Encyclopedia of Dance: Rumba


The combination of Spanish melodies, African rhythms and passionate body movements have made Rumba one of the most popular dances in the world.

Rumba is a dance of emotions, a combination of passion, rhythm, sensitivity. A wide range of various shades of this dance make it possible to convey in smooth movements all the passionate feelings of two partners.

The history of the origin of the dance

Rumba was danced for the first time in 1913. Initially, this dance was a ritual dance of African blacks. It was brought to Cuba in the 19th century. According to many sources, the dance received its name «Rumba» in 1807, as a derivative of the name «Rumboso Orguesta» — ensembles that performed music in the style of modern rumba.

From Spanish «rumba» is translated as «way». The name truly conveys the whole meaning of the choreography. The path of the soul — what can more characterize this dance? In the early 1930s, rumba was a mixture of basic rumba with guarache, Cuban balero and son. A full version of the rumba was developed after the Second World War by Pierre Lavelle, master of one of the most famous dance schools in London at that time.

Today, rumba is included in the competitive program of Latin American ballroom dancing.

What is a rumba?

Rumba among all ballroom dances is characterized by the deepest emotional content. Also, in the course of its improvement, this dance acquired many of the features characteristic of the blues. The unique aesthetic effect of the dance creates a pronounced emotional character and a rather dramatic content of the music. Rumba, by right, takes the place of one of the brightest dances of love. but this love is rather not tender and happy, but passionate and unhappy.

It should be noted that for a long time this dance was the wedding dance of Cuban newlyweds. His movements expressed nothing more than the irrepressible passionate feeling of two hearts in love.

A striking feature of the Cuban rumba is a clear rhythm and smooth, but at the same time strict movements. Modern rumbas, written in major, do not cause a storm of emotions, although they also have their own zest. It should be noted that Rumba is the name of a whole class of dances, namely: Afro-Kuban, Son, Son-Montuno, Konga, Gwajira, Danzon, Mambo and many others.


In Cuba, there were three types of rumba dance, but the most popular, which received quite wide popularity and love, was the rumba Guaguanco (Guanguanco). In this type of dance, a passionate gentleman follows his lady in search of rapprochement, hip contact, and the lady both teases him and tries to avoid contact.

Also, the American Rumba won the hearts of many generations of dancers and connoisseurs of Latin American culture. In the American version of this dance, a more restrained style, without erotic movements, can be traced. It was this performance that subsequently spread throughout the world.

Rumba Features

This dance is quite characteristic in its manner and technique of performing the basic steps. The dance performance scheme cannot be called easy. Steps, when performing rumba, are made at the expense of 2, 3 and 4. At each step, the knees are bent and straightened, turns are performed between the count. All steps are taken from the toe, and the weight of the body is in front.

The musical size of the dance is 4/4, with a rather pronounced accent on the 4th beat of each measure. The pace of performance is 25-27 beats per minute.

The main steps of the rumba are:

1. Move forward

Moving the left foot forward, sliding on the floor with the toe, and then with the ball of the foot we put pressure on the floor. At the end of the step, straighten the left leg and lower the heel

2. Move back

Move the left foot back, without changing the body, first with the ball, then with the toe of the foot with little pressure on the floor. The knee of the left leg is slightly bent, the heel drops, the leg straightens.

All gestures and movements of the rumba are filled with love, passion and drama. Rumba is dominated by the Latin style of hip movement. Rumba is not a dance that can be mastered after one or two lessons. First of all, for the effective performance of rumba, you need to put feelings of love, emotional experiences, real attraction to your partner into every movement, every gesture, every look, only in this case you can convey all the charm and drama of the dance. And only in this case, the performers will be able to feel the incredible pleasure of performing rumba, and the audience will be able to watch a real storm of emotions.

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