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What is RUMBA?

The Rumba is a dance that tells a story of love and passion between a strong, male lover and a coy, teasing woman. Full of sensual movements, the Rumba is considered by many to be the sexiest of the ballroom dances. "Rumba" is a term that refers to a variety of dances or a "dance party." This dance of love is one of the most popular ballroom dances and is seen around the world at nightclubs, parties, weddings and dance competitions.

Rumba Characteristics
The Rumba is a very slow, serious, romantic dance with flirtation between the partners. The dance is fun to watch, as many of its basic dance figures of the dance have a teasing theme in which the lady flirts with and then rejects her male partner, often with apparent sexual aggression. The Rumba spotlights the lady's rhythmic body movements and hip actions resulting in intense, almost steamy, scenes of passion.

History of Rumba
The rumba is often referred to as the "grandfather of the Latin dances." Originating in Cuba, it first came to the United States in the early 1920s. The Rumba is the slowest of the five Rumba Action competition Latin and American dances.
The distinctive hip movement, called Cuban Motion, is a very important element of the Rumba. These hip movements and characteristic sways of the Rumba are generated by the bending and straightening of the knees. The intensity of the Rumba is increased by sharp eye contact that is maintained between the man and the woman. The stillness of the upper body, while adding dramatic intensity, also emphasizes the strong, sensuous leg and foot movements.

Distinctive Rumba Steps

The basic rhythm of the Rumba is quick-quick-slow with distinctive side-to-side hip movements. Hip movements are exaggerated, but are not generated by the hips - they are simply a result of good foot, ankle, knee and leg action. When these weight transfers are well-controlled, the hips take care of themselves. Distinctive Rumba steps include the following:

Fan Hockey Stick Alemana Turn Aida Open Hip Twist La Elenita Fencing Line Hip Rolls El Paseo

Rumba Music and Rhythm

Rumba music is written with four beats to each measure, in 4/4 time. One full step is completed in two measures of music. The music tempo is usually about 104 to 108 beats per minute. Rumba rhythms, while once influenced by African-style music, have found their way into Country Western, Blues, Rock, and other popular music types. The music is sometimes enhanced by homemade instruments from the kitchen such as pots, pans and spoons.


Developed in Brazil during the 19th century, the Samba is considered the dance of celebration and joy at Carnival celebrations in Rio. Lively and rhythmical, there are many types of Samba dances, just like there are many types of Samba music. Ballroom partner Samba, one of the popular Latin dances in ballroom competitions, is made up of many different South American dances mixed into one. In Brazil, a Samba dancer is known as a Sambista.

Samba Characteristics
Before Samba became a ballroom dance style, there were many styles of partner dances as well as solo Samba dances. As with the solo Samba, partner ballroom Samba has a quick beat that requires fast footwork. Over the years, the Samba has incorporated elaborate tricks, turns, and acrobatic feats into its basic set of figures. The main characteristics of the Samba are rapid steps taken on quarter beats and a rocking, swaying motion of the dancers.

Samba History
Introduced in 1917, the Samba wasn't adopted by Brazil as a ballroom dance until 1930. In Brazil, Samba is mostly danced solo, and remains especially popular during celebrations of Carnival. The festive mood of the dance is responsible for its continued popularity. In International style Latin dancing, the Samba is one of the five Latin competition dances.

Samba Action
The major action of Samba, the "Samba Bounce Action," gives the dance its unique look and feel. The Samba Bounce Action is a gentle, rhythmic action felt through the knees and ankles. Samba dancers must strive to make this action appear effortless and should never be exaggerated. This bounce action is quite difficult to master, but really adds to the overall character of the Samba.

Distinctive Samba Steps

The basic footwork of the Samba includes fast, three-step weight changes with a slight knee lift, led with alternating feet. The basic rhythm is "quick, quick, slow, and." Distinctive Samba steps include the following:

Voltas Bota Fogos Kick Change Samba Side Steps Samba Strut

The Samba also has a distinctive, dramatic concludes with dancers throwing back their heads and extending their arms out to the sides.

Samba Rhythm and Music

Samba music, with its distinctive rhythm, is highlighted by original Brazilian musical instruments, including the tamborim, chocalho, reco-reco and cabaca. Samba is danced to music with a tempo of about 100 beats per minute. The fast and energetic rhythm of Samba music encourages spontaneous dancing, such as in the streets during a Carnival celebration.