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.

There are different types of Volta as described below.

Traveling Volta

Traveling Volta typically has no turn or may turn up to 3/8 to L or R over 2 bars of music.

  • 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.

Traveling Volta commenced with LF (Man/Lady)

  • 1: LF in front of RF (Cuban Cross) | BF

    • Start: LF crosses in front of RF. L hip at about 11 o'clock, body 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.

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

    • End of previous beat:

      • "&": push off ball of LF (standing leg) to create power, rise, LF heel up, squeeze left side, pendulum and L hip rotate to L (draws figure 8 half circle).

      • "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, on straight leg first, together with the "a" (RF to side), then do slower, controlled knees forward, lowering.

        • LF does not take big side step crossing in front. Pull L heel crossing over, with straight leg before lowering, bringing back of L thigh to meet the front of R thigh, Upper thighs are very tight together. For a moment, both legs are straight. Then, knees forward.

        • 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, pelvic tilt forward), 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 start rotating back to L

        • 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.

  • a: RF to side and slightly back w/o weight, toe turned out | Pressure on IE of T

    • See step 1 technique.

  • 2: 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)

  • 1: RF in front of LF (Cuban Cross) | BF

  • a: LF to side and slightly back w/o weight, toe turned out | Pressure on IE of T

  • 2: 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 bounce, 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.

  • Volta action (when finishing Volta, knee fwd, butt in, don't leave butt out/back).

  • Pay attention to elbow position, elbow is diagonally down, not upward

  • 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 Maypole,

      • when Lady dances Spot Volta turning under arm, or during a Foot change.

    • In Roundabout, when commenced with RF, Man may incline his body slightly to R or L, (lady normal opposite). Same when commencing with LF.

  • Arms: The free arm should not be static.

    • Option: 1 - draw free arm in quickly, then take the whole a2a3a4 to extend it out to the side.

    • Option: same side arm as the foot crossing in front goes in front of the body, drawing an almost half circle plate in front over the 4 counts.

  • When in closed position: Lady's RH to Man's LH, elbow is downward/out angle, not too out/flat, not too close to body either. Keep tone and not flapping elbow when doing multiple Voltas.

  • Traveling Volta is used in Criss Cross Voltas, Shadow Traveling Volta.

Drop Volta

Drop Volta is danced with no turn in Closed Position or Shadow Position, a different timing may be used: "Drop Volta" - holding 2 beats.

Example: starting with LF:

  • Step on count "1", weight on LF,

  • Hold position for "2"

  • Continue with steps Traveling Volta steps 2-5 for counts "a3 a4".

Circular Volta

Circular Volta is a Silver and Gold level step:

Spot Volta

Spot Volta:

  • 1 complete turn over 1 bar of music.

  • Spot Volta to L: 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.

  • Lady can dance Spot Volta to R under raised arms (Man dances Whisk to L). It can be an ending to Criss Cross Bota Fogos, Argentine Crosses.

  • Lady dances 1-3 Spot Volta in Foot changes 1 and 2, Foot Changes 3 and 4, Maypole (Man turning L)

  • Lady dances 1-3 Spot Volta to L under raised arms (Man dances Whisk to R) in Solo Spot Volta, Maypole (Man turning R))

Preceding Figures for Traveling Volta to Right

  1. Natural Basic Movement

  2. Reverse Basic Movement

  3. Rhythm Bounce

  4. Side Basic Movement

  5. Whisk To Right

Following Figures for Traveling Volta to Right

  1. Whisk To Right

Preceding Figures for Traveling Volta to Left

  1. Bota Fogos To Promenade and Counter Promenade

  2. Maypole

  3. Natural Basic Movement

  4. Promenade And Counter Promenade Runs

  5. Reverse Basic Movement

  6. Rhythm Bounce

  7. Side Basic Movement

  8. Traveling Bota Fogos Back

  9. Whisk To Left

Following Figures for Traveling Volta to Left

  1. Whisk To Left

  2. Samba Walk: Stationary (Traveling Volta to Left is in Closed Position)