Samba Classes

Flyer and Poster

Samba de Roda 

The Samba de Roda (samba dance in circle) became a UNESCO Heritage of Humanity in 2005, and it is the main root of the most known samba in Brazil. The practice is followed by singing and clapping hands together with the instruments of atabaque, berimbau, chocalho, viola. This kind of samba has its stronger roots in Bahia, and mainly in the regions of the All Saints Bay, where most of the slave’s heritages are. 
During class, you’ll see the main movements, also with possible additional atabaque player.


Jongo is an essentially rural cultural manifestation directly associated with the African culture in Brazil. The formation of samba carioca was heavily influenced by Jongo.

Inserting itself within the so-called ‘dances of the belly strike’ (however being related to the ‘Semba’ or ‘Masemba’ of Angola), the Jongo was brought to Brazil by Bantus. Generally, these Bantus were kidnapped in the ancient kingdoms of Ndongo and Kongo, which nowadays makes up most of the region of Angola.

Composed through characteristics of music and dance and animated by improvisational poets, the Jongo most likely has its origins in the traditional Angolan guessing games, the Jinongonongo. One essential characteristic of the Jongo is the utilization of symbols that, aside from maintaining rhythm, possess a magical function, apparently provoking paranormal phenomenon. Among the more evident ones, one can cite the fire, with which the instruments are tuned; the drums, that are considered to be ancestors of the community’ the circular form of the dance with a couple in the middle, which refers to fertility; and not to forget, the rich metaphors used by the jongueiros (participants of the Jongo) in order to compose its main points and whose meaning is inaccessible to those not yet initiated.

These days, both men and women can participate in the Jongo, but this participation in its original form was very restricted to the initiated or the more experienced members. This factor relates itself to the ethical and social norms commonly found in other traditional societies, such as the Amerindians. The basis is a respect and obedience towards the older individuals and the ancestral past.

Historical research indicates that the Jongo possesses, within its Bantu origins, the need to create diverse communities, similar to secret societies and political-religious sects. These fraternities had an important role in the resistance of slavery, as a means of communication, organization and even the purchase of liberated slaves.

The Jongo is made up of singing and dancing, with the accompaniment of the urucungo (a musical Bantu arc, that gave way to the berimbau), the violin and pandeiro, in addition to the consecrated drums, used even today, called Tambu or Caxambu. The Jongo is still widely practiced today in various cities: The Vale do Paraíba in the Southeast region of Brazil, to the South of the state of Rio de Janeiro and to the North of São Paulo.


The lundu or lundum was brought to Brazil by Bantu slaves from Angola and surrounding areas. Still danced in the island of Marajó in the Amazon delta, the lundu(m) is a very sensual, voluptuous – rather lascivious really – couple’s dance. It was highly popular all over Brazil in the seventeenth and early-eighteenth century. It was later replaced by the maxixe (which was also considered scandalous…) and the samba.


The maxixe (Mah-SHEESH and many other pronunciations) is essentially Africanized polka or two-step, meaning it was an Afro-Brazilian styling of the polka which was brought to Brazil by European immigrants.  The maxixe as done in the U.S. was probably not the original Brazilian form since it was first modified by French dancers when it was introduced there in 1905 by Derminy and Morly (to the tune La Sorella — it didn’t catch on) and was modified again when it was successfully re-introduced in 1912 by Monsieur Duque (“The Duke” – the stage name of Brazilian dancer and composer Antonio Lopes Amorim Diniz, who moved to Paris in 1909).  It is said that the maxixe fad was launched the same year as the Titanic and lasted about as long.

The maxixe (also spelled mattchiche and matcheche) was sometimes danced to authentic Brazilian music, such as Dengozo by Ernesto Nazareth, but just as often was danced to tin pan alley compositions like Down in Zanzibar, or Buenos Dias Maxixe by Indiana ragtime composer Kathryn Widmer.

The Argentine tango was the brighter star on the dance floor in 1912, so to sell more dance music, some publishers began to promote the maxixe as another form of tango, with slowed tempos to match the mood of the tango, and some dance bands also recorded the slower tango-style maxixe for the phonograph.  But the authentic renditions were bright, cheerful and more like a two-step.  Maurice Mouvet wrote in 1914, “The Brazilian maxixe can be danced to any two-step, whereas the tango can be danced only to tango music. The maxixe is peculiarly adapted to the American temperament. It is full of snap and life, while the tango is slow and languorous.”  In other words, don’t dance the maxixe like a tango.


Surge in Rio de Janeiro during the 1930s. The theme is linked to issue that the samba school chooses for the year of the parade. Generally following social or cultural themes. He defines that all the choreography and scenography used in the parade of the samba school.

– Samba de partido alto

With improvised lyrics, talk about the reality of the hills and regions
poor. It is the style of the great masters of samba. Composers
High-party best known are: Moreira da Silva, Martinho da Vila
and Zeca Pagodinho.

– Pagode

Born in the city of Rio de Janeiro in the 70s (1970s), and won the radio and dance floors in the next decade. It has a  repetitive rhythm  and uses percussion instruments and electronic sounds. Spread rapidly in Brazil, thanks to the simple lyrics and romantic. The main groups are: Fundo de Quintal, Negritude Jr., Só Pra Contrariar, Raça NegraKatinguelê, Patrulha do Samba, Pique Novo, Travessos, Art Popular.

– Samba-canção

Surge in the 1920s, with slow tempos and sentimental lyrics and romantic. Example: Ai Ioio(1929), Luís Peixoto.

– Samba carnavalesco

Sambas marches and made to dance and sing in the carnival. Abre alas, Apaga a vela, Aurora, Balancê, Cabeleira do Zezé, Bandeira Branca, Chiquita Bacana, Colombina, Cidade Maravilhosa entre outras.

– Samba de breque

This style has moments of quick stops, where the singer can include  comments, many of them in critical or humorous tone. One of the masters this style is Moreira da Silva.

– Sambalanço

Emerged in the ’50s (1950’s) in nightclubs in São Paulo and Rio de January. Received great influence of jazz .. One of the most significant representatives of Sambalanço is Jorge Ben Jor, mixing also elements of other styles.

Samba Reggae

is a mixture of various rhythms including Afoxé, Ijexa, and Samba Duro with Reggae influences. Paul Simon was the first mainstream artist to introduce this Samba Reggae music to the world when he performed and toured with the Bahian percussion band Olodum Ile Aye, Timbalada.


arrived from Africa with the slaves and in the Yoruba language it means “Dance of Happiness”.This type of dance is central to many animist and religious celebrations around Brasil. It is a intoxicating mix of movement, sound, and color, reflecting the sensuality and spirit of Brazil as ethnic and cultural melting pot.




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