Samba de Gafieira

A gafieira is a dance hall which in the past was frequented by the working-class in Brazil. Some gafieira have evolved into clubs that are now part of guided tours in Rio de Janeiro.

Samba de Gafieira means Dancehall or Club Samba. It is a partner dance that that incorporates Carnival Samba, Salsa and Argentine Tango concepts. It is sometimes referred to as the Brazilian Tango.

Samba de Gafieira is a dance suitable for all ages and even though this dance is well established in Brazil, it continues to attract younger members because of its vitality and room for creativity. It can be danced to a variety of Latin rhythms.


Samba de Gafieira originated in the 1940's in Rio de Janeiro's gafieira (working-class dance halls).

Since its inception, Samba de Gafieira has changed and evolved with the times and the music. Today it is a modern, authentic Brazilian dance. While Ballroom Samba uses Samba music and perhaps some Brazilian Samba steps, Ballroom Samba has evolved into a dance quite foreign to native Samba dancers.


In Brazil, Samba de Gafieira is danced to certain kinds of Samba music, Bossa Nova, Chorinho, Pagode and other kinds of Brazilian music. Since it can be danced to a variety of music including music which is not from Brazil, it is positioned to be a popular modern dance.


Samba de Gafieira is danced to a quick-quick-slow or a slow-quick-quick rhythm.

Basic Samba de Gafieira Steps

The basic man's step is: (either foot) small step forward - replace weight on the back foot - forward (long) step - replace weight on the back foot - long step back. The woman's steps mirror the man's steps.

This can be converted to a salsa-like basic for the man: step - replace - long step back - replace - long step forward.

Samba de Gafieira During the second half of the converted basic, the man can step outside the woman to her right as in the Argentine Tango. From that point on, other Tango moves such as ochos, sacadas and even the sentada (seen on the right) are possibilities.

There is also no reason why some solo Samba steps cannot be used in partner dancing. For instance, for the man (either foot, say right foot) step back and place in behind the left heel - step forward with the left foot - slide the right foot up to the left foot. Repeat starting with the other foot. For the woman, left foot step forward and place in front the right toe - step backward with the right foot - slide the left foot back up to the right foot. The couple can reverse direction with each doing the other's step noted above.

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