Samba dance: Origins and history

Samba, through its enthusiastic and energetic form, is a type of Brazilian dance has a deep effect on the heart and minds of people. Samba is a musical composition which comprises of different rhythm which has led to many different types of samba dances. Regardless of the basic samba rhythm, all types of samba are linked together. A Brazilian samba dancer must not only have the talent but must also spend a great deal of time practicing. The combination of their natural talent and several hours of practice enhance their dancing skills which make for a fabulous show.

The samba dance is a rhythmical dance that has been practiced since the 18th century. Although, the history of samba is not entirely clear. While some research about its history noted that it is a form of dance that started in Africa. Others said that samba was a dance of the slaves. We were also made to understand that samba originated from another dance called “Choro”. All been said, samba is considered a mix of two essential forms of music art – dance and signing.

Samba: Origins

Following the story in the 19th century, some slaves were transferred to Vale do Paraíba to work on the coffee plantation; but they didn’t go empty-handed, they brought the samba with them. Back then, the colonialist hated the music and dance thus they failed to approve it. Later on, many improvements were made in the dance which made it later moved to the National Capital, Rio de Janeiro.


Gradually, samba was transformed from a slave dance into a group dance, and then a couple dance. After the annulment of slavery, samba gained rapid popularity. In 1917, Pelo Telefone was considered the first samba recording, recorded by Mauro Almeida and Ernesto dos Santos (Donga). The success of this recording continued even beyond the black ghettos.

Samba got introduced into the United States in 1920. After that, samba dance and music gained rapid mainstream growth. During 1929, Ismael Silva led a group of musician to form Deixa Falar – the first Samba School, around Estácio de Sá. This group transformed the genre of the music to best fit the carnival parade.

Samba dance comprises of a series of steps which makes it overwhelming and congruous at the same time. The dance requires the dancer to bend the knee, keeping the body straight at the same time.

Partido alto is the oldest form of Samba

Other styles of samba dance are samba-enredo, bossa nova, samba-canção, neo pagoda, balance, samba de roda (a mix of capoeira and samba), samba de gafieira, and samba de breque.

During carnivals in Brazil, samba isn’t all about dancing; it is about pride. Each neighborhood has their own unique dance moves. They own samba schools where people learn how to dance and parade. It is very exciting and no one is usually left idle; those who can’t dance will put the costumes together. Winning in the yearly competition is the uttermost goal of the samba dancers.

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