The Samba is a set of dances that originated in Brazil in the late 19th century with roots from Africa. The various forms include the samba no pe (a solo dance), samba de Gafieira (an urban dance form in Rio de Janeiro), the samba pagode from San Paulo, samba reggae, samba de roda, samba rock and ballroom Samba. Carnival celebrations for a hundred years have included a street form of samba dancing in Brazil. Samba is recognized around the globe as a symbol of Brazilian culture. Another dance called the Maxixe was combined with the early forms of Samba and became one of the earliest versions of modern samba.
The Samba evolved into a favorite ballroom dance in both American style rhythm and International style Latin dancing. The ballroom form of Samba is very different than the original Brazilian variations of the dance. Ballroom Samba uses 2/4 timing with three weighted steps in two beats of music. The beats are split uses syncopations. The dance also uses a distinctive downward pulse or dropping action that uses the ankles and knees, which is accomplished by a straightening and bending of the knees accompanied by a specific hip action sometimes called a samba tic. The Samba uses complex, difficult dance techniques like a pelvic tilt that is used to achieve the samba tic, which is necessary to achieve the sensual, rhythmic style of the ballroom Samba.
The Samba has survived the test of time and is still very popular in the United States among ballroom dancers. One can find it at social ballroom dance venues, at Dancesport competitions and it is often chosen for dance performances due to its high energy, sensual movements and African rhythms. Most American style ballroom dance studios offer some Samba dance instruction in their curriculum along with the other American style rhythm dances like cha cha, rumba, mambo and the newer Latin nightclub dances like salsa, merengue and bachata.