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Volta Movements

Samba Volta Movements

The Samba Volta Movements  is Newcomer Level figure. This online reference gives a detailed description of the dance steps, including timing, and movement, technique; a list of figures that may precede or follow the pattern; and videos providing instruction and demonstration of the figure, techniques and practice routines that include it

Traveling Volta commenced with LF (Man/Lady)

LF in front of RF (Cuban Cross)

BFBody faces front, not diagonal. (but hip is turned), 2 feet are on two tracks. Both feet are turned out (front foot is really turned out) and keep the turn out throughout.

Starting position: LF crossed in front of RF.  L hip starts from about 11 o'clock.

Breathe and use soft movement, use sides, not stiff.

End of previous beat:
  • "&": push off ball of LF, rise, squeeze left side, pendulum and L hip rotate to L (draws figure 8 circle), LF heel up, pushing off standing leg creates the power. 
  • "a": continue with foot rise, "a" is very fast, L hip rotate to L, which sends R leg to side, small step. Both legs are straight at this point, on balls of both feet, then move spine to RF.
  • "1": R hip rotation will draw L leg cross in front
    • The action of LF crossing in front of RF is very fast together with the "a" (RF to side), then do slower, controlled knees forward.
    • LF does not take big side step crossing in front. Cross with straight legs, think about pulling L heel crossing over, bringing back of L thigh to meet the front of R thigh, Upper thighs are very tight together. 
    • LF (front foot) turned out. Hip is 1/8 turned out. Keep body facing forward. LF does not cross too close in front of RF, so there is room to allow hip to rotate next.
    • Back knee is against back of front knee, together (not on the side). 
    • After crossing with two straight legs, lower heel, (feet flat, "kiss floor), knees goes forward (bounce action - controlled lowering, knees forward, pelvic tilt forward/pendulum), don't drop knee down which will look heavy. At certain point, knee reaches maximum of going forward. After that, doing more will only  make it go down. On the other hand, do not stay very high. The knee does need to go forward, and hip rotate to diagonal fwd maximum and then back.
    • As knee is going forward, also rotate L hip to L. It's a smaller (than Rumba) half circle. Most rotation is on one hip (L hip in this case), the other hip is more back.
RF to side and slightly back w/o weight, toe turned out

Pressure on IE of T
See earlier technique notes on getting into step 1.
Take part weight to RF and draw LF in front of RF (Cuban Cross)

BF (Pressure on ball of foot)
Push off ball of LF, take part of weight to RF, rotating R hip to R (don't over do it, belt buckle 1 o'clock), the rotation draws LF across in front. See step 1 technique.
a 1 a 2
Repeat step 2 and 3 twice.

It could be extended to an additional 1 or 2 bars of music repeating step 2 and 3, two or 4 times.

Traveling Volta commenced with RF (Man/Lady)

RF in front of LF (Cuban Cross)


LF to side and slightly back w/o weight, toe turned out

Pressure on IE of T

Take part weight to LF and draw RF in front of LF (Cuban Cross)

BF (Pressure on ball of foot)

a 1 a 2
Repeat step 2 and 3 twice.

  • Keep the movement compact, do not step too big. 
  • Soften the movement, access the joints, not using muscle unnecessarily which may make movement stiff.
  • Body still faces forward. (Hip turn is relative to body. If body also turns, there is really no twist.) Keep head flat, do not pop up and down.
  • Front leg has to do a lot of work. For beginners, use "Up-side-down" to remember the motion for Voltas:
    • Use front leg to go up, then step to side, then come down (and cuban cross feet).
  • Do not use back leg to step and push. when practicing, release back foot from floor and let front leg do all the work.
  • There is hip rotation, but the more prominent movement should be pendulum movement.
  • Heel of front foot: not flat, nor up the whole time. It should "kissing" the floor, down on beat, up on 1/2 beat.
  • Body inclination:
    • when starting with RF (RF crossing in front), there can be slight inclination of body to the right. (incline to L when starting with LF).
    • the degree of inclination may be increased in proportion to the amount of turn used.
    • There are exceptions: no body inclination when lady dances Spot Volta turning under arm, (and other steps)
    • Exceptions: No inclination is used in Maypole or when Lady is dancing Spot Volta turning under arm, or during a Foot change.
    • In Roundabout, when commenced with RF, May may incline his body slightly to R or L, (lady normal opposite). Same when commencing with LF.

3 Types of Voltas

  • Traveling Volta:
    • As described above. no turn or may turn up to 3/8 to L or R over 2 bars of music.
    • No turn:
      • Traveling Volta to Left with No turn: Man facing Wall, traveling along LOD. May be danced in Closed Position. Normal or L to R hand hold may be used.
      • Traveling Volta to Right with No turn: Man facing Center, traveling along LOD. May be danced in Closed Position. Normal or L to R hand hold.
      • When danced no turn in Closed Position or Shadow Position, a different timing may be used: ("Drop Volta")
        • step 1 on count "1&", weight on LF, 
        • hold position for "2&"
        • continue with steps 2-5 for counts "a 3 a 4".
    • Traveling Volta is used in Criss Cross Voltas, Shadow Traveling Volta.
  • Circular Volta (Gold and Silver):
    • 1 complete turn to L or R over 2 bars of music.
    • front foot travels around circumference of a small circle.
    • Circular Volta is used in Maypole (Man), Shadow Circular Volta, Roundabout.
  • Spot Volta:
    • 1 complete turn over 1 bar of music. start with L to R hand hold, facing partner. Opposite leg in front. Example: starting RF in front.Weight on RF.
      • 1: end of preceding step, start rising and turning to L, 1/2 turn, step onto LF with weight on "1".
      • a: Keep LF in spot, RF small step fwd, keep turning L
      • 2: Take minimal weight on RF and replace weight on to LF on "2", lowering front LF heel, facing partner again, R knee bent behind L knee in cuban cross position. Can continue Spot Volta to R.
    • To account for distance: use small step on "a", on count "2", foot can step a bit forward.
    • More advanced: 2 complete turns can be done.
    • Spot Volta is used in: