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Updated: Jun 9, 2020

The original Rumba is and Afro-Cuban folk-dance that became popular around the World in the early 20th century. The style gain it's fame around 1930-1940s when it was introduced in America breaking all social rules with the exaggerated hip movements. Today we know the Rumba as a fun, lyrical and flirtatious dance style that fits most modern styles of music.

rumba History

Originating in the late 19th century among the black population of the eastern Cuba this dance style also was developed from African and Spanish native songs and dance moves. The Afro-Cuban Rumba developed in the urban slums of Cuba in the mid-19th century. The dance style we know nowadays paints a very different picture with all the rhinestoned dance costumes we see on Dancing with The Stars or at Ballroom dance competitions.

Rumba Characteristics

The basic Rumba body expression is a distinctive side-to-side hip movement. Hip movements are simply a result of good foot, ankle, knee and leg action even though we see the exaggeration the the hip area of the dancer. When the body weight transfers with control the dancer is able to produce more authentic "cuban motion" which characterizes the dance. Originally, Rumba was used as a synonym for "party" in northern Cuba and a way of celebration.

Rumba Music

Rumba follows a 4/4 timing structure meaning that there are 4 beats in one bar of music. The dancer takes 3 steps using 1 bar of Rumba music counting Quick-Quick-Slow or 2-3-4-1 where steps are made on the first 3 beats and on count 1 the dancer has an opportunity to add more hip action.

The dance known today as the Rumba is a mixture of several dances popular in Cuba, including the guaracha, the Cuban bolero, the Cuban son, and the rural rumba. All of this dance styles have similar characteristics all coming from religious African dances.

Rumba as we know it today

The Rumba as we know it today is one of the Ballroom dance styles which both occurs in Social Dancing and in Ballroom dance competitions. It is the slowest of the five competitive International Latin dances and one of the slowest in the American Rhythm together with the Bolero. This dance style is very popular in the social dance circles because if it's sensitive character and personal way of expression. Competitive Ballroom dancers absolutely love the Rumba because the slow tempo gives them more time and an opportunity to show their skills and portray their message through movement.


Image Ballroom Dance Academy's instructors are passionate about dance and helping people learn how to enjoy partner dancing more. We offer ballroom dance lessons, wedding dance instruction and private dance parties. Dance styles we teach include Cha Cha, Salsa, Rumba, Swing, Waltz, Foxtrot, Tango. Sign Up Today for your first dance class with us.

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