Posted by: wagrobanite | 04/24/2010

Week 6 what to look for!

We’re past the halfway point! It’s been an exciting couple of weeks and the coming week will heat up as well. This week the couples are doing either the Samba or the Argentine Tango. First off I’ll start with the

Couples dancing: Evan/Anna, Erin/Maks, Jake/Chelsie, and Nicole/Derek

The same is probably one of thee most complicated dances, especially of the Latin dances!

Samba was probably brought to Brazil in the 16th century with the slaves that were imported for the sugar plantations. The dance was brought to the Bahia region in northern Brazil. The African slaves would come down to Rio de Janeiro and dance during Carnival time.  The original dance was called landu. This dance was combined with body motions, carnival steps and it turned into “Zemba Queca” around 1885.  The dance would continue to evolve into the Mesemba and when it combined with the Maxixe which then became known as the Samba. The elite in Rio de Janeiro modified the dance so that it could be done in a closed ballroom position because as they thought this was the only correct way to dance. The name Samba came from difference sources, the most popular a suggestion is that it is derived from Zambo which means the offspring of a Negro man and a native woman. The ballroom version which is known as caroca samba was “born” around 1917. The music performed in Samba, as well as some of the movements come form daily activities of the people living in Rio. Nowadays, there are “Samba Schools” in Brazil with a high concentration in Rio. Today, there are several different types of Samba: “Samba de umbigada (most authentic), Samba no Pe (main carnival type), Samba de Gafieira (type of Brazilian tango), the Pagode (partner), Samba Rock (which uses modern music), Carioca Samba (Hollywood’s version), Baion or a Batucado, as well as Bossa Nova, which is an off-shoot of Samba.

The Samba is Brazil’s national dance so it is without question that this dance plays a part in Brazil’s national identity. By the 1930s, Samba music had made the leap from music that was outcast to an almost official national anthem. Between the 1920s and 1940s, Samba was almost lost. Most of this had to do with racial tensions throughout Brazil. Things changed, when Brazilians started to realize they all shared the same past.  It is because of the realization that the Samba is played throughout popular culture, especially during Carnival time which is the Monday and Tuesday before Ash Wednesday.

Steps to look for:
– a bounce in both partners. Samba is a fun party dance and there should a distinctive bounce. Not crazy bouncing around but a controlled bounce (see videos below)
– a Samba roll. Not all of the pros put this move in as it’s a very complicated move

Bryan Watson and Carmen Vincelj – International Samba:

Slavik Kriklyvyyj and Karina Smirnoff

Laila & Maksim Samba


Argentine Tango

Couples Dancing: Pam/Damian, Nicey/Louis, and Cha/Cheryl

The Argentine Tango is very similar to the Tango. The major difference is the hold. AT is rarely danced is “Frame”. Also, unlike Standard/Smooth tango, AT is heavy on improv and not really knowing the steps.  As well as, AT basic is done in counts of 8 rather than the “T-A-N-G-O” that Standard/Smooth is done to. AT is more complicated and more emitional and a true character dance.

It’s origins are that of Tango’s but it kept itself… in the gutter so to speak. This is “the people’s dance”. There are several different types of AT and as much as I don’t like to use it, Wikipedia has a good write up about them as well as more moves)

What to look for:
– Sex appeal. This dance, unlike its cousin will be dripping with more sex characterization
– Caminata’s (“Walk” in spanish) which are a walking movement similar to a promenade
– Ocho – a figure-8 traced by the follower’s feet when moving forward or backward (One of my favorite moves)
– Fanning. Similar to that of an Ocho, it’s usually the follow who does this move.
– Head position: unlike most Ballroom dances, both the lead and follow will have their heads facing the same direction (or as my friend like to put it “dancing cheek to cheek”)

Deborah Quiroga and Carlos Barrionuevo

Unknown couple

Gilles and Cheryl (I was not a fan of his, or hers but this AT was amazing)


Swing Marathon
This is going to be insane… I’ve danced swing the longest and while East Coast swing is probably thee easiest dance to learn (If you know your left from your right and you can count to six, you can learn east coast), I can imagine some of the pros are going to put in Lindy Hop, Charleston, and maybe some West Coast if they know it. They also could throw in some Balboa in but I’m not expecting it. As I don’t know what will be shown I’m just going to show some videos of swing. Now in these videos (which are my own personal videos), it’s mostly Lindy hop (AKA “Lindy”). I apologize ahead of time that these are somewhat dark. The place I dance swing at turns the lights down and uses colored lights and a disc ball to light the floor. Also note that this is a social dance so there are no aerials. From Anna’s twitter it sounds like there will be aerials on Monday night (not something I agree with in terms of a Swing marathon). Aerials are dangerous and rarely do they get attempted because of, not to mention you’re dancing on a wood floor. I have seen people dropped (I’ve been dropped, though not in an aerial), including a girl on her head (she was fine, luckily).

This is Lindy. I prefer this one as I sometimes have issues with spotting. And Yes, it’s very common in the swing word to see two girls dancing

Here is another slow, just to remind people that dance doesn’t discriminate. It’s very often you’ll see two (or three as in the case here) dancing with each other:

Medium Lindy:

Fast Lindy:



  1. Oh being dropped in swing scares me! I’ve never got to a high enough level to do any lifts, but the woman I used to take lessons from broke her neck once O_O. She’s fine now, but scary.

    • Yah it is. Luckily for me, I wasn’t dropped far enough and I was dropped in a dip not a lift so it wasn’t far to the ground but it still smarted.

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