What Is Samba?
Ballroom Samba is a partner dance derived from a Brazilian street dance of the same name. It is danced to fast, lively Latin music in 2/4 time.
Basic Samba movements are danced with a slight bouncing action caused by bending and straightening of the knees. The steps involve a lot of quick footwork, stepping on the ball of the foot first. There are three steps to dance in every two beats.
Finding Samba Dance Steps for Free
If you want to learn samba dance steps for free, there are many resources—both online and in your community—available to you. Here are some places you can find free samba dance steps:
- YouTube. YouTube offers an abundance of free samba dance step lessons. Some are better than others, so you’ll have to cruise the site a bit to find which teachers explain the steps in a way that resonates with you.
- Expert Village. Expert Village features a series of videos by a professional Samba dancer that teach a variety of steps.
- Local Latin dance clubs and restaurants are also good resources for those looking to learn free Samba dance steps. Many clubs offer free lessons with a professional before the club officially opens for a dance event. They are happy to provide the free lessons if it means that they’ll gain business. To find free samba dance step lessons, call up local clubs and ask about their events.
Some Basic Samba Dance Steps
While there are several dance steps in the Samba, here are some basic steps and positions you can expect to learn:
- Promenade Dance Position: The Promenade dance position refers to a certain way that partners hold each other during ballroom dance. The woman’s right hand is in the man’s left, held at about eye level while the man’s right hand is on the woman’s left shoulder blade just under her left arm. The woman places her left hand flat on the man’s back, just behind his shoulder. Both partners face forward with their feet and bodies angled slightly toward each other.
- Conga Step: If you’ve participated in a Conga line, you can do the Conga as a Samba dance step. Simply put, the Conga step is a side-stepping forward-moving dance step.
- Samba Walks: Samba Walks is a step that is typically used as a transition to lead into other steps. Samba Walks starts in the promenade position with the partners walking forward together before facing each other again.
Samba Dance Step Tips
- In the ballroom Samba, the woman dances the same steps as the man, but on the opposite foot. The woman starts forward on her right foot and follows the man’s lead.
- As a general rule, when you’re learning new dance steps, practice the basic moves over and over until they are second nature to you. You can do this with or without music. When you can dance them without thinking about how to move, then you are ready to move on to more complicated steps.
- In Samba, the heel should never lower on the “and” count because it will slow you down. Take all steps in Samba with the ball of the foot first, and then lower the heel–unless you are stepping on the "and" count. Lowering the heel will slow you down, and you don’t want to fall behind the music.