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10 Songs You Can Samba To

The samba is a lively, rhythmical dance related to the traditional samba styles of Brazil. True to its origins in the Brazilian Carnival, the samba looks fun and festive, and is differentiated from other Latin dances by its strong bounce action through the knees. Samba is typically danced to a speed of 50 measures (100 beats) per minute.

Samba has a 2/4 time signature, meaning it technically has two beats per bar of music, or a count of "1, 2", "1, 2". However, for simplicity's sake, samba can also be counted in 4/4 time, or "1, 2, 3, 4", "1, 2, 3, 4", making its count more consistent with the rumba, cha cha, and jive. Samba music has a steady beat with count "2" being accented, although its dance patterns include various levels of syncopation which adds variety and interest to the dancing. For example, the cruzado walk has straight timing with steps on "1" and "2" only, while the volta has twice as many steps in the same number of beats ("1", "and", "2", "and", for a total of four steps).

Samba today is still danced at the Brazilian Carnival, a huge annual festival and the most popular holiday in Brazil. The Brazilian samba that will be danced in parades through Rio may look different than the International Latin samba, but they do have the same origins and many similar patterns. Locally, ballroom samba is a popular party dance as well, although perhaps harder to master than the jive or swing. The music of the samba has been described as so energetic and lively that it has the same effects as caffeine, making it a fun and unique dance to learn if you want to make an impression at a party or just have fun learning how to dance.

When selecting a song to dance samba, finding music in a 2/4 or 4/4 time signature shouldn't be a challenge, as 4/4 is the most common time signature for songs. However, some songs are more suited to the character of the samba than others, and ideally you'll want to find a song with an accent on count "2" to best suit the dance.

While samba is a dance of Brazilian origin, and may be danced to authentic Brazilian music (as would be played at Carnival), it may also be danced to a variety of other musical styles. The song "Magalenha" below is an example of an authentic Brazilian samba, which may sound very different from some of the popular songs of different genres we've compiled in our list. The energy and rhythm are what make all of these songs perfect for dancing the samba, and we can help teach you more about the samba and its music in your group classes or private lessons.

If you need help finding great songs for your samba practice or for an event, we've listed 10 of our favorite songs for dancing the samba below! All of these songs already have the correct time signature and speed to dance the samba. We've assembled songs from different genres to show the versatility of the samba. If you have any more questions about the samba and what songs it can be danced to, please contact us at - we're happy to help!

10 Songs You Can Samba To

"You'll Be Mine (Party Time)" - Andy Fortuna

"Whenever, Wherever" - Shakira

"Iko Iko" - Tanz Orchester Klaus Hallen

"Taki Taki" - DJ Snake

"Shape of You" - Ed Sheeran

"Light It Up" - Major Lazer and Diplo

"Cheap Thrills" - Sia

"Mi Gente" - J Balvin and Willy William

"Jump in the Line" - Harry Belafonte

"Lean On" - Major Lazer and Diplo

Want more samba? DJ Ice Dancesport Music is known for remixing popular songs for ballroom and Latin dance. We have included his playlist for samba below. All of these songs should be relatively easy to count and have consistent timing, as they were designed especially for samba. (Click the icon in the top right corner of this video to open the full playlist.)

Click here to learn more about the samba, and how you can learn this dance at Areté Dance Center!

If you have any questions, contact us at or (408) 824-0074. Enjoy your dancing!

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