Samba Dance Origin – Some Facts

in Ballroom Dance - Samba

Samba dance origin can be traced back to 16th Century when the Portuguese landed in what is now known as Rio de Janeiro, or at the banks of the January River in the East Coast of South America. Hence the Brazilian influence is very apparent in the Samba dance. Like many dances the Samba too has taken its form from many cultures such the African Culture, the Iberian Culture, the Indian Culture and from other Latin dances.

Samba is a lively, joyful and colorful dance performed with lots of energy and gay abandon. Samba dance origin has been so strong and concrete that till today the Samba dance lends vivacity and color to an occasion and maintains the upbeat mood. The Samba dance is performed in various styles and each style has its own unique attraction. Some examples are the Samba de enredo, a dance performed at carnivals with life and gusto, and the Samba cancon, a dance performed with slower moves and in a relaxed style with a matching musical rhythm.

Some Interesting Facts on Samba Dance Origin:
This dance of Brazilian origin was initially a spiritual dance performed during rituals while invoking the blessings of god. It is said that the meaning of “Samba” is “praying to god” or invoking the blessings of a saint. Hence this dance was always performed with spiritual sincerity and it contributed to the cultural development of the Brazilians. The music produced for dancing the Samba was also full of peace and divinity. However Samba dance origin also took a beating at the hands of the Europeans who tried to forbid people from dancing the Samba labeling it as a sinful dance. Despite the suppression Samba survived to later become popular amongst all cultures.

During the early eighteenth century a complimentary Samba dance evolved which was more composite. This Samba dance origin combined the plait figures of the African Negro dance to the swaying movements and the body rotations of the Lundu dance. Gradually the Samba de enredo steps which are more lively and faster were included. Subsequently the Samba like many other dances got modified to suit the geographical areas and culture and the European style of dancing in closed position was also added. Nearly fifty years after the original Samba dance origin it got accepted in the high societal circles of Rio de Janeiro and came to be known as Zemba Queca and later with further modification came to be known as Mesemba.

Over the passing of time and years, the Mesemba too got modified and the 20 century saw the Mesemba being combined with the Maxixe dance of Brazil and this combo dance became very popular in America and in European countries. Many moves of this combo dance was borrowed from another dance called Polka and was danced to Cuban Habanera music. Another offshoot of the Samba was the popular dance Carioca and soon all forms of the Samba were being performed, appreciated and accepted as a dance of substance and a unique art form.

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