SAMBA

History

The Samba is a latin dance whose origins go back to Africa; the name derives from a Bantu word meaning 'to pray' and the dance itself is thought to have been a way of calling out to and worshipping the gods. It was modified throughout the late 19th and early 20th centuries in the United States, and became popular in Europe in the 1920's. The first formal rules for the Samba danced in the ballroom competitions date to the 1950's. So modern Samba is a mixture of African steps with Brazilian music and rhythms, giving us the Mardi Gras in the ballroom.

The dance

When watching the Samba, you should be transported to the carnivals of Rio. It's a very rhythmical dance which should have lots of bounce action, fluid hip movement throughout, but the dancers must move together in perfect unison.

There are lots of fantastically exotic sounding names for the steps used in the Samba, and the judges will be looking our for volta's and shadow volta's, botafogo's, shadow botafogo's and side-by-side botafogo's. Also expect to see the classic Samba rolls and shadow rolls - the dancers need to be loose and supple to achieve the correct look for these.

The best of Strictly

It took 14 series to get the first perfect 40 for a samba, and it was Danny & Oti that achieved it in the 10th week of the series.  A fabulous routine, for which Oti took inspiration from the Amazonian tribal dances bought us the best celebrity samba technique we've ever seen, and saw all four judges reaching for their 10 paddles.

Zoe & Ian held the record samba score for a long time with their joyous routine in Series 3, with an unexpected choice of music. Using the song 'Aquarius' from the musical "Hair", Ian choreographed a brilliant dance full of musicality and bounce, and choosing this as their latin dance for the final, scored 10's from both Len and Bruno with a total score of 38 points. In fact, Zoe was so good at the Samba, she was asked back the next year to perform with the professionals in a demonstration dance. Their score was matched in series 8 by Matt & Aliona with their Vegas inspired routine at the Blackpool Tower Ballroom. Matt had been touted to score a 10 from the beginning of the series, and became the first male celebrity to score a 10 for the samba, actually being awarded two for the routine.

In Series 1, Natasha & Brendan scored the first 10 in Strictly history for their Samba danced to the "Strictly Ballroom" soundtrack song 'Love Is In The Air', but unfortunately, when performing the dance in the series final, Brendan's microphone cable got caught in the beading of Natasha's dress, and they were unable to produce the same level of performance.

The worst of Strictly

It is very difficult to master the Samba because of its changing rhythms and very bouncy feel, and so far it has produced some awful dances over the five series of Strictly, with one of the worst coming from the Jo & Brendan in the seventh series when they danced to "Superstition", despite Brendan trying to choreograph a routine to show Jo to her best advantage, she was off balance and couldn't keep up with the routine, and earning the comment "complete dance disaster" from Craig who awarded them just two points. In the very first series in the shape of Chris & Hanna's routine was danced to the theme from the "Austin Powers" film, and Hanna tried really hard to give Chris something he could enjoy by choosing a modern song, hoping this would improve his dancing, but it was really just plain awful, with little Samba content, meriting just 15 points from the judges.

Ann & Anton scored the lowest score ever for a Samba in series 8 scoring just 13 points, including a 1 from Craig, but it couldn't really be considered a samba as Ann refused to dance a lot of the basic steps, including samba rolls, as they were too suggestive, and for the most part she stood still or walked, and made no attempt to even try to work on the technique of the steps.

Scores for all Samba performances:

Series 1
      Judges scores  
Couple Song Date CraigArleneLenBruno Total
Lesley & AntonMas Que NadaWeek 5767727
Martin & ErinCrickets Sing For Ana MariaWeek 5556622
Chris & HannaAustin PowersWeek 5344415
Claire & JohnShake Your Bon-BonWeek 5888832
Natasha & BrendanLove Is In The AirWeek 59109937
Natasha & BrendanLove Is In The AirWeek 8779831

 

