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Samba *

Note! These are notes from dance classes prior to 2004. They are archived here for occasional reference.

* Samba is not included in American Style competition dances, but is danced in many American dance venues. These notes are from classes taught by American Style dance teachers.
Tips and Notes:
  • From Ron Montez workshop. Samba bounce, both knees work together. Thighs go forward, don't sit, compress abs. For basics, imagine stepping over a speed bump, without changing level of head. My own discovery: straightening leg I am stepping off of helps the motion. Exercise: rotate knees together right and left. When I am doing basic, leg I step on indicates direction I should be rotating knees. Exercise: leg out to side, raise and lower hip on same side using just my ribs. When I step out to the side, this action should be happening as well. Also, when I step forward, compress abdomen.
  • From lesson with Gail. Dance position is with ribs forward, and waist scooped out. Always make patterns last four measures, i.e., 8 whole counts. Practice pattern: four side basics, four copas forward, four bota fogos, four back bota fogos, back to side basics.
  • No up and down of the head and shoulders. Knees and waist should absorb all the samba bounce. Feet shouldn't leave the ground.
  • New exercise from Liz. Bounce up and down, like on Ron Montez video, knees together. Then starting with down stroke, rotate knees clockwise to right, bounce straight, then rotate knees counterclockwise to left. I make a figure 8. Right rotation corresponds to front half of american basic, left rotation to back half. Knees work together, not in opposition.
  • Important discovery, I think. I keep hearing the steps described as "ball ball flat". Translating that into motion means doing that, and remembering that "ball" means the inside ball of the foot. I will have to play with that, but I think that will give me the samba motion.
  • Exercise 1: Bounce up and down, only bending at knees. Exercise 2: right leg out to side, make clockwise circle with hip. Mirror image on left side. That's the motion for Brazilian Basic
  • 'Cuban' motion in the Samba is more forward and back than side to side. Basic rhythm is 1 a2 3 a4. In other words, if we assume each beat is a quarter note, after 1, I wait for three-sixteenths before the next step, with the next one one sixteenth note after. Always ball lead. No reason for the heels to touch the ground.
  • Pearl describes samba latin motion as reverse cuban motion. In other latin dances, hip movement takes place over the foot. Not enough time for that in samba. Take small steps.
  1. Samba Solo

    Danced to Ricky Martin's La Bomba. Start after eight measures.
  2. American Basic

    Variation of: Basic: Bronze 1
    1. LF forward
    a. RF feet together
    2. Ball change
    3. RF back
    a. LF feet together
    4. Ball change
  3. Brazilian Basic or Samba Box

    Variation of: Basic: Bronze 1
    1. LF forward
    a. RF side
    2. LF slide feet together
    3. RF back
    a. LF side
    4. RF slide feet together
  4. Break Away

    Variation of: Basic: Bronze 1
    In American Basic, when I am going back, keep her out there, so that we move away from each other, and then move back together. 1, LF forward, lower LH to clue her in. a2, RF feet together, partial weight on ball. 3a4, back basic, she goes back. 5a6, we come together. 7a8, normal back basic.
  5. Break Away to Under Arm Turn

    Variation of: Basic: Bronze 1
    On breakaway, instead of coming back together on 5a6, do left whisk and lead her into UAT. 7a8, right whisk, angling to go back to her into closed hold. Then go into a box.
  6. Under Arm Turn

    Variation of: Basic: Bronze 1
    Open Break on Right Balancete, then outside UAT like all the other dances
  7. Open Break

    Variation of: Basic: Bronze 1
    On right Balancete, just like all the other open breaks.
  8. Merengue Chasse/Conga Timing

    Variation of: Basic: Bronze 1
    Merengue chasse
    American basic, then:
    1, lower LH, and step left, turning hip with step.
    2, draw RF to left
    34, repeat.
    Conga Timing
    1, step forward, LF
    2, RF forward
    3a4, front half of american basic
    repeat the above, going backward
  9. Balancetes, Whisks or Side Basics

