Samba dance lessons for beginners

Here is the basic step of the Samba. This is the most basic step for the International Latin style.

A note about how to count Samba:
The music is phrased in a count of 8. And the way you count is 1 a 2, 3 a 4, 5 a 6, 7 a 8. The beat value is 3/4, 1/4, 1. That means that count “a” gets the shortest amount of time for the step.

Natural basic step in Samba:

There is a strong bounce action being used in the Samba. The idea is that the knees never stop bending and straightening. That is essential to the Samba dance.

Samba lesson video transcript:

We begin the Samba with the basic step. We have this: facing each other, the man starts with his weight on his right foot. The lady starts with the weight on the left foot. We have the pattern of one, a-two, three, a-four, five, a-six, seven, a-eight. We imagine we have a pen in front of us and Wendy imagines she has a pen just behind her heels. And in order to not touch the pen, as we step, we have to lift the foot and step over it. And when we land, we’ll land with a ball flat and a soft knee.

So for example, we do this very slow, we have a one. Then, the second step, we close the man’s right foot/ the lady’s left foot with the ball of the foot only. That means the heel does not touch the floor. And we press up and replace back onto the other foot. Now we have a close up look of this. You will see what we are talking about – and, one, a-two.

Now the pen is behind me for Wendy the pen is in front of her and we have to step over it, and one, a-two. And one, a-two, three, a-four – one, a-two, three, a-four – this is called “alternative basic step” and we are counting one, a-two, three, a-four because each bar of music consists of two beats, but split up. One, a-two means – three quarters of a beat, one quarter of a beat, and one beat – three quarters, a quarter, one. The second step, the “a,” since it is only a quarter beat, is a very short time, and it only has part weight.

If I do this facing the camera, you will know what I mean by part weight. One, the “a” is only a short time. So we only use the toe or the ball of foot. And there is no chance to put full weight on that foot, “a” step. Same thing coming back – one, a-two – and this is very common in Samba – part weight.

So we dance the basic step together – and one, a-two, three, a-four, five, a-six, seven, a-eight. We can turn the basic to the left – one, a-two, three, a-four, five, a-six, seven, a-eight. And we dance that to you, for you, with music.

[Music plays]

As you can see there is a soft bounce feeling to the basic, but be sure you only feel that in the legs and not up in the shoulders. So for example, if I do the basic step, let’s do it wrong, Wendy – and we jump up and down too much, that would be very distracting and not very correct – yeah? We want to keep the upper body calm and feel it down the knees and the hips – And one, a-two, three, a-four, five, a-six, seven, a-eight.

I’ll give you a short demonstration of what I men by basic step, stepping over an object. So here’s a pen in front of my feet and I don’t want to kick it. So I have this – one, a-two, three, a-four – one, a-two, three, a-four.

In the basic Samba, we are going to teach you five different elements of basic steps [end playback]