The ballroom samba has its origins in Samba of Brazil at the beginning of the 20th century. Many steps can be traced back to the Maxixe danced in the 1910s.
As a ballroom dance, the samba is a partner dance. Ballroom samba, even more than other ballroom dances, is very disconnected from the origins and evolution of the music and dance that gives it its name.
Most steps are danced with a slight downward bouncing or dropping action. This action is created through the bending and straightening of the knees, with bending occurring on the beats of 1 and 2, and the straightening occurring between. However, unlike the bouncing of, e.g., Polka, there is no considerable bobbing. Also, Samba has a specific hip action, different from that in ballroom Latin dances (Rumba and Cha-Cha-Cha).
The ballroom samba is danced to music in 2/4 or 4/4 time. It uses several different rhythmic patterns in its figures, with cross-rhythms being a common feature.
The ballroom samba is danced under several different rhythms, including the original Samba (music). It is also possible to dance ballroom samba with flamenco, zouk, and other South American rhythms.