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Samba is a Brazilian dance created in the 19th century, based on African dances. Samba was born in Bahia, Brazil and developed in Rio de Janeiro.

Samba dance can be performed solo or with a partner. Solo dance, known as Samba no Pé, is the main attraction of Brazilian Carnival and our focus as dancers in Unidos do Ritmo  (United in Rhythm). The basic movement involves a straight body and a bending of one knee at a time. The feet move very slightly – only a few inches at a time. The rhythm is 2/4, with 3 steps per measure. The dance simply follows the beat of the music and can go from average pace to very fast.

Samba dancers in costume at carnival parade
Samba dance around the world

Passistas (samba dancers) dance Samba no Pé in Brazilian Carnival parades and in other Samba carnivals over the world. This is also one of the most common types of samba dancing in Brazil.

Unidos do Ritmo Leeds also approaches Samba Reggae dance, born out of of Brazilian Samba and Jamaican Reggae through the Axé musical movement.  Also originating in Bahia, the Samba Reggae dance forms are also influenced by Salsa dance and Candomblé. Very popular in songs by Olodum and Daniela Mercury, Samba Reggae has less acrobatic movements and focuses on the synchronicity of head, arms and legs.

Find out more about our dance instructor Thali, or samba dance lessons with Leeds Samba.