The music has 4 beats to the bar and about 60 bars per minute. Count 1, 2, 3, lift (QQS) per bar for most step groups or figures.

Unlike other latin dances, the close hold can be very close. The couple start facing, with feet slightly apart and offset so that the right foot of each is between partner's legs. Steps are largely in place.

The style of Lambada is supposed to be sexy - but I think ugly is a better description. Bachata is a very similar dance.


The basic movement is three steps with legs apart and a slight lift or flick to the side of the non-supporting foot. These may travel slowly forwards or backwards by shuffling or rotate in either direction. Mostly they are danced on the spot.

Basic (FP, CH) Basic (FP, CH)
Beat 1 (Q) 2 (Q) 3 (S) 4 (and) 1 (Q) 2 (Q) 3 (S) 4 (and)
Man LS RS LS RS lift RS LS RS LS lift
Lady RS LS RS LS lift LS RS LS RS lift

Alemana / Underarm Turns

Use 2 basics to make a full turn. The man raises the linked hands (his left and her right) and leads the lady to turn underneath. He usually trails his right hand round her waist as she turns (especially for a left turn).

There is a variation that probably starts from a high double handhold that is released. The lady raises both arms and turns unaided while the man trails both hands round her waist.

Right Turn (FP-SFP-FP, LRH)
Beat 1 (Q) 2 (Q) 3 (S) 4 (and) 1 (Q) 2 (Q) 3 (S) 4 (and)
Man LS RS LS RS lift RS LS RS LS lift
Lady RS+1 LS+1 RS+1 LS+1 lift LS+1 RS+1 LS+1 RS+1 lift

Left Turn (FP-SFP-FP, LRH)
Beat 1 (Q) 2 (Q) 3 (S) 4 (and) 1 (Q) 2 (Q) 3 (S) 4 (and)
Man LS RS LS RS lift RS LS RS LS lift
Lady RS-1 LS-1 RS-1 LS-1 lift LS-1 RS-1 LS-1 RS-1 lift

Opening Out and Roll

The man lowers the linked hands and leads the lady to step back and to the side (this requires quite a push). Both step back, replace forwards and then step to the side and slightly forwards to get back to a very close hold. There is no lifting action. Instead the man rolls the lady clockwise over the next bar (ie to his left, forwards, right and back up again). Note that he is partially supporting her while she leans backwards during the roll. On the second half of the roll, weight is transferred to the other foot (a rock with no separate step). Finally the original foot makes the slight lift/flick.

Opening Out (FP-SRP-FP, CH) Clockwise Roll (FP, CH)
Beat 1 (Q) 2 (Q) 3, 4 (S) 1, 2 3 4 (and)
Man LB RF LS roll RS rock LS lift
Lady RXB+4 LFX-2 RFS-2 roll LS rock RS lift

© Susan Foord ( 2010-06-28
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