Hi Students & Teachers! 

One of my favourite programs on TV is the ballroom dancing competition Strictly Come Dancing.  

For my Friday class I thought that as we were saying farewell to some of our students, it would be fun to build a lesson around the vocabulary linked to dance and instructions one would use when learning the Samba. There is an excellent resource one can use about dance in building a lesson on the British Council LearnEnglish website. Please see resource links at the end of this article.  

How to do the Samba! 

What really made it great fun was a resource I came across that described in stages how to do the samba. 

I made a hand-out from the link and it proved a fun reading and practical exercise as well, as the students in pairs had to read the instructions and try to work out how to do the Samba. 

Dance instructions

The dance instructions are described in stages such as stage two is 'Count your steps this way: 1-ah-2, 2-ah-2, etc., so you take three steps in two beats. Samba music is in 2/4 time at a tempo of about 100 beats per minute.Count out the steps in sets of 8' So it's a really good lesson in comprehension and reading instructions.

Class Spirit & Team Building 

As you can imagine there was much hilarity as we all tried to make head or tail of the instructions.   

Other instruction included,'Step backward on your right foot (2), bring your left foot back next to it and shift your weight from left (ah) to right (2).'  We laughed as we tried to work that out. 

It proved to be a great team building exercise too and luckily one of the students was already familiar with the dance and assisted us to make sense of the instructions. 

I include a youtube video clip below on how to do the basic steps which one can ask the students to watch after their initial attempts.

History of the Samba 

We also looked at the history of the Samba. 

We read about how one theory suggests that 'although Samba is known as a Brazilian dance, its origins are African and it was brought to South America by slaves as part of their religious worship. Although the basic step is simple, it allows for great variation.' 

Spice up you life!

I chose the Spice Girls' hit 'Spice up your life' as the song to dance to and early in the lesson we worked through the vocabulary in the lyrics. I printed out the lyrics and accessed the song from my phone. 

Keep on dancing to fluency!

The lesson proved so successful that I think I will now and then start to include an end of week class built around the various types of dance. 

One could  look at the history of the each particular dance and then read the instructions as to how to do it, as well as choose an appropriate song for each dance themed lesson. 

Next week I think we should look at the Tango! 

Best wishes and keep on dancing to fluency 


Please see resource links after the videos below. 

I include my dance remix DiscoTense video  'Good Times - Present & Continuous' as it could be fun to samba to while learning more about the tense! 
More pics from this language workshop can be seen on facebook at https://www.facebook.com/lateachenglish

Spice up your life! Live!

How to do the Samba! 

Dance Track - Good Times Present & Continuous! 

Resource Links: 

British Council LearnEnglish article on dance at https://learnenglish.britishcouncil.org/en/magazine-articles/quick-guide-dance

How to do the Samba at http://www.wikihow.com/Samba

A video clip on how to do the Samba at http://youtu.be/rMsRzvei_AI

Link to Spice up your life lyrics at http://www.metrolyrics.com/spice-up-your-life-lyrics-spice-girls.html

More information on the history of the Samba at http://dance.about.com/od/partnerdancestyles/qt/Samba.htm
Fluency - Learning English with Lawrence

Keep dancing your way to fluency with Lawrence's remixes -  DiscoTense songs - Good times - Present and continuous at http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLS-eQxgMJEd0d6B32n0jInZFAcDAd84fZ
facebook: https://www.facebook.com/lateachenglish
blog: http://lawrencehilton.com/fluency-with-lawrence.html
youtube channel: http://www.youtube.com/user/Songolola
fluency on twitter @Lawrence_Hilton 
Main pic from BBC series Strictly Come Dancing
Adventures in English Fluency click pic for more info


04/05/2014 11:05

Brilliant. I love doing wacky things in class, I'll definitely be using this. Thanks.

24/05/2014 22:00

Thanks so much Clare for your comment! I agree and it keeps it for fun for both the students and the teacher. Keep up the great work and keep keeping it fun as you do. Please forgive delay in reply as I missed this comment. Best wishes Lawrence


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    Lawrence Hilton

    Lawrence Hilton is a former award-winning TV presenter currently based in London. 
    He has worked as stand-up & comedy host presenter, actor and producer. Lawrence also now  works as motivational language performance coach and writer providing workshops and resources for business and conversational English. 
    For more on Lawrence please visit the rest of this website. 

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