Samba instigated in Brazil. First initiated in the U.S. in a Broadway play called "Street Carnival" in the late twenties.
It was and is danced as a festival dance during the street carnivals and celebrations.The festive style and mood of the dance has kept it energetic and admired to this day. Samba is a fun dance that fits most of today's well-liked music.
Before 1914 it was known under a Brazilian name "Maxixe". As early as 1923 an international meeting of professors of dancing took note of the rise of the Samba's popularity, particularly in France. A French dance book published by Paul Boucher in 1928 included Samba instructions. The dance was introduced to United States movie audiences in 1933 when Fred Astaire and Dolores Del Rio danced the Carioca in Flying Down to Rio and several years later, Carmen Miranda danced the Samba in That Night in Rio.
A Samba exhibition was given at the November 1938 meeting of the New York Society of Teachers of Dancing. General interest in the Samba was stimulated at the 1939 World's Fair in New York, where Samba music was played at the Brazilian Pavilion. A few years later the Brazilian composer Ary Barroso wrote the classic Samba, "Brasil," which quickly became a hit, and in 1944 he went to Hollywood to write the score for the musical Brazil.
Samba has a very specific rhythm, highlighted to its best by characteristic Brazilianb musical instruments originally called tamborim, chocalho, reco-reco and cabaca. Much of Samba music came from daily life in Rio, the first famous example being "Pelo Telefone" composed by Donga.
To achieve the true character of the Samba a dancer must give it a happy,flirtatious and exuberant interpretation. Many figures, used in the Samba today, require a pelvic tilt (Samba(tic) action. This action is difficult to accomplish, but without it the dance loses much of its effect. Principal characteristics of the Samba are the rapid steps taken on a quarter of a beat and the pronounced rocking motion and sway of the dancing couple.