Most teachers count the Samba movement as quick-quick, slow but this can be confusing to the beginner. Its probably better to think of the movements you perform – treat the first movement as a preparatory step, then count Tap, Up-Down, Place; Tap, Up-Down, Place etc. The Tap refers to stepping onto the inside ball of your foot (big toe), the Up-Down motion results from partially changing weight onto the leg, without putting your heel to the floor. The Place occurs by changing weight onto the opposing leg. Change in moves are best performed after eight beats of the music have completed. So counting from the 1st beat of the music, I prefer to count eight beats before resuming the count, 1 & 2, 3 & 4, 5 & 6, 7 & 8.
The Back Spot movement and variations are used regularly in the fancy moves. This movement is similar to the basic movements but instead of performing the “&” step forward (or back) the tap occurs behind the foot that moves on the first beat. Using the man’s footwork, the forward basic movement is varied as follows: Left, Place. Toe first, slide your Left foot slightly to the side and change weight onto the Left leg. Don’t move your Right foot! Right back tap, Up-Down. Moving your right foot behind the left, tap on the ball of the foot. The up motion results from partially changing weight onto the right leg, by leaning back (don’t put your heel completely to the floor). The left leg will rise from the floor a little. The down motion occurs from changing weight back onto the Left leg.
Still using the man’s movements. If your performing the Back Basic move or Fifth Positions you then move Right place. Move the right foot so it’s parallel with the left foot and change weight onto the Right leg. Left back Tap, Up-Down etc. If you are performing progressive turns you repeat the movement. Right back Tap, Up-Down etc. until you reach a count of eight, then go back into the Forward basic before performing another sequence of moves.
The Conga Movement
Think of the Conga movement as just extended side steps. Using the man’s footwork, the forward basic movement is varied as follows:
1. Left to the Side. On the first beat extending your Left leg, step side onto the inside ball of the foot but don’t change weight (don’t move your Right foot).
& Roll-Up-Down. Partially change weight onto the left leg by rolling onto the small ball of the foot (don’t put your heel completely to the floor). The right leg will rise a little. The down motion occurs from changing weight back onto the Right leg.
2. Left close. Move your left leg so its next to the right foot and change weight onto it.
Now repeat the movement to the Right.
The conga is often done as a progressive (moving forward). In which case the Roll-Up-Down movement is modified as follows. Partially change weight onto the left leg by rolling onto the small ball of the foot (don’t put your heel completely to the floor; the right leg will rise a little) and move your right leg forward, so that as you come down, it is a little in front of the left leg.
There are some fairly impressive moves where the man performs the Conga Movement and the lady does an opposing movement.
At the least the Conga movement is always a good jump start to a party. Even if your friends don’t know it, they’ll quickly catch on. Haven’t you ever heard of a Conga line!