Series 2
      Judges scores  
Couple Song Date CraigArleneLenBruno Total
Sarah & BrendanKiss KissWeek 5566623
Julian & ErinCongaWeek 5557724
Denise & IanTequilaWeek 5788932
Roger & CamillaWhenever, WhereverWeek 5457723
Jill & DarrenCopacabanaWeek 5899935
Aled & LiliaIt's Not UnusualWeek 5688830
Denise & IanTequilaWeek 8888933
Julian & ErinCongaWeek 8557623
Aled & LiliaWalking In The AirChristmas778830

 

Series 3
      Judges scores  
Couple Song Date CraigArleneLenBruno Total
Dennis & IzabellaLa BambaWeek 5556723
Colin & ErinNaughty GirlWeek 5888832
Patsy & AntonGo Back To My RootsWeek 5667726
Zoe & IanAquariusWeek 5899935
James & CamillaAll Night LongWeek 8456520
Darren & LiliaYou To Me Are EverythingWeek 9679729
Zoe & IanAquariusWeek 1099101038

 

Series 4
      Judges scores  
Couple Song Date CraigArleneLenBruno Total
Ray & CamillaI Don't Feel Like DancingWeek 6667726
Emma & DarrenMariaWeek 6999936
Louisa & VincentRhythm Of The NightWeek 6888832
Peter & ErinUse It Up And Wear It OutWeek 6346619
Claire & BrendanI Love To LoveWeek 8558725
Carol & MatthewClub TropicanaWeek 9799934
Mark & KarenI Go To RioWeek 9999936
Matt & LiliaFaithWeek 10888832
Mark & Karen(Your Love Keeps Lifting Me) Higher and HigherWeek 12999936
Matt & LiliaFaithWeek 12779831
Emma & DarrenI'm In The Mood For DancingChristmas999936

 

Series 5
      Judges scores  
Couple Song Date CraigArleneLenBruno Total
Gabby & JamesEso BesoWeek 4778830
Kate & AntonDancing QueenWeek 4336416
Kenny & OlaMujer LatinaWeek 4346518
Gethin & CamillaMore Than A WomanWeek 4667726
Penny & IanThese Boots Are Made For WalkingWeek 4879832
John & NicoleSir DukeWeek 8767727
Kelly & BrendanStayin' AliveWeek 8777829
Alesha & Matthew(Reach Out) I'll Be ThereWeek 99810936
Matt & FlaviaBlame It On The BoogieWeek 10678829

 

Series 6
      Judges scores  
Couple Song Date CraigArleneLenBruno Total
Rachel & VincentHips Don't LieWeek 5778830
Heather & BrianLola LolaWeek 5466723
Mark & HayleySpice Up Your LifeWeek 5345517
Austin & ErinMove Your FeetWeek 5888832
Christine & MatthewBaila, Baila ConmigoWeek 5778830
John & KristinaPapa Loves MamboWeek 5245516
Andrew & OlaAin't It FunnyWeek 7457521
Jodie & IanHelp YourselfWeek 8367723
Lisa & BrendanRock The BoatWeek 9679830
Tom & CamillaMr MelodyWeek 11899935

 

Series 7
      Judges scores  
Couple Song Date CraigDarceyLenAleshaBruno Total
Jade & IanIndependent WomanWeek 68-88832
Phil & KatyaDaddy CoolWeek 66-76625
Craig & FlaviaGive It UpWeek 63-64518
Ricky & NatalieGood Lovin'Week 68-88832
Jo & BrendanSuperstitionWeek 62-53414
Laila & AntonHe's The Greatest DancerWeek 67-77728
Zoe & JamesBoogie NightsWeek 77-89832
Natalie & VincentHolidayWeek 106-78526
Ali & BrianChangeWeek 129989944
Chris & OlaCubaWeek 128888739

 

