Samba Suction

My samba sucks. And not in the Hoover sense. No, for this we need a vacuum with real suction. I think I mean in the Dyson Root Cyclone sense. This baby never loses suction.

This baby never loses suction

Recently, I started working on my samba, trying to improve it. I’ve taken a couple of punishing private lessons with April. I’ve practiced in front of the mirror, wiggling, stretching my rib cage, and rotating my hips. I’ve bota fogoed and corta jacaed my grocery cart down the frozen food aisle. But I have a lot of ingrained bad habits from years of doing it wrong, and despite my work, my samba doesn’t seem to get better.

I think one issue I’m having is translating the technique I’ve been taught into actual movement:

  • Moving and twisting my hips and rib cage
  • Bending and straightening my knees
  • Doing it all to the right rhythm.

I’m still working at 1/10th time (when I’m doing well), never mind trying to do it to real music—that’s when it all sambas merrily to hell.

I'll take that in a size 6

For some reason, samba doesn’t feel as intuitive to me as a lot of other dances do—like rumba or waltz. I guess it will just take time and lots of practice.

Or maybe what I need is the right carnival headdress. What do you think?  Is this me?


  1. Hi Caity,

    I love your blog! I’m sure that your Samba doesn’t suck as much as you think it does. I’ve been taking Ballroom dance lessons for three years, and I’m addicted to it. When I first started, I wanted to learn Samba right away, but my instructor didn’t want to teach me, because he said that Samba is extremely difficult even for experienced dancers. There are so many things to keep track of, and so many things going on at the same time. Keep trying. Hmmm, somehow, I don’t think that the headdress is going to help, though!

  2. I spent years hiding among the samba line dance people, unwilling to publicly display my samba, my secret shame. When I moved to PA where no one does the line dance I finally had to learn samba right. It was a tough road to travel, but what finally made it click was the similarities to American Viennese waltz. Though my technique as a /long/ way to go, it’s starting to feel like a real dance.

    As for the technique, I’ve found belly dance makes phenomenal supplementary training.

  3. I reserve the right to answer the question until I see the rest of the outfit, but based on the top, I provisionally approve. 😉

    I second the notion of thinking of it as Viennese with hip action–that’s what made it click for me (not that my technique is that impressive, either).

    Suburbaknght: as a confirmed social (as opposed to competitive) dancer, I’d suggest that there’s no need to be so concerned. IMHO, getting the rhythm right is the important part, and you can improve the technique later. But if you can’t feel the rhythm, you’re gonna look like me doing Argentine tango, no matter how good your technique is. (And believe me, that’s not a good thing.)

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