Origin of Samba

Have you ever heard of a dance that even has its own national day? The answer to this is iconic dance which is at the heart of many Brazilians and others around the world – the Samba!

The origin of the Samba – both musical genre and the dancing style; has both European and African roots. In the 16th century, The Portuguese imported many slaves from Cape Verde, Angola, and Congo into Brazil. As a result, the dancing styles of Caterete, Embolada, Bataque, and Lundu were brought over to Brazil.

In the 17th and 18th centuries, these dances evolved to take up dance techniques from the various local regions that the slaves had settled into. These included the polka, tango, and the Cuban Habenera. This style of dance was called the Brazilian name of “Maxixie”. Initially, the Bahia Brazilians and other Brazilians from the poorer regions embraced this as they became a hub for African culture. Slowly, the upper class Brazilians caught onto the great dance after overcoming the African origin of the Samba. This particularly came into the fore during the dictatorship of Getulio Vargas, where the catchy rhythm of the samba becomes Brazil’s official style of music.

It was so popular that has been featured in several films in the 1930’s, and a musical was created 10 years later. The origin of the Samba in ballroom dancing was created in Britain in 1956. Nowadays, it is a well-loved ballroom dance that is performed by experienced dancers due to its fast pace.

In 2007, this dance and musical genre was declared by the Brazilian National Institute of Historic and Artistic Heritage Bureau as an integral part of Brazilian heritage. Every year on December 2, the Samba National Day is celebrated to honor the impact that the samba has had in Brazil, and indeed, the world.

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