Dance Styles- Rumba

*from Strictly Come Dancing
arm and leg extension for girls + firm support from men = perfect photo time

The rumba has been called the dance of love because of its sultry and romantic styling. The rumba is African in origin and was originally a courtship, marriage, and street dance with suggestive body and exaggerated movements. A slower and more refined version gradually evolved. Rumba music is a blend of Latin and African music with a staccato beats. Accompanying instruments typically include the maracas (originally tried to gourds with seeds inside), the clave (two sticks), and the drums.

The rumba was introduced in the United States around 1913, but it did not catch on until the late 1920s. At that time, major influence was Xavier Cugat, a famous musician who formed an orchestra specializing in Latin music. His orchestra opened at the Coconut Grove in Los Angeles, California, and his music was featured in early sound movies such as In Gay Madrid. The American version of the Rumba uses a box rhythm with footwork similar to that used in the waltz box step, yet with the timing of the foxtrot (4/4).

The rumba was introduced it in Europe in the 1930s by Monsieur Pierre, a leading dance teacher. He and his partner, Doris Lavelle, popularized Latin American dancing in London. Their Cuban rumba became officially recognized version in 1955 and it parallelled the American rumba. However, soon after this, Pierre visited Havana and discovered that the rumba was danced with a rhythm and timing similar to that used in the cha cha. He shared this discovery, which evolved into the standard international Cuban rumba that is used in competition today. Either version is appropriate on the social dance floor; both may use Cuban motion, which gives the illusion of taking a step without initially placing weight on the step.

Slavik & Karina demonstrating Rumba

Cuban motion does not result from thrusting the hips sideways, but rather from alternately keeping one knee straight while the other knee is bent with each weight change. With Cuban motion, keep your feet flat on the floor and avoid lifting your heel higher off the floor than your toes. If you have trouble with the Cuban motion, keep practicing; mastery takes time.

Learn more about the other dance styles? Check here.