Other Latin Dances
Unlike the other Latin dances we teach, samba's history lies in Brazil. The rhythm, mood, and style are quite different from the other Latin dances. Samba is a celebratory party dance, the dance of Carnivale, and it has a characteristic rolling bounce action in its steps. Samba is GREAT for your calves... and it's great for your soul, a dance of unbridled joy and revelry.
The version of samba that we teach is a cultural hybrid. It combines a style of body movement derived from Brazilian dance with patterns of foot movement based on the box structure of the European family of dances.
Samba music is a similar speed to cha-cha - in fact, we encourage beginners who haven't met samba to use samba music for a cha-cha rather than sitting down. The difference between samba and cha-cha music is subtle. If you have musical background, you can spot it fairly easily: in cha-cha, there's an emphasis on the quaver between beats; in samba, the emphasis is on the third semi-quaver between beats. For the rest of us, well, samba music just feels bouncy. Here are some great examples.