On Rumba

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Some say Rum’-ba, others say Room’-bah – some spell it as Rumba, others Rhumba.

Real interest in Latin music began about 1929. In the late 1920’s, Xavier Cugat formed an orchestra specializing in Latin American music.

Some dances accentuate the relationship between a man and woman. Rumba is a woman’s dance as she uses her rhythmic, sultry moves to charm her partner. Yep, Rumba is foreplay by dance with the woman controlling the signals.

Rumba first appeared in Cuba during the 1880s as an energetic dance that was a blend of Spanish, West Indian, and African cultures.

It’s initial lewd nature caused it to be restricted to private events.

Forerunner dances of Rumba are Son, Danzon, Guagira, Guaracha, and Naningo. In the 1940’s, Son was a popular dance of middle-class Cubans while Danzon was the dance of wealthy Cubans. Today’s American Rumba is a modified version of Son.

Although Lew Quinn and Joan Sawyer introduced Rumba (the dance) to Americans in 1913, it was a movie of the same name that caused promoted the dance to many – Rumba (1935) starring George Raft and Carol Lombard.

Monsieur Pierre and Doris Lavelle popularized Rumba in Europe during the 1930s – which helped Rumba become a competitive dance in 1955.

Today, Rumba is a popular competitive and social ballroom dance.

The match between the musical rhythms and the body expression of the dancers make Rumba one of the most popular ballroom dances throughout the world.

American-style basics

  • Music: Repeatable 4-beat pattern in 4-beat music
  • Pattern: slow (2 beats), quick (1-beat), quick (1-beat)
  • Steps: Short, compact
  • Hips: Expressive hip motion called Cuban motion

Basic Rumba box step …

… and the basic box with Cuban motion.

Rumba styles today include American ballroom, International ballroom, Cuban, Catalan, Flamenco, African, Yambú, Guaguancó, and Columbian. In general, differences are based on choreography and the music’s tempo.

Night Club-Two Step and Bolero are different dances, but actually variations of rumba

As a “dance of romance”, polished Rumba is a beautiful dance.

… and we end with a Dancing With the Stars version of rumba.

Any thoughts? Which videos did you watch? Have you danced Rumba? Do you think you could learn?

23 thoughts on “On Rumba

  1. Thanks for the history lesson about rumba Frank. I have often wondered how it fared in earlier days! It’s a dance I like to watch the professionals doing, but often find cringe worthy with less able dancers……. James did a really good job with Sharna didn’t he!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Great post on one of my favorite dances. It look more difficult than it is.
    Actually, you right it’s all on the woman to make it look good. Sultry looks to your partner and a lot of hip action. Enjoy all the videos especially – James and Sharna.
    Have a wonderful week aFrank. 🎄
    Isadora 😎


  3. The Rumba was one of my favorite dances when my wife and I took dance lessons together many years ago. The problem, however, according to our dance instructor, was that I had “hips of stone.”

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Danced my way through all the videos…vicariously with all the male dancers. I don’t think I’d have a shot at learning those steps quickly but I do think eventually I would get them down. My wife does not list dancing among her favorite activities so I’ve been on the sidelines. I await your swing dance post. We talked about taking a class for dance but the idea never got on the floor. Perhaps one day!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Bruce,
      Cheers to your efforts with the videos! Interesting you mentioned dancing not on your wife’s list because we know couples where only one of them dances … and yes … sometimes it’s the wife and other times the husband. Nonetheless, I can give suggestions on getting lessons if you (or you and her) ever want to try.

      The swing post is ready, but with the holidays upon us, not sure when it will go live.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Resa,
      All right now … I had a hunch you would be willing to try ballroom! Cheers to you for going through all the vids. Each is definitely different! Good ballroom is fun to watch … especially with those who have the skills!


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