Series 8
      Judges scores  
Couple Song Date CraigLenAleshaBruno Total
Patsy & RobinCopacabanaWeek 8678728
Matt & AlionaYoung Hearts Run FreeWeek 899101038
Scott & Natalie(Your Love Keeps Lifting Me) Higher and HigherWeek 8689932
Ann & AntonHeaven Must Be Missing An AngelWeek 8154313
Gavin & KatyaBamboleoWeek 11677727
Matt & AlionaYoung Hearts Run FreeWeek 1299101038

 

Series 9
      Judges scores  
Couple Song Date CraigJenniferLenAleshaBruno Total
Lulu & BrendanSir DukeWeek 45-67725
Russell & FlaviaBetter The Devil You KnowWeek 54-66622
Harry & AlionaI WishWeek 689-8833
Anita & RobinCome On EileenWeek 86-77727
Chelsee & PashaSpice Up Your LifeWeek 88-99935
Robbie & OlaYou Sexy ThingWeek 95-77625
Jason & KristinaBlame It On The BoogieWeek 118-99834

 

Series 10
      Judges scores  
Couple Song Date CraigDarceyLenBruno Total
Victoria & BrendanIt's Not UnusualWeek 5666523
Louis & FlaviaLa BombaWeek 5678829
Lisa & RobinCar WashWeek 7888832
Kimberley & PashaLiving La Vida LocaWeek 7889934
Dani & VincentSingle Ladies (Put A Ring On It)Week 8999936
Michael & NatalieTequilaWeek 9576624

 

Series 11
      Judges scores  
Couple Song Date CraigDarceyLenBruno Total
Sophie & BrendaAll Night LongWeek 3788831
Ashley & OlaLove Is In The AirWeek 3887831
Susanna & KevinWhenever, WhereverWeek 4678829
Natalie & ArtemBamboleoWeek 5899935
Patrick & AnyaCopacabanaWeek 8899935
Mark & Iveta I Just Can't Wait To Be King Week 10 7 7 7 8 29
Abbey & Aljaž Faith Week 12 9 10 10 10 39

 

Series 12
      Judges scores  
Couple Song Date CraigDarceyDonnyLenBruno Total
Scott & JoanneUnder The SeaWeek 32575625
Alison & AljazBootyliciousWeek 467-7727
Mark & KarenThat's The Way I Like ItWeek 589-8833
Pixie & TrentI Yi Yi Yi YiWeek 589-9935
Caroline & PashaLe FreakWeek 678-8932
Frankie & Kevin La Bamba Week 7 7 8 - 9 8 32
Sunetra & Brendan I Don't Feel Like Dancin' Week 8 6 8 - 8 8 30
Jake & Janette Macarena Week 9 9 10 - 10 9 38
Simon & Kristina I Like To Move It Week 12 6 9 - 8 7 30
Frankie & Kevin La Bamba Week 13 9 10 - 10 10 39

 

Series 13
      Judges scores  
Couple Song Date CraigDarceyLenBruno Total
Anita & GlebHips Don't LieWeek 4677727
Helen & AljažTake Your MamaWeek 6898934
Georgia & GiovanniVolareWeek 7899935
Jamelia & TristanA Little RespectWeek 8577726

 

Series 14
      Judges scores  
Couple Song Date CraigDarceyLenBruno Total
Ed & KatyaCuban PeteWeek 3467724
Claudia & AJYoung Hearts Run FreeWeek 5878932
Laura & GiovanniBamboleoWeek 7788932
Danny & OtiMagalenhaWeek 101010101040
Robert & OksanaOh What A NightWeek 11788831
Louise & KevinBrazilWeek 12999936
Danny & OtiMagalenhaWeek 131010101040

 

Series 15
      Judges scores  
Couple Song Date CraigDarceyShirleyBruno Total
Susan & KevinWonder WomanWeek 3455620
Davood & NadiyaStayin' AliveWeek 3477725
Simon & KarenCopacabanaWeek 4455519

