When you look past the slightly funny name, Botafogos are an interesting and useful Samba step. They can be used to travel or to change direction, get you out of closed hold and generally create the big frame and movement that Carnival (where Samba originates) evokes.
Both the Leader and Follower do the same movement with the feet, although generally this is done as a Shadow step - meaning that the couple is moving in opposite directions. First though, to learn, it is best to just get the footwork.
Remember that Samba counts generally as "1+, a, 2" with the first beat being split into quarters. "1+" equals 3/4 of the beat and "a" equals the last quarter. "2" is a full beat.
Footwork for Leaders and Followers
Start facing a wall with your feet together but your weight on your Left foot, Right foot on the ball of your foot. (This is an arbitrary choice as this step can start on either foot.)
Step forward in a diagonal across your body, onto a bent knee, using your Right foot. Leave the ball of your Left foot where it was, but allow it to 'turn out' (be in a position where the inside of your heel is closer to the floor). This should put you in a lunge type position. (Count "1+")
Leaving your weight over your Right foot, move your Left foot to the side to create the opposite diagonal. (Count "a") Only place PART WEIGHT on this foot as you use it to shift the angle of your body and underneath leg - in this case your Right - finishing facing a new diagonal, still in a lunge position, for Count "2".
You are now ready to step forward on this new diagonal with your Left foot into a new lunge. (Count "1+").
Swing your Right leg to the side with part weight on Count "a" and then change your body and foot alignment to the first diagonal on Count "2".
Repeat as desired!
Notes for both the Leader and Follower:
- As described above, this is an individual step, however, if done after a step such as your samba walks, you are both facing in the same direction but on opposite feet. Maintaining connection with your outisde arm (Men's Left to Lady's Right), you can each do Botafogos with your free foot, stepping in opposite directions - these are Shadow Botafogos.