Rumba is the Dance of Love

Latin danceThe Rumba, or Ballroom Rumba, is not just a mere dance with steps and standard accompanying music; it is storytelling. Rumba is a dance that tells a tale of passion. Its movements show the flirtation, the teasing, the longing, and the ultimate connection between two people in love. Many dance-lovers declare Rumba to be one of, if not the most passionate dance in existence.

The Dance

The Rumba is a Latin dance, originating largely from Cuba in the early twentieth century, probably in the 1920s. It also has some roots in Spanish and African dances. As a dance term, the Rumba is an umbrella for several types of music and dance found in many areas of the West Indies. The word, “rumba,” comes from “rumbear,” which means to party and dance. The dance made its way to clubs in New York and Los Angeles, and eventually became a staple of ballroom dance.

It is one of the slow Latin dances, in which the partners come together and move apart. Professional dancers often choreograph the dance so that the woman’s flirtation, teasing, and rejection of the man’s passions are clear and exaggerated through the movements. These choreographed dances often include particularly dramatic movements by the woman.

The Moves

Exaggerated hip movements are an important part of the dance’s flair. These movements, called Cuban Motion, are characteristic of the Rumba, along with a straight upper body and strong leg motions—mostly of the knees—when stepping. This hip movement is, in large part, a result of the leg motions.

The steps are danced to music with four beats per measure—4/4 time. The Box is the basic Rumba step, counted slow, quick quick. It consists of six steps—walk and chasse—that form a box shape:

  • Man: Forward walk with left foot, slow. Chasse to the side with the right foot, and then left foot for the quick, quick steps. Back walk with the right foot, slow. Then, chasse to the side with the left foot, and then the right foot for quick, quick steps.
  • Woman: Reverse from the man. Back walk with the right foot, slow. Chasse to the side with the left foot, and then the right foot for quick, quick steps. Forward walk with left foot, slow. Chasse to the side with the right foot, and then left foot for the quick, quick steps.

In addition to these basic steps, turns may be added—a full turn after two complete box sets, or a one-quarter turn in the middle of each box set. Of course, professionals can create all sorts of dramatic and engaging Rumba dances. At Dance Passion Studio, we offer rumba in our ballroom classes, and we encourage you to come learn this beautiful dance of love and passion from us.

This is Your Brain While Dancing

Did you know that there is more to dance than merely learning steps to music? Dance has a history of stimulating people, physically and mentally. In fact, the benefits of dance are so widespread—it’s sometimes recommended to help those suffering from neurological disorders—that studies have been conducted to find out how and why the brain is so affected by dance.

The Brain While Dancing

It is mostly about coordination; dance requires the brain to not only ask the body to move, but to do so in sync with the music, and in very specific ways. The mind is thus coordinating complex processes using several regions of the brain, and dancing has the potential to improve cognitive functions in many ways.

Specifically, bodily movements begin in the brain’s motor cortex. This area also contains its own parts, which each control an individual part of the body. The motor cortex sends signals down through the body, telling it to move. For dance, this part of the brain works overtime; it coordinates all parts of the body involved in all of the movement, and all at once. Therefore, the brain gets significant exercise, too.

The Affected Areas

True, some other activities may work similarly, but studies have shown that dancing regularly, in particular, can increase brain activity and processing. Science has also found that the combination of music and movement stimulates the pleasure centers of the brain while dancing. This not only creates the euphoric feeling many describe while enjoying music and a physical activity, but it can help improve brain functions such as:

  • Memory: The more you learn and retain, the better your memory. Dance requires learning and memorizing steps to such an extent that they become almost natural the more you practice. Thus, memory is improved.
  • Coordination: The various positions and movements of dance require some dexterity. Placement of feet and hands at the right timing is excellent practice for improved motor skills and coordination.
  • Spatial Awareness: Dance requires that you learn to navigate with and around your partner, as well as other people. This improves special awareness and control.
  • Balance: Learning controlled movements and patterns teaches the body—via the brain—to move better over time, promoting strength and balance through muscle memory.

Depositphotos_53974753_s-2015Dance as Therapy

Some studies have found that dance may decrease the risk of dementia in elderly patients. Dance is also encouraged for young children to aid in their early cognitive development. Dance therapy and related health recommendations are common practices. Dance therapists work with a variety of people, all who have different needs. Therapy through movement is used to aid in the improvement of physical, mental, and neurological conditions.

A person does not necessarily have to engage the services of a dance therapist, however, to reap the same benefits. Under the recommendation of a doctor, a patient may seek out a professional dance teacher and take lessons at a studio. At Dance Passion Studio, we provide dance lessons for any adult learner, at any level. Whether you’re interested in its therapeutic value, or you need to learn for an event, we’re happy to teach you, and have fun doing it. So, come see us today and let’s get dancing.