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A Brief History of Samba

Samba is one of the hottest ballroom dance that hit the contemporary scene today. But did you know that samba traces its roots back to Afro-Brazilian culture? It developed as the culture of Portuguese blended with the culture of Brazil when Brazil was colonized. This happened when the Portuguese wanted to take advantage of Brazil’s weather to grow different crops like coffee and sugar. However, they could not find acceptable manpower in Brazil since the Indians at that time thought that this way of life is unacceptable. The Portuguese then had to look for labor elsewhere and they found it in Africa.

Of course, the African bought some of their culture with them when they went Brazil and thus the Afro-Brazilian culture was born. This kind of culture affected different parts of the Brazil because it was expressed in various ways throughout the country. One of the best things that emerged from this culture is the development of many exciting dances we know today, of course, one of them is the samba. It is important for you to note though that samba is a widely used term; in Europe, samba is used to refer to several kinds of samba music among them are baio, afro bloc, samba-reggae, and maracatu. And in Brazil itself, “samba” is actually used to refer to the carnival music that is related to Rio and San Paulo.

However, nobody can say for sure when the term “samba” actually came from but many believe that this was derived from the word “samba” which is term used to describe the traditional dance from Africa that was bought early on to Brazil. While samba was popular with the Afro-Brazilian community though, it was a few years later when it came to the attention of the white Brazilians due to the advent of the radio and other music players at that time. Then the first samba school, Deixa Falar, was established. Many other schools followed suit and some of these schools exists up to this date. The typical samba schools actually consists of a lot of members, it can reach as high as 4000 members even though not all of them will be able to participate in the carnival. The samba school carnivals usually include drummers, dancers, singers, and musicians.

While samba is certainly one of the best dances that has great beat nowadays, samba is also not just a dance; it is also a representation of the African influence in today’s way of life.

Jordan and Lia recommend these DVDs of Celebrity Dance Coaching With Louis Van Amstel

See the Jordan and Lia Dance blog.


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