    Variation of: Balancetes: Bronze 1
    1 LF side
    a. RF slightly behind LF, partial weight
    2. Straighten right leg, pushing off slightly, to raise LF slightly. On straighten of left leg, left hip goes up and back, right hip goes forward
    3. RF side
    a. LF slightly behind RF
    4. RF ball change
  10. Open Balancetes

    Variation of: Balancetes: Bronze 1
    Like fifth position break in bolero, open up, catch her with right hand, on left side catch with left hand, finish after right side with front box.
  11. Under Arm Turn Left and Right

    Variation of: Balancetes: Bronze 1
    Open break, outside turn, right whisk, left whisk, then inside turn
  12. Alternate Under Arm Turns

    Variation of: Balancetes: Bronze 1
    After leading partner to outside under arm turn in whisks, do right turn, under my left arm, keeping connected with my LH, and her RH. Another outside turn for her, then back into closed position. Keep left elbow down when I am turning
    This has been corrected by Steve. Now I do turn first, then partner.
  13. Cross Hand Change

    Variation of: Balancetes: Bronze 1
    In this pattern, I'm going to lead her with her right hand. On left whisk, lead her RH through between us, opening her up, and take it with my RH. Use that RH to lead her to open up on the right whisk, and take her LH in my LH underneath. On left whisk, face loop with RH, on right whisk, face loop with LH, then into box.
  14. Copacabanas or Samba Walks

    Variation of: Copacabanas: Bronze 1
    From right whisk, facing wall
    1. Turn to promenade position, LF side, pointing LOD
    a. right knee to back of left knee, left knee still bent
    2. straighten right leg back against LOD
    1. RF forward along LOD
    a. left knee to back of right knee
    2. straighten left leg back against LOD
    To get out of Copacabanas, when LF is stepping on 1.
    1. LF forward along LOD, Bring her around so she makes half turn
    a. RF forward along LOD, turn to face partner
    2. LF feet together
  15. Reverse Copacabanas

    Variation of: Copacabanas: Bronze 1
    Starting from Open Break
    Steve has us ending it with a bota fogo and back box
    Ron Montez ending: when left foot is free for next measure, forward box to end pattern.
    1. LF left
    a. RF crosses left behind, partial weight, CBMP, frame faces partner
    2. full weight on LF
    1. RF forward, maintain position of upper arm relative to body, lead LH forward like cross-over break. CBMP facing away from partner, right leg and body move like I'm kicking a ball
    a. LF partial weight back
    2. full weight on RF
    1. LF forward, Lead with LH back so she faces me, stop her LH with my RH, CBMP, facing partner
    a. partial weight RF back
    2. full weight LF
    1. RF forward, maintain position of upper arm relative to body, lead LH forward like cross-over break. CBMP facing away from partner
    a. LF partial weight back
    2. full weight on RF
    1. LF forward. Lead with LH back so she faces me. CBMP, facing partner
    a. RF forward and across her, partial weight. Into promenade position
    2. CW LF
    1a2. back box
  16. Reverse Copa Cabanas to Inside Turn

    Variation of: Copacabanas: Bronze 1
    When RF is free, that is, RF is back, and I am facing partner, I do a right forward basic while leading partner in inside turn, then go into a box.
  17. Double Copacabanas

    Variation of: Copacabanas: Bronze 1
    First do reverse copas. When I finish a measure with my left foot forward, swing left arm down and around on 1, while stepping forward with right foot, half turn, and close hold. on 'a', left foot behind right, into promenade position. On 2, CW RF, and I'm ready to go into copas.
    OR: start with copas, when RF is free at end of measure, step into a whisk to the left, turning to face partner, then go into reverse copas.
  18. Two Way Com Pasos

    Variation of: Two Way Com Pasos: Bronze 2
    from front half of box
    a. RF side, partial weight, Lower LH to indicate we are moving right.
    1. LF feet together, repeat twice more
    1. RF back
    a. LF side, partial weight, Raise LH hand, to indicate we are moving left.
    2. RF feet together
    a. LF side, partial weight
    1. RF feet together
    repeat above two steps twice more, then back into box
  19. Curving Compasos

