Samba: Saying “no” with your bum!

samba with margarete ribas, samba instructor in london

 Imagine walking down Copacabana beach and looking at all the beautiful people. Women sashaying in high heels, hips swaying. Yet, their ondulating hips are not an invitation but are saying “no, no, no!”


I went to a Samba class by the extremely talented instructor Margarete Ribas (whom I interviewed a while back for my Conversations series).


Margarete Ribas dance instructor in London
Margarete (Gueti) and her shiny samba shoes

Her teaching style combines excellent technical knowledge with humour. As we stretched and warmed up each muscle and joint, she ensured we could perform the class safely while having fun at the same time.


The key to the samba moves is all in the footwork, so Margarete ensured we stretched each and every toe (yes, really!) as the feet carry the movement all the way up to the hips.


The hips’ motion is sideways, so you are literally saying “no, no, no” as you move. If you focus on the hips alone, you will soon realise that you are not dancing the Samba but just prancing around. When you perfect the footwork, the hips will follow.


It may take you years or a few hours to get the technique right, but once you do the sense of happiness and joy will pervade you as you move to Brazilian music. Steeped in African dance, Samba combines footwork and upper body work, it’s grounding and elevating at the same time.


The big smiles at the end of class said it all.


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