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Independent Ballroom And Latin Dance Instruction with highly skilled and certified Professionals in New York City and Long Island

Rumba

Learn all about the Rumba (also spelled ‘Rhumba’)!

The Rumba is a slow, sexy ballroom dance that originated in the African slave communities in sixteenth-century Cuba. Although its original incarnation was faster and more aggressive, it remains a sizzling, passionate dance that has influenced many popular Latin American dance styles, including the Cha-Cha.

History of the Rumba

Although colloquially assumed to refer to a specific type of dance, the Rumba is actually a term used to collectively describe a variety of dances of Afro-Cuban origin. The earliest roots of the Rumba extend back to the 16th century, when slaves brought into Cuba from Africa introduced sexually aggressive dance moves to the local culture. The original Rumba patterns scandalized much of conservative, middle class Cuba, and, eventuall,y the more refined, slower version known as the Son evolved.

The Son made its way to the US in the early 1900s and soon became known as the American Rumba. It wasn’t until the 30s, however, that the Rumba became popular in the mainstream, when the Rumba-influenced song “The Peanut Vendor” became a radio hit and launched the dance into the national consciousness. The 1935 film ‘Rumba,’ starring George Raft and Carole Lombard, etched the dance permanently into American pop culture.

How to Dance the Rumba/Basic Dance Steps


 

The fundamental move in the American Rumba is known as the “box step,” and is similar to the Waltz. Begin with both feet together, facing your partner.

  1. Step side with your left foot.
  2. Bring right foot to the left foot.
  3. Step forward with your left foot.
  4. Slide your right foot to the right.
  5. Slide your left foot to meet with your right foot.
  6. Step back with your right foot.

Many modern versions of the Rumba have successfully married the overt sensuality of its origins with the contemporary preference for slower, more artistic movements. Here are basic tips for beginning Rumba dancers:

  1. Always maintain solid eye contact with your partner.
  2. As is the case with many Latin dances ,the hips do a lot of the work in theMany modern versions of the Rumba have successfully married the overt sensuality of its origins with the contemporary preference for slower, more artistic movements. Here are basic tips for beginning Rumba dancers:
    1. Always maintain solid eye contact with your partner.
    2. As is the case with many Latin dances ,the hips carry much of the style in the Rumba.
    3. The Rumba rhythm is quick-quick-slow.
    4. Rumba songs are typically in 4/4 time.
    5. The “leading” dance partner — usually the male — must remain confident throughout the dance.
    6. The “following” dance partner — usually the female — must carefully and appropriately respond to her partner’s movements, even if he makes a mistake. Doing so will make it much easier for the leading partner to correct his mistake without too much confusion.

Great Rumba Dance Songs

  • “Bella Maria de Mi Alma”, Mambo Kings soundtrack
  • “Wonderful Tonight,” Eric Clapton
  • “Falling into You,” Celine Dion
  • “Let’s Stay Together,” Al Green
  • “When You Say Nothing At All,” Alison Krause

Rumba in the Movies

  • “Flying Down to Rio” (1933)
  • “Rumba” (1935)
  • “Dance with Me” (1998)
  • “Shall We Dance” (Original Japanese film, 1996; U.S. remake, 2004)
  • “Marilyn Hotchkiss’ Ballroom Dancing &  Charm School” (2005)
  • “Rumba” (2008)

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Phone: (917) 916-2840