Bossa Nova


Well-Known Member
When I'm dancing to a bossa nova, I always think," step, step, step, bounce." Not that my thought process helps any, LOL, but that's what's in my mind. And each step is more like a southern US step. Slow and deliberate. Not a New York step (fast, fast, fast!) Bossa Nova takes its time. It's pretty seductive that way. Slow and deliberate. Hmm. 8) :wink:
I was pretty much doing a Cuban side-step to the music, and a bachata could be done also!
Up until now, I'd been playing Bossa Nova as BGM for dinner parties, but listening to it at home alone, it tends to put me to sleep... :?


Active Member
When a DJ friend of mine (who also dances) played a Bossa Nova one night, I asked him to show me how to dance to it. He told me that it was basically a slow, relaxed samba. I can't remember exactly, but it was another "three steps to the four beats" dance, like salsa and bachata, but I was told to add a bounce to it (unlike salsa).
What is the Bossa Nova

Hey something in Cocodrilo's post in another forum lead me to start this post... I am a huge ELVIS fan, and I love the song "Bossa Nova" and it has a beat that drives me straight to dance... but in the southern united states I find that ballroom dancing is limited, and I can find no one who can tell me what the Bossa Nova dance is??? People say they have seen it but what is it?? Closer to Swing or Samba?? What beats??? Please clue me in!!!!


Well-Known Member
Gee, I haven't heard that dance mentioned since the mid-60's when it was made popular by groups like Brazil '66 (who introduced Girl from Ipanema to the US, as I recall).

A dance of Brazilian origin (I'm fairly sure), popular in the mid 1960's. For more information, you would need to Google [].

From's Dance History Archives []: said:
The Bossa Nova was first heard in small clubs and Cafe's in the beachfront districts of Rio de Janeiro* around 1958. In its home of Brazil*, the Bossa-Nova can be translated as "the new beat". Antonio Carlos Jobim is credited as naming the Bossa Nova to describe João Gilberto's new musical style.

-- The roots of the Bossa Nova music point to Joao Gilberto, Antonio Carlos Jobim and Luiz Bonfá (1922-2001), all three are musician / Composers who wrote the first Bossa Nova "A felicidade" for the 1958 (1959) film "Black Orpheus," Sidney Frey brought the music to the United States while Elvis Presley and songs like the "The Girl From Ipanema" made it a somewhat popular music. The Music is likened to a Jazz-Samba.

-- The dance originated around 1960 and was somewhat popular by 1962, however the music was much more popular than the dance due to it's hasty commercialism. Vocalist Edie Gormé recorded the pop tune "Blame It on the Bossa Nova," a song in which the style is depicted as a dance is a good example. The dance is basically the opposite steps of the rumba, (Slow-Quick-Quick) with a Samba flair, very similar to today's much slower Nightclub Two-step. The dance can be done in couple or solo form.
The site also lists several resources, including several movies that featured it and this section: said:
Basic Step:
Can be couples or as solo. If Solo, one hand on stomach, other hand held up, slight side sway with hip motion (can use Samba and Rumba steps as well) .... steps are as follows:

Forward on left foot (Follower opposite foot),
Close right foot to left foot without changing weight to that foot. (Follower opposite foot),
Right foot back, (Follower opposite foot),
Close left foot to right foot changing weight to that foot. (Follower opposite foot),
Repeat Starting with Opposite Foot.
(Basically: Step-Touch-Step-Step or Slow-Quick-Quick).


Well-Known Member
This is very coincidental, But I ahev Bossa Nova Music on in the background as I write! And now I can dance the basic Bossa Nova to it! Cool! 8)

Thanks DWise1!
Apparently there's even a dance! The bossa nova itself is a type of music- very smooth & seductive. Our band does Ipanema, the theme from "Black Orpheus" , Desafinado(both English jazz & Portugese bossa nova versions) Manha de Carnival and several others. I'm hoping we will learn "Mas que Nada" which is a hip samba tune that has hto jazz undertones! Gotta get people to dance! 8)


Well-Known Member
I think it would fall under the general category of American Rhythm, having migrated into America from pre-Castro Cuba along with rumba, cha-cha, bolero, etc. Having said that, I'll have to admit that I know only a very little bit about it.

I do know that it was popular in the U.S. in the '50s and early '60s. I remember my parents having some bossa nova music, and practicing the steps in our living room, circa 1963. I'm not sure why it died out, other than the decline in the popularity of ballroom dancing in general that occurred in the late '60s.
Bosa Nova is taught here in Australia in a few of the 'Street Latin' type studios. Its quite a simple dance - basically just a side together side together to one side and then one side together the other. The guys basically just to this step and get the lady to do different sorts of turns. Its a good club type dance. mummsie
As for as I know, Bossa Nova is from Brasil and has nothing to do with Cuba. Never heard it in Cuba, either.

All the Bossa Nova music I have ever heard is from Brasil. I am not an expert in Brasilian music, though.


New Member
I never even knew that Bossa Nova was a dance -- I always thought it was a style of Brazillian music. My dad used to listen to Sergio Mendez and Brasil '66 when I was a kid. We had it on reel-to-reel tape!! And then there's my favorite, Antonio Carlos Joabim. "The Waters of March" is one of the best songs on planet Earth. Love it.


Active Member
Bossa Nova was originally the music, from Brazil. I always think of it as a mello jazz samba, probably because Stan Getz had such influencial albums.

The Girl from Ipanema is a Bossa Nova, as is Desafinado, which most people should have heard, at least in the US.

Whenever a music style is popular someone will put a dance to it, or more than one.

Here is a link to Joe Lanza's website (Black Sheep) where he describes making up choreography to the Bossa Nova.

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