    Variation of: Two Way Com Pasos: Bronze 2
    Same as Com Pasos, but I am curving to the left.
  20. Com Paso Roll

    Variation of: Two Way Com Pasos: Bronze 2
    Like Com Paso, but I am I doing a roll like the rolling box, and curving to my right.
  21. Paulistas

    Variation of: Paulista: Bronze 2
    On each change of direction, first step is between her feet, not outside her.
    1. LF side, from right whisk
    a. RF side, partial weight, lead her to my left at angle with my frame, lead comes from frame, a little before next step
    2. CW LF
    1. RF cross in front of left, start her going across me, when I make this step, she should be even with me again. CBM, so that I feel like I'm turning my body to step backwards. Lead happens a little before I step.
    a. LF side, partial weight, use my frame to take her the rest of the way to my right
    2. CW RF
    1. LF cross in front of right
    a. RF side, partial weight
    2. CW LF
    1. RF cross in front of left
    a. LF side, partial weight
    2. CW RF
    1. LF cross over right, QT left
    a. RF side, partial weight, draw her back into closed hold
    2. LF together, into back box from here
  22. Open Paulista

    Variation of: Paulista: Bronze 2
    Like Paulista, except that I catch her on each side like in the Open Balancetes
  23. Promenade Runs

    Start with Paulista to the left. Bring her back across as if we were going to do a Paulista to my right, release LH, then two steps forward, bring her with me, end up with RF crossed in front of left. LF right across her, turning to face her, stay on ball of LF, put left arm around her back, release right arm, continue turning until I have done a 360 to end up on her other side; two more running steps forward, end up with LF crossed in front of RF. Repeat as desired. To end, after taking her across me, when I have my LF free, QT right, do left whisk.
  24. Shadow Paulista

    Variation of: Paulista: Bronze 2
    From Copas. When my next 1 is LF forward, lead her into UAT, stopping her with hand on back, while I step into Paulista. On Paulista to the left, lead her into inside turn, again stopping her. Least dangerous way to get out seems to be back to back com pasos.
  25. Reverse Turns or Left Cross Turns

    On box, I will be doing close to half-turn on each half-box. Way to do it is short steps, and always look through the living room window (over lady's right arm). On forward half, I end up doing half turn, with LF crossed over RF, right heel free. Make steps very small on second half, so that she can get around me.
  26. Reverse Turns to Paulistas

    Do two full traveling boxes. At end of second box, when feet come together and left foot is free, step forward with LF, and lead her to my left, to go into Paulistas.
  27. Boto Fogo

    1. Man steps forward, LF, lady steps back, RF.
    a. Man steps side, RF, without committing weight, lady mirrors
    2. Commit weight to LF, turning feet and head to left
    3. Man RF step through to left.
    a. Man LF promenade forward.
    4. RF feet together, closing up frame.
    this is the proper way to get into Samba Walks
  28. Traveling Boto Fogos

    Variation of: Boto Fogo: Bronze 3
    1, LF forward, lowering LH. a, RF side, turn frame left. 2, CW RF. 3 RF step across left. a, turn frame right, LF side. 4, CW RF. Feeling of feet is like copas, and difference from Paulista is partner is coming with me, not going against me. To change direction and go the other way, when RF is free after a forward botofogo, do forward american basic, staying outside partner. (This is with opposite feet of normal american basic.) Then, 1, LF back; a, RF diagonal back; 2, CW LF, turning hips and frame to right. 3, RF back across LF; a, LF side, pointing out; 4, CW RF turning hips to left. Repeat. To exit, when RF is free for next measure, instead of going to side, go straight back, into back half of american basic.
  29. Back to Back Com Pasos

