Rumba Defined

Rumba Defined

Date added to ADN: Tue, February 21, 2012
Originally Published: Sun, January 01, 2012
by The AccessDance Network (About the Author)

Rumba is a dance that narrates a story of passionate love between a strong lover and a teasing woman. A dance filled with sensual movements, it is considered to be the sexiest of all ballroom dances and is the slowest of the five competition Latin and American dances. "Rumba" refers to a diversity of dances or "dance party". This dance and romance is one of the most famous dances around the world and is performed at weddings, nightclubs and dance competitions.

Rumba is a Latin ballroom dance that originated in Africa but its modern form was achieved in Cuba. It is often considered as the "grandfather of the Latin dances". Its rhythms had its roots with ceremonial dances of Africa, were recalled by the earliest black people who were transported to Cuba and were subject to forced labor by Spanish colonists. The rural rumba was danced as a pantomime depicting the movements of barnyard animals in a comical manner, and was an exhibition instead of a participation dance. During the Second World War, it was changed to a slower and more polished version for the middle class of Cuba and was called the "son". In 1913, the rumba was introduced to America but was modified because of its movements that were considered too sexually suggestive. In 1923, then years later after it was introduced in America, band leader Emil Coleman brought rumba musicians and dancers to New York but it didn't gain recognition. The interest in the dance developed about 1929 upon the increase of American tourism in Latin America. In 1935, George Raft with Carole Lombard appeared in a movie entitled "Rumba", in which Raft played as a smooth dancer who wins the lady through dancing. This immediately caught the attention of ballroom dance aficionados and rumba became popular ever since.

Rumba couples perform the dance in 4/4 time with a 'quick-quick-slow' rhythm and distinctive side-to side hip movements called the "Cuban motion". The hip movements are not generated by the hips, but instead by the knees being bent and straightened. The Cuban style is distinguished by forward and backward steps, while the American version is performed in a box pattern with "Cuban motion" as its main characteristic. It is a very slow, romantic and serious dance that shows flirtation between partners. Many of its basic dance figures have a teasing theme where the lady dancer flirts with then rejects her male partner, with obvious sexual aggression. The rumba highlights the lady's rhythmic body movements and hip actions showcasing intense scenes of passion.

Rumba music is composed in 4/4 time with each measure having four beats. A full step is finished in two measures of the music. The tempo of this steamy dance is about 104 to 108 beats per minute. While influenced by African-style music, rumba rhythms have penetrated into Blues, Rock Country Western, and other types of music. And the dance is most often accompanied by music with a repeated beat played on percussion instruments.

Not only is rumba fun to watch, it definitely is fun to learn and perform it yourself with your partner. Transform that sensuous feeling into dancing, learn rumba and be hot!

About the Author:
Providing information for Ballroom Dance Lessons, Activities, Dance Competitions and News of the Dance Industry.

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of the AccessDance Network. Be aware that imagery is copyrighted and often licensed for use on AccessDance only. Copying of images is strictly prohibited.

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