Is Samba the same as Zumba?

Short answer: no. Samba is a type of Brazilian dance often included in Zumba workouts.

Many people are just now becoming aware of samba dance thanks to the popularity of the “Latin-inspired” Zumba dance-fitness program. Zumba is a branded dance-fitness company and brand that brings together many different types of dances to provide a fun workout. Each instructor creates a specific workout including their choice of various dances. Samba can be one of those included.
Also, Zumba is a registered trademark, samba is not. 

So, what is samba? Samba refers to a dance, a rhythm, and a musical style, if you will. There are several categories or sub genres of samba music, including but not limited to: batucada, samba no pé, gafieira, axé, and samba rock. Rio and Bahia styles of the basic samba step also differ. There are several samba rhythms including samba reggae, partido alto, samba canção, samba enredo, and samba de roda. Each of the styles of samba music and rhythm have a distinct dance that accompanies it. If you want to read more about samba from a music perspective, one book to check out is The Brazilian Sound by Chris McGowan and Ricardo Pessanha. There are definitely others in English and Portuguese, so do a search. 

Here’s a short documentary from UNESCO about samba de roda, the roots of modern day samba. You get the history and a feel for the folk element:

I’m happy if you made it this far in the post! This is honestly sort of an overview and there’s so much more I could say about samba dance and music, but I’ll keep it relatively short for now. A Google or YouTube search will provide you with so much to peruse for hours and days. You might also do a search for “passista de samba” or “bateria escola de samba” if you’re looking for Carnival vibes.

%d bloggers like this: