Introduction: Samba Basic.
Frame: Latin. Count: 1-Ah 2-Ah 3-Ah 4-Ah...
Leaders and Followers: Same.

Samba. Latin, fun, characteristic of Brazil. But at the same time, a very difficult dance to do well because there are just so many ranges of motion that need to be executed at the same time. You're moving up and down, left and right forward and backward. In addition to these 3 cardinal planes of movement, you are also rotating on a vertical axis (through your head) and a horizontal axis (through you hips and stomach). Put all of these together and you get a very sexy movement. But it's easy to skew the balance or to just forget one movement entirely.

This Samba basic will proceed by first teaching the basic movements and then adding layers of complexity. Let's begin.

The Bounce
Begin with both feet together, weight on the balls of the foot. In Samba, your heel might touch the ground, but you should never place your weight in the heels. This is because will be backweighted and unable to respond as quickly as you need to. The Samba beat is fast.

Listen to some Samba music (Hips Don't Lie by Shakira is good). Samba is an 8-count (two 4-counts). If we subdivide one count into 4 parts, 1-E-and-ah, then count out the following: 1-ah-2-ah-3-ah-4... That's the Samba beat. The middle beat in between two counts isn't perfectly in the middle, it's towards the latter count.

Bend your knees on the counts of 1, 2, 3, and 4. On the "ah's", straighten your knees.

Now, it's not enough just to bend your knees and move in a simple vertical motion. There is also forward-backward motion. So when you bend your knees, you slightly emphasize the moving forward part. And when you straighten your knees, your butt sticks out and back. Yep, I'll say it again. Move your butt and make it pop back.

Note that throughout all the counts, your weight should still remain in the balls of your feet.

Pushing Off
While retaining the characteristic bounce movement of Samba, let's add the first layer. Movement.

1: Feet together, knees bend.
Ah: Push off with your right foot, left leg steps to the left.
2: Land with the left foot, weight is now in the left foot.
Ah: Rise and push off of left foot. Right leg comes in, will be small step back. Right foot faces to right at 45 angle.
3: Right knee tucked in behind left.
Ah: Push off with left foot. Right leg steps to the right.
4: Land on right foot with weight.
// the following below is the above, except flipped sides.
Ah: Push off with the right foot, left foot steps behind right foot. Left foot faces left at 45 angle.
5: Land with left foot, left knee tucked behind right knee.

And repeat. You do Ah-6-Ah-7-Ah-8 matching Ah-2-Ah-3-Ah-4.

The most important part in movement is that even while you are stepping, you don't forget to retain the characteristic bounce of samba. That's the entire point of the emphasis on which foot you push off and land. Each "Ah" has a push-off, which is linked to the rise of the bounce. The normal counts (1, 2, 3, 4) are the knee bends.

Hips and Crunch
Adding Hips is difficult because you can't move as easily as you can an arm or a leg. Hip movement isn't necessarily independent; it relies on the movements of other body parts in order to appear. As you add hips to your samba, make sure you still retain the bounciness and the movement.

When you land on Count 2 and Count 5 (as above, or anytime you do that movement of stepping to L or R), the foot you land on has its knee bent. The opposite foot has its knee straight. While keeping your upper body flat and level, there is a simultaneous stretch and crunch. Let's say you land on your left foot. Left knee is bent, right knee is straight. In addition, to assist with hip movement, you should be on right toes. left side of rib cage is stretched, right side is "crunched."

Note that you'll have one side that just responds better to this hip movement. Work on getting both sides to equal flexibility.

Rotary
On the counts of "2-Ah" and "4-Ah", for the "Ah's", it's not just a simple straight back step move. Instead, there's one additional layer we can add. If it's your right foot going back, land on your toes and have your right hip rotate back and round. For left foot, it's the left hip back and around. Adds another good layer of complexity.

Tips and Tricks
Balance: Samba requires all of the above elements (and then some, probably ones I don't know about). It's important to not only have all of these elements, but to have them in the right proportion. Look closely at yourself in a mirror to determine what is the correct balance.
Importance: The above which I have ordered the elements is in the order of most-important first. Bounce comes first, then pushing off. Hips and Rotary are icing on the cake.


Advanced Concepts
Partner: It's not just to have all of these elements. You also need to do them with your partner. Practice together to get into sync. Sometimes, it's easier with a partner since you're both helping each other to bounce.