Samba Lessons in Toronto

Where is the best place to take Samba lessons in Toronto? Access Ballroom is the right dance school for you if you are looking to improve your dancing quickly and have fun during the learning process.

First of all, we do not work with Semesters. Instead, we have a system where we create a Personalized Dance Program that is designed to fit your needs and goals. We also make sure that it fits a schedule that works for you.

The program includes either privates only or a mix of private lessons and group lessons. To explain each, the private lessons are where the dance instructor works on such details as your footwork, your lead/follow skills, musicality, and technique. The group lessons are for you to learn the dance steps allowing less time in the privates to fix any of the details. 

Below you will see a video of Samba dancing. Dancing as a couple does differ from the Brazilian dance where you are dancing solo. But, if you want to watch more videos for Samba and other dance styles, then click on Access Ballroom YouTube Channel.

Call 416-690-3900 now or email for more information or to set up a trial private lesson before signing up for Samba Lessons in Toronto.


Simply fill out the form below and we will reach out to help you set up your appointment.

Please let us know if you have any questions!

Samba Dance

History of Samba

Samba is a dance style and a music genre of African descent, but really fully developed in Brazil. In fact, Samba’s origins are intertwined with the history of colonialism and slavery.

Etymologically, the word Samba seems to come from a West African word and dance Semba. The meaning of Semba is a navel thrust or kind of physical invitation. It is an intimate movement possibly connected to religious and community celebrations on the African continent.

In the 16th century, Portuguese traders brought West African slaves to the state of Bahia in Brazil. The slaves retained their homeland customs, including traditional drumming and dancing. They did it despite the attempts of the Europeans to forbid such displays since they considered them to be vulgar.

Once slavery ended, the dancers migrated to the favelas or shantytowns outside of the cities. This is where the former slaves put together dance troupes for the carnival. The performances were boisterous and uninhibited, generally frowned upon by Brazil’s Portuguese upper crust. But Samba proved irresistible, its popularity spilling across classes and borders; its gyrations richly colored by regional and international influences.

Samba in the 20th Century

Historically, this national dance of Brazil became the rage of its society in the 1930s but began as an exhibition dance in Paris in 1905. As early as 1923 an international meeting of professors of dance took note of the rise of the Samba’s popularity, particularly in France. A French dance book published by Paul Boucher in 1928 included Samba instructions. The dance was introduced to United States movie audiences in 1933 when Fred Astaire and Dolores Del Rio danced the Carioca in Flying Down to Rio. And several years later, Carmen Miranda danced the Samba in That Night in Rio. This Portuguese-born Brazilian Samba singer, dancer, and actress can be credited for making the dance popular in the United States in the 1940s.

Samba Today

samba lessons toronto brazilian ballroom samba dancer in a carnival costume orange and green feathers rio

The festive style and mood of the dance have kept it alive and popular to this day. Today, anyone would agree that it would be impossible to imagine carnival without Samba. In fact, Samba has been popular as a street dance at carnivals, the pre-Lenten celebration, for almost 100 years. Nowadays, one can see many versions of the Samba (from Baion to Marcha) at the local carnival in Rio, various street festivals and celebrations.

Samba is a fun dance that fits most of today’s popular music including Reggaeton. It is not only a carnival street dance but also a ballroom competition dance and a 1930s classic movie number. The technique ensures a powerful workout for your pelvis, abs, and calves.

Ballroom Samba

The ballroom Samba or Carioca Samba derives from the rural “Rocking Samba” and has been known for many years. (The Carioca is a small river that runs through Rio de Janiero – hence the name Carioca refers to the people of Rio.) Today Samba is still very popular in Rio. During carnival time there are “schools of Samba” involving thousands of elaborately-costumed dancers presenting a national theme based on music typical of Brazil and Rio in particular.

samba lessons in toronto ballroom competitions latin champions dance couple samba dancersTo achieve the true character of the Samba, a dancer must give it a happy, flirtatious and exuberant interpretation. Many figures, used in the ballroom Samba today, require a pelvic tilt (Samba tic) action. This action is quite difficult to accomplish and requires much practice, but without it, the dance loses much of its effect. Principal characteristics of Samba are rapid steps taken on a quarter of a beat and the pronounced rocking motion and sway of the dancing couple.

