Dancing 101: Samba

By Jason Leung Sep 18, 2013

The first elimination of Season 17 happens when Dancing with the Stars celebrates Latin Night on ABC MONDAY SEPT 23 8|7c. Learn more about the Samba, one of the quintessential Latin dances.

Helio Castroneves and Julianne Hough dance the samba in Season 5.


  • The Samba is an all-out party dance with origins from Brazil's Rio Carnival. It is made up of many different South American dances incorporated into one. It is very rhythmical with lots of hip action.
  • Walking Samba steps and side steps are the basic components of this dance. The major characteristic of the Samba is the vertical bounce action. Steps are taken using the ball of the foot. The accomplished dancer is made to look effortless and carefree with knee action, body sway and "pendulum motion."


  • The basic step is a Volta (a crossing action in front of the body, where you step across with the bounce). You will see a bouncing action predominantly through the knees.
  • Look out for the Samba roll a rolling movement from the waist up. The upper body circles as you create a six-step turning group.
  • Many Sambas have a move called a Botafogo, which is a traveling walk with a change of direction from left to right or right to left.
  • There should be lots of outstretched arms.
  • The samba has a distinctive climax, it ends with throwing of heads back and arms splayed out to side.
  • There should be a good balance of moving steps and stationary steps.


Apolo Anton Ohno and Julianne Hough in Season 4.

Brooke Burke Charvet
and Derek Hough in Season 7.

Karina Smirnoff
and Steve Wozniak in Season 8.