I am not an expert, but the alternative was to cancel the dance party after the scheduled dance instructor became unavailable.
Samba music is very sexy. Very intimate. No, not the frenetic version performed by women in outfits consisting of feathers and a thong in Rio during Carnival. The version I taught was partner Samba that is considered "low Samba" in Brazil. It isn't the over-the-top "ballroom-dance-as-personality-disorder" you see on "Dancing With the C-List Stars." Tamer, but more real. More romantic.
My inspiration for teaching goes back to last New Year's Eve. It was about 11pm and after a series of uptempo tunes the dance floor was empty as the boomer audience had to catch it's breath and a cocktail. An older man came up and requested "Girl From Ipanema," the classic 1964 Samba by Stan Getz with Astrud Giberto. Perfect! Classy! Excellent tempo to start a rebuilding set.
He walked over to the young wife of one of the attendees who was seated at a table next to the dance floor and although I couldn't hear, I could see him beckon to the dance floor and take her hand as though this was a smokey little tango bar in Buenos Aires. She was dressed in a very slinky, stylish dress that was perfectly suited for the time, place, and tune. Sadly, while she looked fabulous, she was clearly not comfortable with the 2/4 time signature of the Samba, and for the duration it was all she could do to keep her large dance partner from crushing her feet. Alas...
Since that night I have wanted to do something with Samba music and an instructor to fill in the missing piece in boomer dance repertoires. There is just too much good boomer samba out there to ignore it. Sergio Mendes and Brazil 66+, Quincy Jones! Stan Getz. Jobim! Even Sinatra recorded a number of very hot, very cool Samba tunes, all of which hold up magically over the years.
And what happens if you tweak Samba by speeding it up a little and changing the emphasis? You get....wait for it...Bossa Nova, which is not a dance, it's a style, so don't try to find it on YouTube because there is no standard set of steps, unlike Samba.
So while Elvis tore up the screen to "Bossa Nova Baby" in 1963's "Fun in Acapulco" and Eydie Gorme blamed it "on the Bossa Nova" the fact is, you are free to shake it any way you can/want, because there isn't any dance called "Bossa Nova."
If the next time you hear Mas Que Nada, or "Girl From Ipanema" or "One Note Samba" (you know the tune, you just have never known the title) and you find yourself exiting the dance floor because the tempo is decidely Samba-esque and well, you don't know how to dance to Samba rhythm, think of me. My wife thinks I am the coolest thing since canned spinach now that I can Samba. The couples that learned Samba the other night, they will RULE the dance floor as they sway as one while lesser mortals watch enviously from their tables. I love my life!