The ballroom Samba is danced to music in 2/4 or 4/4 time. The basic movements are counted either 1-2 or 1-a-2, and 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 on the “a”. Samba is notable for its constantly changing rhythms however, with cross-rhythms being a common feature.

The international Ballroom version of samba is a lively, rhythmical dance with elements from Brazilian samba. It has recently been exposed to the American public in television programmes such as Strictly come dancing and Dancing with the stars. It differs considerably from the original samba styles of Brazil, in particular it differs from Ballroom Samba in Brazil itself.

It is often not always danced to music with a samba rhythm and often danced to music with less complex 2/4 and 4/4 time. In particular in the popular television programmes Strictly Come Dancing and Dancing with the Stars it almost never danced to samba music or a samba rhythm. Moreover its performance does not necessarily include the characteristic steps from Samba no Pé. In many other ways it though been influenced by the Brazilian version of samba, in particular maxixe, and subsequently developed independently from samba in Brazil.