Samba (also known as the Brazilian Waltz) is now a quite popular ballroom dance. Usually, more experienced ballroom dancers do the Samba because of its high speed and hip action.

Samba Music

History of Samba Music

Through the 17th and 18th centuries, the music and dance survived in private celebrations held by slaves and former slaves in Bahia, Brazil. In the mid-19th century, Brazil abolished slavery and the descendants of slaves moved south to Rio de Janeiro. They settled in the favelas or poorer neighborhoods on the hills surrounding the city. They continued dancing to percussive music and developed Samba music out of a mix of various styles. This includes the Brazilian Maxixe, a dance similar to Tango. In 1914, the first phonograph recording of Samba music brought wider recognition, and Samba grew in popularity.

A Samba exhibition was given at the November 1938 meeting of the New York Society of Teachers of Dancing. General interest in the Samba increased at the 1939 World’s Fair in New York, where Samba music played at the Brazilian Pavilion. A few years later the Brazilian composer Ary Barroso wrote the classic Samba, “Brasil,” which quickly became a hit. And in 1944 Barroso went to Hollywood to write the score for the musical “Brazil”.

What is Samba Music Like?

Samba has a very specific rhythm, highlighted to its best by characteristic Brazilian musical instruments such as Tamborims, Agogo bells, Snare drums (Caixa), surdos, Ganzás / Chocalho (shakers), Cuíca, Timbal, Pandeiro, and the Repinique. Much of Samba music came from daily life in Rio, the first famous example being “Pelo Telefone” by Donga.

Listen to some of the examples here and practice the moves you’ve learned after your dance class!

Never Tried Samba Before?

Take a trial private lesson at Access Ballroom to learn the Samba and any other Latin or Ballroom dances you’d like.

During your trial lesson, you will get to meet your dance instructor. You will also talk about your dance goals, and pick the dance styles you would like to learn or improve. We will then take you to the dance floor and teach you (or help you improve) up to 2 different dance styles. At the end of the lesson, if you enjoy and have fun, we’ll present you a Personalized Dance Package that makes sense for your schedule, budget and dance goals. The trial will be 50 minutes long.

How to Book Your Demo Private Lesson to Try Samba Lessons in Toronto?

To book your trial lesson at Access Ballroom, please call 416-690-3900 or email The schedule is very flexible, as we are open 7 days a week including late evenings.


Access Ballroom – Toronto’s address is 1463 Gerrard St E (2nd floor) Toronto, ON M4L 1Z9 Canada. The entrance and parking area are in the back.

Samba Lessons Toronto – Reviews

“Deciding to learn how to dance was a HUGE step out of my comfort zone and I’m so grateful that I chose Access Ballroom! You are the best kind of teachers. You are talented, warm, funny and filled with such positive energy (everything a teacher should be and more)! Thank you so much for the past seven months. It has been a pleasure coming to the studio to be taught by you both. I recognize how lucky I got in finding you. You are so talented at what you do, a gift to teaching. Thank you. I look forward to continuing laughing and learning with you both at Access Ballroom!” – Fiona Petheriotis

Benefits You Get When You Take Samba Lessons in Toronto

Physical Benefits of Samba Lessons in Toronto

Samba is a fast-paced dance. This means that not only will you strengthen your cardiovascular system when dancing the Samba, but also get an excellent workout. For example, you will work your quads, calves, and abs – all thanks to the bounce action and hip movement. What can be better than burning calories while having fun to the music?

Mental Benefits of Samba Lessons in Toronto

Studies have shown that the more active you are in terms of movement, the more endorphins your body produces. And endorphins are hormones of happiness. So the best trick to use to relieve stress and feel happier, in general, is to get to the dance class and get moving! Once you start dancing, your mind will follow your body and you will feel the changes right away.

Social Benefits of Samba Lessons in Toronto

The best way to enjoy the social benefits of Samba is by learning how to dance with a partner. You will not only meet a lot of new peoples but also learn to communicate with another person without words. You will learn how to become one with your dance partner on the dance floor, feel like you are at the most fantastic party and connect with others on that same level.

The very last thing you have to know about Samba lessons in Toronto

Don’t wait, contact us now and try it out yourself!

If you need a Samba dance routine for your Wedding, click here to find out more about Wedding Dance Lessons in Toronto and learn more about Access Ballroom’s Wedding Dance Package options.