Dancemax Letter #37, Thursday Feb 8 2001

Dancing Tid-bits
Samba Bounce

The purpose of this letter is not to raise a ruckus or point fingers but sincerely, it is an attempt to understand what is written in our textbooks and how to interpret that information and give it to our students.

As perhaps we all know by now, the Revised Technique of Latin American Dancing (ISTD) is history. In its place, for more than twice the money we have five books covering each of the 5 Latin Dances. The other wonderful book is the IDTA Latin Technique Book with it's Supplement.

As I am studying and analyzing these texts, I am picking my brains. I can't tell who is right or who is wrong, but certainly they have 2 different concepts here. Maybe it is me, I am sure it is me

Let's talk Samba Bounce.

What is it: With its origins in Brazil and its carnival character the dance is created by compressing and straightening the Knees. This creates the Bounce which is absorbed in the Pelvis or lower torso of the body. This is referred to as "Bounce Action." It is not bopping "up and own."

How is it created: The compression of the knee takes 1/2 beat and so does straightening, 1/2 beat...OK? We can divide the beat in two parts and call it 1&.where 1 is the first half and & is the second half. So the question is do we bend the knee on "1" and straighten on "&" or it's the other way round To me it is more logical to bend the knee as we step on 1 and then straighten on & .

Quotes from IDTA vs ISTD: I am quoting word for word from the IDTA and ISTD books on this action.

IDTA (Laird): " If the the Timing of the Bounce Action and the timing of the associated foot movements are combined, the resulting timing becomes: & 1 & a 2 & 1 & a 2... etc. The knee straightening of the Bounce Action that commences during "and" after beat "one" continues while the 1/4 beat step is taken.". In other words, here we are straightening the knees on &. and therefore must be compressing on 1.

ISTD: (new ISTD manual on Samba): "The normal bounce action which is so characteristic of Samba can briefly be described as a slight straightening of the knees on the first 1/2 of the beat and a slight flexing on the second 1/2 of the beat". In other words, here we are straightening on 1 and compressing on &

What is the Confusion: As you can see the above quotes are giving me conflicting information or am I reading it wrong? I can go to a coach! Ah-Ha, Coaches, they dont seem to believe in books and most of them don't bother with the books because they know it all, perhaps more than that. Many will say outright "Throwaway the Book". I am sorry it is hard for me to do. So, I hope you understand what is confusing here. Are we using two different techniques or am I simply confused and both mean the same thing, you tell me!

Summary: Now we all know Bounce in Samba is not bopping up and down. It is the samba bounce action that creates Samba. To put it simply the bounce is absorbed in the pelvis by contraction as the knees straighten and retraction as they compress. Please study for yourself what is meant by contraction and retraction of Pelvis which is the basis for Samba.This has to be done for all figures that are counted "1 a 2".

Mr Walter Laird's book described this action in a precise and very clear manner which I was able to understand and the "diagramatics" was very helpful. Even though Reverse Basic is more common (USA), let's stick to a Natural Basic Movement counted "1 a 2". This is commonly described in the textbooks.

My interpretation: ..."Commence with feet together, knees slightly flexed (compressed), weight on the left foot. Release heel of left foot and with pressure on the ball of left foot start to straighten the knees and count "&". (this & belongs to the count 2 of previous bar of music). As the knees straighten move the right foot forward and take weight on the right foot lowering the heel and closing left foot to right foot without weight. Both knees are compressed, Count 1. Start to straighten the knees, count "&" (second half of beat 1). Take partial weight to ball of left foot and count "a" (second 1/2 of &). We might say this "a" is the last 1/4 of beat 1.. Both heels are released at this point. Beat 1 is complete. Now Replace weight on to the Right foot lowering the heel, knees compressed, no weight on left foot heel up, count 2 (beat 2). Now with pressure on the ball of right foot, release the heel of right foot and straighten knees, count & (second 1/2 of beat 2) and repeat the bounce action with left foot going back". Thus the Bounce action count is: "&....1 & a 2 & 1 & a 2 &."... I have put space before strarting beat 1 because this & belongs to 2nd beat of previous bar of music."

Alright, let me study a little more and we will try to find out whether these are contrversies or just different interpretations, time will tell. For now, thank you and Good Bye....Max

Questions and comments to, thank you.

This article is part of and should be seen in the frame context of Dancesport UK, Tid-bits