"Dancing Tid-bits" Issue #48, Thursday, April 26, 2001

Dancing Tid-bits
Bronze Samba Routine

Recently I had an opportunity to teach a Samba class at the University of Michigan Ballroom Dance Club. It was a Beginner-Intermediate group, rather large number, up to 60 students in the class which is really quite a challenge. We tried to cover Bronze Level ISTD Syllabus and developed a Routine that is presented below:

My Approach: In my opinion, Teaching Samba is slightly different from other Latin dances. Each element of the dance such as Whisk, Basic Movement, Bota Fogo and Volta movements, etc., must be introduced as separate steps like you would teach alphabet A to Z. Once the basic elements have been introduced and if students understand the timing, basic technique and a little bounce action, they are ready for choreography and dance to music. Usually I will take it in gradual increments and spend first 30 minutes on drilling the figures and then put them together and start to build a simple choreographic routine.

Line of Dance: This concept must be introduced from the very first day but I tell my students if they are not ready, just carve a spot in the Center and do your Basic and Whisks, etc., to enjoy pulsating music but do not block the LOD.

The difference in the beat value of "a" and "&" is important. "a" is 1/4 beat and "&" represents 1/2 beat. Also that "a" or "&" belong to the beat gone by. This must be clearly understood. Thus Basic Samba 1a 2 or Sa S.has beat value 3/4 1/4 1. Volta Movement is 1a 2a 3a 4, with beat value 3/4 1/4 3/4 1/4 3/4 1/4 1,

It is important to understand the difference between 1&2 and 1 2&, the former being QQS (1/2 1/2 1) and later SQQ (1 1/2 1/2). We used the S QQ QQ QQ or 1 2& 3& 4& for the Corta Jaca Movement. The following Routine was very workable and everyone was able to grasp quite well.
  1. Basic (Reverse Basic) 1-8,
  2. Whisk X2, spot Volta turn R (lady) and then whisk to R, end in PP, 1-8.
  3. Samba Walks in PP, 1-8
  4. Prom to Counter Prom. Bota Fogo and Side Samba Walk 1-8
  5. Criss Cross Bota Fogo 1-4
  6. Criss Cross Volta, man starts on LF 5-8 and 1-4, end with Whisk to L and R,
  7. Corta Jaca (modified) LF forward on 1 and then RF back on 5 (Man)
  8. Reverse Basic 1-8, turning left, end facing Diag Center
  9. Reverse Turn 1-8
  10. Backward Bota Fogos preceded by 1-3 of Rev Turn
  11. Change Backward Bota Fogos to PP and follow with.PP to CPP Runs
  12. Resume Samba Walks in PP and start again.
It was fun to mingle with so many young student dancers and it is amazing how well they learned it, so Thanks! Maize and Blue and look forward to another chance soon. The U of M Union Ballroom?.. Simply "ELEGANT" ! .....With best wishes, Max

By the way did you see Gary and Diana vs Alain and Anik at Hyatt last week. It was fabulous, good crowds almost on their feet all the time...! Superb Dancing.

Questions and comments to Dancemax@aol.com, thank you.

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