All dances from highest scoring to lowest scoring

Couple Song DateScore*
Danny & OtiMagalenhaSeries 14, Week 1040
Danny & OtiMagalenhaSeries 14, Week 1340
Abbey & AljažFaithSeries 11, Week 1239
Frankie & KevinLa BambaSeries 12, Week 1339
Zoe & IanAquariusSeries 3, Week 1038
Matt & AlionaYoung Hearts Run FreeSeries 8, Week 1238
Matt & AlionaYoung Hearts Run FreeSeries 8, Week 838
Jake & JanetteMacarenaSeries 12, Week 938
Natasha & BrendanLove Is In The AirSeries 1, Week 537
Emma & DarrenMariaSeries 4, Week 636
Mark & KarenI Go To RioSeries 4, Week 936
Mark & Karen(Your Love Keeps Lifting Me) Higher and HigherSeries 4, Week 1236
Emma & DarrenI'm In The Mood For DancingSeries 4, Christmas36
Alesha & Matthew(Reach Out) I'll Be ThereSeries 5, Week 936
Dani & VincentSingle Ladies (Put A Ring On It)Series 10, Week 836
Louise & KevinBrazilSeries 14, Week 1236
Ali & BrianChangeSeries 7, Week 1235.2 (44)
Jill & DarrenCopacabanaSeries 2, Week 535
Zoe & IanAquariusSeries 3, Week 535
Tom & CamillaMr MelodySeries 6, Week 1135
Chelsee & PashaSpice Up Your LifeSeries 9, Week 835
Natalie & ArtemBamboleoSeries 11, Week 535
Patrick & AnyaCopacabanaSeries 11, Week 835
Pixie & TrentI Yi Yi Yi YiSeries 12, Week 535
Georgia & GiovanniVolareSeries 13, Week 735
Helen & AljažTake Your MamaSeries 13, Week 634
Carol & MatthewClub TropicanaSeries 4, Week 934
Jason & KristinaBlame It On The BoogieSeries 9, Week 1134
Kimberley & PashaLiving La Vida LocaSeries 10, Week 734
Denise & IanTequilaSeries 2, Week 833
Harry & AlionaI WishSeries 9, Week 633
Mark & KarenThat's The Way I Like ItSeries 12, Week 533
Claire & JohnShake Your Bon-BonSeries 1, Week 532
Denise & IanTequilaSeries 2, Week 532
Colin & ErinNaughty GirlSeries 3, Week 532
Louisa & VincentRhythm Of The NightSeries 4, Week 632
Matt & LiliaFaithSeries 4, Week 1032
Penny & IanThese Boots Are Made For WalkingSeries 5, Week 432
Austin & ErinMove Your FeetSeries 6, Week 532
Jade & IanIndependent WomanSeries 7, Week 632
Ricky & NatalieGood Lovin'Series 7, Week 632
Zoe & JamesBoogie NightsSeries 7, Week 732
Scott & Natalie(Your Love Keeps Lifting Me) Higher and HigherSeries 8, Week 832
Lisa & RobinCar WashSeries 10, Week 732
Caroline & PashaLe FreakSeries 12, Week 632
Frankie & KevinLa BambaSeries 12, Week 732
Claudia & AJYoung Hearts Run FreeSeries 14, Week 532
Laura & GiovanniBamboleoSeries 14, Week 732
Chris & OlaCubaSeries 7, Week 1231.2 (39)
Natasha & BrendanLove Is In The AirSeries 1, Week 831
Matt & LiliaFaithSeries 4, Week 1231
Sophie & BrendanAll Night LongSeries 11, Week 331
Ashley & OlaLove Is In The AirSeries 11, Week 331
Robert & OksanaOh What A NightSeries 14, Week 1131
Aled & LiliaIt's Not UnusualSeries 2, Week 530
Aled & LiliaWalking In The AirSeries 2, Christmas30
Gabby & JamesEso BesoSeries 5, Week 430
Rachel & VincentHips Don't LieSeries 6, Week 530
Christine & MatthewBaila, Baila ConmigoSeries 6, Week 530
Lisa & BrendanRock The BoatSeries 6, Week 930
Sunetra & BrendanI Don't Feel Like Dancin'Series 12, Week 830
