Samba Botafogo – Technique Breakdown

Step by step breakdown of Samba Botafogo Technique

The Samba Botafogo is a staple step to the International Samba dance, kinda like rice to chinese cuisine. 😉 I have to say it’s much easier to make rice than to dance the Botafogo! A quick overview of what the footwork, weight changes, and timing  of this step:


Footwork:  A forward walk (full weight), a side step (part weight), and a replacement step (full weight).
Timing:  3/4 beat, 1/4 beat, full beat (typical samba syncopated timing)
Body Action: Rotation of the standing leg

Now, a step by step breakdown of the Botafogo. Practice along with the videos below. I highly encourage you to dance each part at least 5-10 times before you put the entire step together. 

Trivia: How many variations of Botafogos are there in the syllabus?? Leave us a comment below! 

Exercise #1: Bring Ankles Together

Practice Tips:

1. Start with a side Samba walk position – Standing knee bent and free leg straight.
2. Heel of the free foot is off the floor.
3. Note that your standing leg should be turned out.
4. Bring ankles together (SERIOUSLY, make them smooch!)

Bonus: Improve your turnout with these:
5 Minute 5 Exercises to Improve Your Turnout For Latin Dancing

Exercise #2: Diagonal Walk Forward

Practice Tips:

1. Swivel on the ball of your standing leg (*note: This diagonal forward walk involves a direction change, hence the swivel is required)
2. Land your forward walk with a bent knee and a straight back leg.
3. Keep back heel high off the floor.

Exercise #3: Swivel to Bring Ankles to Brush

Exercise #4: Part Weight Step to the Side

Exercise #5: Hip Rotation & Replacement Step

Exercise #6: Putting it Altogether - Full Botafogo

Exercise #7: Botafogos Both Sides

Practice Tips:

1. Try it slowly, then gradually increase your speed.
2. Keep firm pressure in the balls of the feet at all times.
3. Start practicing it with the full syncopated timing.

There you have it! And if not, with deliberate practice, you can train your body to do these actions. I’m sure of it!

And if you need a break from these botafogos, check out our other technique lessons on Samba:

How to Dance Samba Botafogo 5 Different Ways


  • Larry
    February 23, 2020

    Do we have them on the CDor DVD?

    • User Avatar
      Dance Insanity
      March 2, 2020

      Hello Larry, do you mean a Samba course?

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