This energetic, exuberant dance combines the spirit of the Rio de Janeiro Carnival with driving African drum beats. It plays with rhythm perhaps more than any other Latin dance, featuring a combination of syncopated footwork and a characteristic "bounce" or "tick" action. The Samba is a joyful dance that is at once fluid and rhythmical.
Before it was standardized into a partner dance for the ballroom floor, Samba was a folk dance done by individual dancers during the carnivals and street festivals of Brazil. Regardless of whether you are on the streets of Rio or on the ballroom dance floor, the Samba's festive style and energizing music keep it popular to this day. In fact, the Samba rhythm pervades much of today's popular music.
As a ballroom dance, the basic steps are counted as 1-2 or 1-a-2, though the basic rhythm can be broken up in a number of ways. Much of the previously mentioned "bounce" or “tick” comes from the knees and ankles and the effect is more forward-and-back than up-and-down. Some common figures include the Botafogo, Volta, Wisk, and Promenade Run.