    Start with traveling boto fogos.
    Instead of doing standard close, lead lady into outside turn, and bring feet together.
    4 Voltas right, lady facing me.
    half turn frame right, so we are back to back, left hand extended, and do four voltas left.
    1a23a4, Turn back to face partner, into botofogo and promenade close.
  30. Grapevine

    Assuming I start with left whisk, count goes 1a2 3a4a5a6a7a8. 3a4, right whisk. a5, LF side, RF hooks behind, frame turns left to lead partner. a6, LF side, RF crosses in front, frame turns right. a7a8 same as a5a6. At this point I have RF crossed in front of LF, LF free, go into box.
  31. Forward and Backwards Walks

    From American Basic. 5, LF forward, CBMP. 6, RF forward, CBMP. 7, LF forward, CBMP. 8, RF forward, CBMP. American Basic, then repeat the same thing going backwards.
  32. Reverse Copa to Free Spin

    1a2. left Balancete setting up for reverse copa
    3a4. reverse copa step, ending on RF
    5.LF along line of copas, lead her along line
    a. RF forward, pivoting on LF, bring LH across body left to lead free spin, turn left to face partner
    6. pivoting RF, LF forward, lead lady into free spin right, when I come around, offer left hand, left turn to face away from partner
    7. pivoting on LF, RF forward, gather lady up into closed hold, turn to face partner
    a8. complete a balancete right
  33. Back Spot Turn to Man's Underarm Turn to Back Spot Turn to Lady's Outside Turn

    1a2. Balancete left
    3. RF side and back, releasing closed hold, lead lady to do balancete to her left, Open Break in Samba
    a4. complete balancete
    5. LF forward and side, with LH lead lady to face me, and close hold with RH, turn to face lady, approx 1/4 turn, stay outside partner
    a. RF cross behind, QT right
    6. LF side, QT right
    7. RF forward past partner, release RH, raise LH and go under, QT left
    a. LF side, lower LH, QT left
    8. RF slightly in front of left
    9a10. another back spot turn
    11. RF foot can cross in front of or behind LF to continue rotation raise LH to indicate UAT right
    a. LF side, lead lady to start uat
    12. RF feet together, lead lady to complete uat, and bring hand down
    1a2. forward into box, forward motion is to indicate change from rotation of the last six measures
  34. The Spring

    1a23a4. one complete box
    5. LF side, and push against it, but keep weight on RF, lead lady to step to her right but no more
    a. lead lady to CW to her LF
    6. lead lady to step across me with her RF, and after she steps, lead her to pivot on the RF to her right a half turn, like in Tango fans
    7. lead lady to step across me with her LF
    a. lead lady to continue stepping across with RF
    8. RF feet together, lead lady to bring her LF to her right
  35. Man's wrap to lady's outside turn.

    Left Balancete. Open Break to two hand hold. 1, raising RH, step forward and left with LF. a, RF side, wrapping myself. 2 LF back, so that I push against lady's right arm with my back. 3, release RH, step in place with RF, doing half turn, and starting to lead lady into outside turn. a, LF, continue to turn in place, continue lady's outside turn. 4, complete full turn in place, lowering left hand after lady's turn. Follow with box.
  36. Two way grapevine

    1a2, boto fogo, to move into promenade position.
    3a4, RF step in place, lead lady across me, LF in place, RF step forward, leading LH forward to start her moving down a line, forearm to forearm.
    5a6a7a8, LF cross in front of RF, turn to face lady, palm to palm my LH to her RH; RF side, LF behind RF, RF side, LF cross in front of RF, RF side, LF cross behind RF. On last grapevine, keep weight on RF, to stop the run
    1a2a3a4, sweep RF behind LF, grapevine the other way.
    5678, walk four paces, while leading lady into inside turns.
  37. Cuddle samba walks with roll in and out

    Whisk to left, to 2 hand hold. Inside turn, keeping both hands, bringing her into cuddle position. Two samba walks in cuddle position. When LF is free, roll her out right, while I whisk to the left, using RH to control how far she goes. Roll her back in with whisk to right. To end, when RF is free for next samba walk, instead release RH, and go into natural samba box to close.
  38. Inside Turn to Spring and Outside Turn

