"Dancing Tid-bits" Issue #153, Thursday, September 11, 2003

Dancing Tid-bits
Teaching Samba

Finally, I got rid of the computer virus and so today, I thought of sharing some ideas on teaching Samba. Not that teaching Samba is any different from any other Latin Dance, yet at the same time, I think it requires a slightly different approach. Samba has many different rhythms and of course so many different patterns that most students think it is a dance they would rather leave for the end of their training, not necessarily so.

The Basic Elements: I feel there are 5 basic elements of this Dance. If we can understand the mechanics and body motion to the rhythm of music in each of these movements, learning Samba will become a piece of cake. What are these 5 Basic Elements?
  1. Samba Basic Movement.
  2. Whisk
  3. Samba Walks in PP
  4. The Bota Fogos
  5. The Volta Movements
Today, I would like to share my thoughts with you on the Basic Movement and the Bounce Action.

Samba Basic with Bounce Action: The most important feature of "1a2" rhythm is the samba basic bounce. You can read my letter # 7 and # 37 for details and the controversy. Basically the "Bounce" is an "Action" and does not necessarily mean bouncing your body up and down. As a matter of fact, less the bouncing, better the bounce action. Most common fault is for students to start Samba standing straight and tall and not using the "&", if you know what I mean. We have to start with knees slightly bent and as we get ready to step, use the "&" of previous beat of music to straighten knees and "propel" forward or backward for beat 1. The heel of the supporting foot will release if proper action is used. This brings life into samba. As you finish the step on 1, the knees are bent again; they begin to straighten out on later part of the beat, the "&". During this "&", partial weight is used by the other foot to execute the "a". Remember that during this "&" and "a" the knees are straightening out. Then again as the weight is transferred to the other foot on 2, the knees are bent softly. The body bounce is absorbed in the lower torso i.e. the pelvis which is called the retraction and contraction. The whole process repeats again and again.

If nothing else I hope this tidbit helps my beginner student who started samba last week and so I will stop here and see you next week. With best wishes, Max.

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