The 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 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.
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.