    1a2, whisk left
    3a4, whisk left, opening up into promenade
    5a6, samba walk
    7a8, lead her into inside turn down line, getting hand on her back, so that on next step she doesn't rock back.
    1a2, with hand on her back, LF down line, keep hips back; CW RF, start bringing her back with me; LF back up line
    34, QT right with feet in place, while leading her into outside turn past me
    5a67a8, go into box
  39. Spring to Inside Turn

    Whisk Left
    Open Break
    1. LF forward, draw her in.
    'a'. CW RF, push her back
    2. LF side, start to lead inside turn to change places
    1a2. Cross side cross.
    Repeat once, on second one, don't cross on the two.
    Lead her into outside turn
  40. Inside Turn to Spring to Outside Turn

    Whisk left
    Inside turn, over turning so she does one and a quarter, and step to the other side of the slot, and get RH on her back.
    5a67a8, lead her into one and a half outside turns, walking to follow her
  41. Maxixe/Double Maxixe

    a. Left heel forward, swing body with pendulum action
    1. Slide RF a little forward
    a. LF back, no weight.
    2. Slide RF back a little.
    For double, do maxixe forward, back, forward, forward, back, forward, back, back.
  42. Boto Fogo

    1. LF forward, start opening frame into promenade
    a. RF side.
    2. Change weight to LF
    3. RF through in promenade.
    a. LF forward, and close up frame
    4. RF feet together.
  43. Same Foot Com Pasos

    1a2. Start with one samba walk.
    a3a4. Maxixe with RF, i.e. in promenade, RF heel forward, slide LF forward, RF back, LF slide back. This is a fake to get us on the same foot.
    1a2a3a4, voltas to the left, with arms extended.
    1a2a3a4, voltas to the right.
    a1a2. I do another RF maxixe, while lady does a boto fogo.
    3a4. boto fogo ending.
  44. Roundabout

    1a2. Boto fogo beginning.
    a3a4. RF maxixe, while leading lady into doing boto fogo ending, while closing up frame.
    1a2a3a4. Voltas left in a tight circle around lady, opening up frame on last set.
    1a2a3a4. Voltas right, in a tight circle around lady, opening up frame on last set.
    1a2. Lead lady to step through with her RF and do a boto fogo, while I do a RF maxixe.
    3a4. Boto fogo ending.
  45. Criss-Cross

    Side Samba walks.
    1. When LF is free on first beat of measure, step through under my arm, to switch positions with lady
    a2a3a4. voltas right, facing lady.
    1. Lead lady under my arm to change places again.
    a2a3a4. Voltas left.
  46. Right to Right Promenade Runs

    Start with Open Break to Underarm Turn
    Change to R2R on turn
    1a2, RF feet together, LF in place, then RF slightly forward, turning lady to face in same direction I am.
    3a4, cut across lady with LF, half turn, RF together and pivot, half turn, LF slightly forward.
    1a2, as lady performs exactly the same maneuver I just did, I step RF forward, between her feet as she cuts across me, and then two steps forward to get past her.
    Repeat a couple of times, and to end, lead lady to do free spin when she would cut across me.
  47. Shadow Paulista to Shadow Lock Walks to Shadow Voltas to Same Foot BotoFogos.

    Start from Copas into Shadow Paulista.
    When I have lady to my right, lead her to do inside turn, releasing her right hand as she comes around, catch her waist with my RH, and catch her LH in mine, in shadow position again. While she steps 1a2, I just do two walks, 12, to get on the same foot.
    1a234. Lock step, and two steps forward. Repeat twice.
    Voltas traveling right, curving into previous line of travel.
    Voltas traveling left, again curving into original line of travel.
    1a2, step with left foot into boto fogo, leading lady to turn left to face me, leading her to do the same boto fogo
    3a4,1a2,3a4, we do boto fogos on either side, and we are doing them on the same feet, not mirrored.
    To end, use same fake as for roundabout.