Nothing against chickens… but if you are bouncing by bopping your head, and flapping your imaginary wings (aka your frame) up and down, then chances are, you are not looking too hot while doing samba (Ballroom Samba, not Brazilian Samba!). So, how do you improve your samba dance? Let’s take a look at these 3 commonly made mistakes in the Ballroom Samba and fix them up!
#1: Don't Do the Chicken Dance
Samba Practice Tips:
Practice stillness in your frame (shoulders and arms) and head by engaging your neck, biceps and back while you dance. Make sure you are not flapping your “wings” when you are dancing. Imagine keeping them on a table-top instead.
#2: Quick-Quick-Slow or Slow-A-Slow timing
If you find yourself dancing figures like the whisk, botafogo, stationary samba walk etc., with quick-quick-slow (half-half-whole beat) timing, where you are dancing the first 2 steps with equal timing, then you are sooooo busted!
Samba Timing Practice Tips:
These figures are to be danced with a Slow-A-Slow (also known as 1-A-2 or 3/4-1/4-1 beat) timing. Meaning that the 1st step is longer than the 2nd step. So, practice starting with the whisk by really holding the first step, then take a quick back step and holding the 3rd replacement step for a full beat.
#3: "One Bend One Straight" RULE for Samba Walks
The first step of the whisk is a side walk. All side and forward walks of Samba keep the rule of one bend (knee) and one straight (knee). The moving leg will have the bent knee and the free leg will have the straight knee. Now that you know that, are you doing the first step of the whisk with 2 bent knees?
What to practice:
Straighten the free leg when you take that first step to the side for the Samba whisk. Practice shifting your weight from side to side so you get used to bending and straightening your knees.
Because everyone likes bonuses…below is a 4th tip for you to improve your samba technique:
4. Be Bounce-Free!
Not all samba figures require a bounce! When a figure has a Quick/Quick/Slow or Slow/Quick/Quick timing, NO bounce is required. Some examples are: Natural turn, Closed Rocks, Promenade run etc. What other figures can you think of that are bounce-free? *hint: take a look again at Max and Yulia’s routine*
Leave a comment below!