one of the five Latin dances that belong to the standard dances. This stylized samba has little in common with that samba danced in Brazil.

Characteristic of the style dance samba is the "bounce" movement. In a simple version: standing on the left foot, the right to put forwards while the left leg is stretched slightly causing pelvic tilts. Then you insert the left next to right foot, slightly stretches the left leg while the right foot briefly is lifted and put back. This results in the typical at the same time reciprocating motion of the pelvis and a resilient movement during the steps.

To get a smooth progress and bounce you try to start the movement from the hips, your legs and feet then follow. It resembles the movement you make by whipping with a heavy rope. As a result, you make a wave in it, which leaves your hand and flows to the end of the rope. This movement starts here from your hips.

 Unlike many Latin dances that are performed on the spot, there is much moved on and around the dance floor in the samba. Progressive with short and quick movements.

As in several samba rhythms is played together - it is the most complex Latin dance - dancing is possible both on syncopated measures as on a simple step - step -step manner. Be counted as one-ànd two - with ‘and – two’ syncopated, and as long as a. Many samba moves are often eight measures long, because this is also in most music is the case.

Many of the moves of the samba ask for a special motion of the hips. It is not always easy to learn, but without that move the choreography lacks the right rhythmic and authenticity.