International Latin Samba Technique Explained — How To Dance Like A Pro


Out of the five International Latin dances, I think the hardest dance is samba. The technique requires coordination of many body parts, plus it is rather fast. (Yes jive is faster, but jive uses mostly springing action, and does not require as much coordination of many body parts as samba.)

So here are some tips for International Latin samba basic technique.

1) Bouncing action is the key for samba basic characterization. Bouncing action is created from bending and straightening of the knees (and compression of ankles) and also raising and lowering of the heel in between the whole counts. Explained by Slavik.

Count for bouncing action is —- One & Two & ——
(& designates half beat.)

2) Pelvic Actions that accompany bouncing actions are explained here by Monika.

There are two pelvic positions to be taken clearly (by contracting and releasing abdominal-pelvic muscle). One for whole count(down) and another for “&” (up).

The count for pelvic action is — One & Two & —-
(same as bouncing action)

3) Feet movement in Samba: Bouncing Action occurs separately from Feet Movement and in two separate timings:
“&” (1/2): At half beat, the knee goes up or down, but foot does not move at the same time. (Foot moves on “a” which comes after “&”.) Heel is released. Start straightening the legs. Keep weight forward.
“a” (1/4): Move the leg, without weight (or with partial weight), both knees are straight.

Count for samba action including bouncing action and feet movement —- One & a Two & a Three & a Four & a ——.


4) Where Do You Use Bouncing Action?
In samba, some steps need very little bouncing action. But most of the basic steps need clear incorporation of this bouncing action, and precise timing. For example in Volta, feet does not move at “&” but at “a” and while keeping straightened (already at “and”) knee.
Book of technique indicates details of bouncing requirement. In general, a step that has a timing of “One & a Two ” (which indicates up position at “&” and feet movement at “a”) has bouncing action.

5) Actual stepping actions require initiation of movement by twisting of core area and hip (commonly called figure eight) which ends in, or accompanied by pelvic action. For example, if you try to do Volta action just by using bending and straightening of legs, it will look very rigid and requires a lot of exhaustive work. When you use twisting & compression of hip joint (figure eight) action to initiate leg action, it will create fluid and dynamic movement.

At 1:30 —- Figure Eight action in samba explained.

Creating figure eight: “Figure Eight” should not be about hip movement. Very common mistake is twisting hips without contraction and release of core muscles (abdominal, oblique, and back muscles). Figure eight is a result of contraction/release/twisting of core muscles and weight shift. Here is an exercise for developing Latin core muscle memory.

So you want to dance like a pro? This stuff is exactly what the pros have to master before they go putting together fancy routines. Go slowly though. You may twist your ab muscles if you go too fast.


No Responses Yet to “International Latin Samba Technique Explained — How To Dance Like A Pro”

  1. Leave a Comment

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: