By Arthur Murray


Sometimes called the South American Waltz, the Samba pulsates to a unique Latin rhythm.



The national dance of Brazil became the rage of it’s society in the 1930’s but began as an exhibition dance in Paris in 1905. Movie star & singer Carmen Miranda, is credited with making the dance popular in the U.S. in the early 1940’s.



Today’s Samba music is influenced by Jazz and Latin rhythms. Its written in 2/4 or 4/4 time. This music is music festive and fast paced with a sound associated with Rio’s Carnival. The basic count is “Slow a Slow” or “1 & 2”.



Walking steps and side steps are the basic components of Samba. The major characteristic of Samba is the vertical bounce action. Steps are taken using the ball of the foot. Knee action along with body sway and “pendulum motion”, in the accomplished dancer, is made to look effortless and carefree.


Teaching Elements:

  • Forward & Back Motion          Weight changes incorporating vertical motion
  • Side Motion                                Weight changes incorporating vertical motion
  • Slip Action                                   Progressing, side, crossing
  • Timing                                          Hold action, timing changes, phrasing
  • Turns                                            Changes of direction with control and proper body and arm action
  • Compare/Contrast                    Waltz, Rumba


Samba songs and artists include:

One Note Samba – Antonio Carlos Jobim

Macarena – Los Del Rio

Copacabana – Barry Manilow     

Quando Quando Quando – Engelbert Humperdinck