Standard accounts of the history of Brazilian samba often fail to distinguish the dance from the music. The particular features of the specific musical genre now called samba first appeared together in the 1917 carnival hit "Pelo telefone," and histories of samba tend to date its musical origins accordingly, although modern samba did not fully crystallize until the 1920s. But the word samba was used in Brazil during the nineteenth-century to refer rather generically to polyrhythmic dance with percussive accompaniment enjoyed by Brazilians of African origin (Afro-Brazilians). It was more of an event or a style of body movement than a particular step. In this nineteenth-century sense of the word, samba was already a part of Rio de Janeiro's annual pre-Lenten carnival, a full generation before the first samba schools (neighborhood dancing clubs) developed in the late 1920s. In the elaboration of Brazilian national identity, this difference in timing is significant. In the years following 1917, a widely endorsed vision of national identity founded on the idea of racial mixing developed. To many Brazilians, post 1917 samba, understood as a blend of African and Portuguese musical ideas, stands as one of the most persuasive emblems of a cherished vision of racially mixed national identity, linked through carnival to a myth of social leveling which, though enacted only during the few days of the festival, still forms part of a unifying national spirit. To some critics, on the other hand, the national glorification of what they consider an Afro-Brazilian dance is a kind of theft, an appropriation of Black culture by the primarily Euro-Brazilian dominant class. According to these critics, the powerful rhythms of batuque, a sacred dance of African origin that is the ancestor of samba, emerged abruptly from the confines of Black culture in the early twentieth century and entered the wider popular culture transformed into samba, a misleading symbol of the supposed esteem in which the nation held Afro-Brazilians. In fact, these critics argue, the symbol was used in the 1920s and 1930s during a period of political turmoil by Euro-Brazilian elites and the anti-democratic nationalist government of Getúlio Vargas to consolidate political dominance. While there is some truth to this view, it is a mistake to see modern samba as a first generation child of batuque. Samba, the dance, does have its ultimate origins in seventeenth-century batuques, but during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries it evolved through several intermediate stages and split into various, mutually influencing, genres, including not only the Black street pageant Congos, long agreed to be one of samba's ancestors, but also polyrhythmic Afro-Brazilian dances with percussive accompaniment, such as lundu and maxixe, that thrived in social situations where partners of different races came together. Because one source of samba's power as a symbol of racially mixed Brazilian identity is its history of racial mixing, that symbol is more than a simple appropriation of a "pure" Afro-Brazilian culture.