Lambada, aka "the forbidden dance," is a Latin dance originating in Brazil in the 1980s. The word Lambada refers to both the rhythm of the music (a fusion of Carimbó and Merengue), and to the dance itself, which incorporates elements of other Latin dances like the Forró, the Samba, and the Maxixe. The rhythm originated in the Amazon and was later adopted by Bahians, who proceeded to create the steps. Although modern Lambada is a real mix of influences, the Carimbó is it’s main foundation. The Carimbó was a common dance in northern Brazil. It’s a very loose, and sensual dance in which the woman tries to cover the man with loads of spins and rounded skirts. Over time, the dance and it’s music were influenced by music from the Caribbean and they began to evolve. New rhythms were introduced, and this inevitably altered the way in which the Carimbó was danced. After awhile, a local radio station called this new music "the rhythms of Lambada" – Lambada being another word in the local language for a 'strong hit.' This had strong appeal, and the word 'Lambada' soon began to be associated with this new modern face of the old dancing style. Lambada soon began to spread South, and was eventually noticed by some French music producers. They were really taken by this new, unfamiliar sound, took it home and produced Kaoma's 1989 number 1 hit 'Lambada'. At this stage the Lambada was still danced in its original form, which saw the couple dancing apart, with side to side steps. But, as it grew in popularity, and the dance started appearing in films and videos, the hold and steps changed. A lack of skilled dancers, and increased influences from other more established Latin dances, meant that it was soon being danced in its now recognisable form - in hold, with steps forward and back.
Character: Sensual, sexy, and energetic; graceful and intimate
The word 'Lambada' comes from an obscure Portuguese word which refers to the wave-like motion of a whip. This flowing wave motion is reproduced by the dancers' bodies and is one of the main elements that distinguishes Lambada from other Latin dances.
Lambada is danced in couples to a one-two-three beat, a slow-quick-quick rhythm, on the first third and fourth beat of the bar.
The dance is very smooth with lots of rhythmic upper and lower body movements. In order to create the right look, it is necessary to dance on the balls of the feet (heels off the ground) with a twisting motion so that the steps become more of a "grind" (as if stubbing out a cigarette) which emphasizes hip movement.