Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Samba - Side Samba Walks

As mentioned in the previous Samba Walk post, Samba walks are generally done in two variations at the same time. The first is a Forward Samba Walk and the second is a Side Samba Walk. There are also Stationary Samba Walks, but right now, we are looking at the Side Samba Walk!

Counted the same as the other Samba steps with the first beat broken into half count at first and then split into quarters before taking a full count to complete the movement ("1-and, a, 2"), Samba walks are done moving around the room in the same Line of Dance that you have for the Ballroom dances. (As a travelling dance, in this Samba is slightly different from its fellow Latin Dances; especially the ones often danced socially.) The "Side" in the step name, refers not to the direction of movement generally, but the direction of the second step in the whole movement.

They are also done from an opened Promenade position - meaning that the Man's Right side and the Lady's Left are closer together and the opposite shoulder has opened out slightly so that they are both facing the side wall (with bellybuttons still trying to face each other). For now, keep your partner in hold (Men's Right hand on the Lady's shoulder blade and Left hand holding hers in front of you.) But be aware that this step requires a looseness of hold in order to accomplish it smoothly... you are not going to be able to keep your partner as close to you or in one static position as you may in a lot of the other steps so far. Allow them to move a little further away and come back in towards you throughout the step... a little like breathing!

We are going to combine one Forward Samba Walk with one Side Samba Walk, as the Side Samba Walk should only be done on the outside foot.


Leaders'/Men's Footwork


Starting in promenade position, you should have your weight on your Right foot with your Left collected underneath you if you have just finished the Basic Movement (or crossed behind you if you have just finished a whisk). Step forward (along the LOD) onto your Left foot and a bent knee. (Count "1-and")

Extend your Right foot behind you, simply touching the side of your big toe to the floor. (Count "a")

Putting part weight on your Right foot pull your Left foot along the floor, backwards. ( Count "2") Don't lift your Left foot from the ground or transfer your body weight back over your Right foot. Keep your head, shoulders and hips over your Left foot and simply use your Right foot, extended behind you as a stationary point that you can use to activate your muscles from. Your Left foot should slip back approximately half of your foot length.

Next, step forward on your Right foot remembering to keep your knee bent. (count "1-and")

Extend your Left foot to the SIDE, simply touching the side of your big toe to the floor. (Count "a")


Putting part weight on your Left foot pull your Right foot along the floor, sideways towards the outstretched foot. ( Count "2") Your Right foot should slip side approximately half of your foot length.

Repeat as desired!


Followers'/Lady's Footwork


From promenade position, you should have your weight on your Left foot with your Right foot collected underneath you if you have just finished the Basic Movement (or crossed behind you if you have just finished a whisk). Step forward (along the LOD) onto your Right foot and a bent knee. (Count "1-and")

Extend your Left foot behind you, simply touching the side of your big toe to the floor. (Count "a")

Putting part weight on your Left foot pull your Right foot along the floor, backwards. ( Count "2") Don't lift your Right foot from the ground or transfer your body weight back over your Left foot. Keep your head, shoulders and hips over your Right foot and simply use your Left foot, extended behind you as a stationary point that you can use to activate your muscles from. Your Right foot should slip back approximately half of your foot length.

Next, step forward onto your Left foot. (Count "1-and")

Extend your Right foot to the SIDE on Count "a".


Put part weight onto your Right foot to allow you to slide your Left foot sideways about half a foot length. (Count "2")

Repeat sequence as lead!

Notes for both the Leader and the Follower:

- Remember that the bounce action still needs to be maintained. Every time a number is said ("1,2," etc), your knees should be bent. they need to stretch on the half beats in the middle. This is one of the hardest aspects of Samba to master.

- When you take the side "touch" step, try to keep your body as much over the supporting leg as possible and be aware that your hold is going to need to give a little in order for both of you to slide slightly away from each other.

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