NEW: Videos of samba variations can be found at:

A collection of contemporary samba variations.

General Notes: Samba is Africanized polka from Brazil. It has the same “down-and-down” footwork as polka, dotted rhythm (daa-da-da). For Latin styling, it has hips opposite of salsa and cha cha – in samba, the hip of the the foot stepping goes out. The arms are branches connected to the tree: as hands-side hip goes out, the hands go up, and as the elbow-side hip goes out, the hands go down. Lead belly flops forward on the first bar, follow on the second, concave belly on follow’s first bar, lead’s second.


  • Straight Basic (Lead Belly Flop Forward, Follow Concave Belly)
  • Slightly CCW Turning Straight Basic
  • Swaying CW Turning Basic (Like Polka in Place, Lots of Arms)
  • Whisk Steps (Polka-Time Club Two Step)
  • Samba Box Step (Polka-Time Box Step Waltz)
  • Turning Samba Box Step (CCW)
  • Even Timing Side Close with Stamp on Fourth Close
  • Promenade (As in Polka)
  • Face to Face, Back to Back (As in Polka)
  • Bota Foga (Polka Time Cross-Step Waltz, Start Second Bar)
  • Leaping Pivots (x4) and Straight Basics (x2) (Like BNP)
  • Merengue Figures with Samba Steps
  • Polka Figures in Samba*
  • Samba Waltz à Deux Temps*
  • Samba Reverse Waltz à Deux Temps*
  • Samba Redowa à Deux Temps*
  • Samba Reverse Redowa à Deux Temps*


For samba music, see Dancing Tunes – Samba.


Most variations learned from Richard Powers. Others made up by Nick and Danielle.


Know another good samba variation? Share it below!

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