Simon & KristinaI Like To Move ItSeries 12, Week 1230
Darren & LiliaYou To Me Are EverythingSeries 3, Week 929
Kelly & BrendanStayin' AliveSeries 5, Week 829
Matt & FlaviaBlame It On The BoogieSeries 5, Week 1029
Louis & FlaviaLa BombaSeries 10, Week 529
Susanna & KevinWhenever, WhereverSeries 11, Week 429
Mark & IvetaI Just Can't Wait To Be KingSeries 11, Week 1029
Laila & AntonHe's The Greatest DancerSeries 7, Week 628
Patsy & RobinCopacabanaSeries 8, Week 828
Lesley & AntonMas Que NadaSeries 1, Week 527
John & NicoleSir DukeSeries 5, Week 827
Gavin & KatyaBamboleoSeries 8, Week 1127
Anita & RobinCome On EileenSeries 9, Week 827
Alison & AljazBootyliciousSeries 12, Week 427
Anita & GlebHips Don't LieSeries 13, Week 427
Patsy & AntonGo Back To My RootsSeries 3, Week 526
Ray & CamillaI Don't Feel Like DancingSeries 4, Week 626
Gethin & CamillaMore Than A WomanSeries 5, Week 426
Natalie & VincentHolidaySeries 7, Week 1026
Jamelia & TristanA Little RespectSeries 13, Week 826
Claire & BrendanI Love To LoveSeries 4, Week 825
Phil & KatyaDaddy CoolSeries 7, Week 625
Lulu & BrendanSir DukeSeries 9, Week 425
Robbie & OlaYou Sexy ThingSeries 9, Week 925
Davood & NadiyaStayin' AliveSeries 15, Week 325
Julian & ErinCongaSeries 2, Week 524
Michael & NatalieTequilaSeries 10, Week 924
Ed & KatyaCuban PeteSeries 14, Week 324
Sarah & BrendanKiss KissSeries 2, Week 523
Roger & CamillaWhenever, WhereverSeries 2, Week 523
Julian & ErinCongaSeries 2, Week 823
Dennis & IzabellaLa BambaSeries 3, Week 523
Heather & BrianLola LolaSeries 6, Week 523
Jodie & IanHelp YourselfSeries 6, Week 823
Victoria & BrendanIt's Not UnusualSeries 10, Week 523
Martin & ErinCrickets Sing For Ana MariaSeries 1, Week 522
Russell & FlaviaBetter The Devil You KnowSeries 9, Week 522
Andrew & OlaAin't It FunnySeries 6, Week 721
James & CamillaAll Night LongSeries 3, Week 820
Scott & JoanneUnder The SeaSeries 12, Week 320 (25)
Susan & KevinWonder WomanSeries 15, Week 320
Peter & ErinUse It Up And Wear It OutSeries 4, Week 619
Simon & KarenCopacabanaSeries 15, Week 419
Kenny & OlaMujer LatinaSeries 5, Week 418
Craig & FlaviaGive It UpSeries 7, Week 618
Mark & HayleySpice Up Your LifeSeries 6, Week 517
Kate & AntonDancing QueenSeries 5, Week 416
John & KristinaPapa Loves MamboSeries 6, Week 516
Chris & HannaAustin PowersSeries 1, Week 515
Jo & BrendanSuperstitionSeries 7, Week 614
Ann & AntonHeaven Must Be Missing An AngelSeries 8, Week 813

*The score for any dances marked by five judges have been adjusted down to allow for fair comparison, so the score in this column is the adjusted score followed by the actual score in brackets.

Danny & OTI scoring the only perfect 40 for a samba in series 14:

Abbey & Aljaž's top scoring samba from series 11:

 

Often overlooked ahead of her cha cha cha, I still love Alesha & Matthew's samba in series 5:

 

King of the samba Ian, and in this clip dancing with Jade in series 7:

 

And this is how the professionals do it: