Lambada Dance

Lambada Dance

The Lambada dance is a renowned dance form from Brazil created by fusing elements of ‘forro, salsa, merengue, maxixe, carimbo and Bolivian saya‘. This ‘Latin American’ dance has originated from the state of Para located in North Brazil. The Lambada dance style (of African origin) became extremely popular worldwide during the 1980’s particularly in the Latin American and Caribbean countries. Furthermore, this dance is extremely ‘energetic’ and involves rhythmic and pronounced movements of the hips. In addition, the Lambada dance is also known for its female performers wearing extremely revealing outfits that includes the “90’s styled thong underwear”.

a. History/origin of Lambada:

The origin and history of Lambada dance is quite intriguing. A dance form known as ‘Carimbo‘ which comprises of extremely sensual body and hip movements was extremely popular in North Brazil, since the time the country was colonised by the Portuguese. It was thus the gradual evolution of Carimbo over the years that eventually led to the creation of this sensual Lambada dance. It was a radio station from Belem (capital city of Para) that named the ‘strong beats’ used in the music used for this dance form as ‘the rhythms of lambada’. Thus the name “Lambada” basically given to the music stuck with the dance style as well.

b. Costumes used in the Lambada dance:



The dress worn by Lambada dancers are usually vibrant coloured and peppy to keep up with the spirit of the dance. Since this dance for is a partner dance featuring both male and female dancers, the costumes worn vary accordingly, and are mentioned as follows:


1. For women:

The costume worn includes extremely short and revealing skirt as well as a 90’s styled thong underwear.

2. For men:

The costume worn includes colourful shirt/vest and long or short trousers. In some dance competitions, it was observed that the male partner wore sleeveless shirts or even went shirtless. 

Lambada Dance Brazil

Lambada Dance Brazil

c. Lambada Music involved in the dance:

The Brazilian composer by the name Aurino Quirino Goncalves created the Lambada music which stuck with the dance form for the past many decades. The rhythm for Lambada music was essentially created from electronic music that became extremely popular in the 1980’s.

d. Training availability and technique involved in the Lambada:

In terms of technique, lambada dance involves the dancers (i.e. male and female) generally dancing with arched legs. Lambada dance also includes the performers swaying from one side to another along with significant movement in the hips. As for training centres/schools, there are none available since this “energetic” dance style only managed to become popular in the north of Brazil, and has not spread around the globe like the Salsa dance or the cha-cha-cha dance.

e. Lambada Movies:

The late 80’s was seeing the Lambada dance gaining popularity across the globe starting from South America and moving up North the United States. March 16th, 1990 saw the release of two movies on the same day, both intending on the encashing on the Lambada dance craze. The two lambada films namely – The Forbidden Dance and Lambada got mixed reviews from the audience.

The rankings on IMDB and Rotten Tomatoes go as below:

IMDB Rating

  • Lambada : 3.4/10
  • The Forbidden Dance : 3.8/10

Rotten Tomatoes (Audience Score)

  • Lambada : 41%
  • The Forbidden Dance : 77%

Movie Cast:

The movie Lambada had J. Eddie Peck playing the role of the lead character Kevin Laired. Melora Hardin played the role of Sandy (Kevin’s student at school) and Adolfo Quinones played Ramone. Joel Silberg was the Director and Script writer and screenplay was by Sheldon Renan.

In the movie The Forbidden Dance is Lambada, former Miss Universe Laura Harring played the lead actress role as Lisa. Jeff James played Jason Anderson and Barbara Brighton played Ashley Wells. The movie was directed by Greydon Clark, story by Menahem Golan and screenplay was by Roy Langsdon and John Platt.

Adolfo Quinones

f. How to dance the Lambada (Lambada dance tutorial video):

The lovely couple from the YouTube channel ‘That Brazilian Couple‘, Ana Luiza and Junio Enrique present an awesome video teaching the steps of Lambada dance.


g. Some of the best Lambada dance videos:

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