Lambada is danced with bended knees. The feet stand always a little apart. The dance posture should be erotically narrow. The hips swing opposed to the steps clearly visibly back and forth. In contrast to the other Latin American dances, the hip movements precede the steps, what makes the dance especially for beginners hard to learn.
Lambada is danced in 4/4-time with a speed up to 50 beats per minute in the rhythm quick-quick-slow.
Past and Present
The history of Lambada is discussed contradictorily: some sources say Lambada began in Brazil, but others see it's origin in the start of commercialization by an Andean group in Bolivia.
The term "Lambada" is an obscure Portuguese word used in Brazil and refers to the wavelike motion induced in a whip. This flowing wave motion is copied by the dancers bodies. The dark ambiguity of this figure is one of the things that distinguishes Lambada from other dances.
As for the origins of Lambada as a dance, Lambada is derived from Carimbó which got its name from a large African drum with a sonorous sound. In Brazil the Carimbó is known since the 16th century - in spite of influences from the Caribbean and the Antilles, it merely didn't change its character up to the 20th century. Only by influences of Salsa, Merengue and Reggae, the formerly single danced Lambada evolved into an couple dance, early adopted by people in Porto Seguro, Bahia.
Being a summer season phenomenon, the Lambada would have disappeared like a lot of other dances, if it hadn't been for the French group "Kaoma" which made "Lambada" the number one hit worldwide - 5 million singles were bought. Many other bands tried to copy the success of Kaoma - Hollywood produced several films in quick succession. In the summer of 1990 the movie "Dirty Dancing" with Patrick Swayze and Jennifer Grey aroused a whole generations enthusiasm, with excellent dancing scenes and a thrilling music and caused an international dancing boom. Many dancing schools followed the trend and in a hurry offered dancing lessons - however, the commercialization of Lambada hype was exaggerated. Today the focal point is concentrated on the artistic potential of Lambada and it always is present in the dancing halls of Europe, Argentina and Australia.