Dance historian Robert Romero has written than rumba began as an African folk dance that imitates the traditional emotional positions of parliamentary groups in certain societies; an aggressive man and a woman who, while attracting his traitor with excessive hip movements, still kept a distance and pushed himself away from intimate contact. This early rumba was accompanied by drums.
When this folk dance was transported with African slaves to the Caribbean, it was stylized and eventually decided in a series of codified steps. The woman’s steps became smaller and the dance was limited to taking place in a diamond-shaped pattern of footwork. The second beat of each four-stroke measure was emphasized and set as the rate at which large movements, such as steps, take place. Additional accompaniment instruments were added, including maracas and claves. This dance, which had no strict rules for steps or footwork, was practiced in colonies and settlements until the early 19th century, when it became a more public dance with the gradual release of slave laborers in the Caribbean.
In the 1920s, as Americans and Europeans flocked to Cuba for games and vacations, the dance became known as the Cuban Rumba. In fact, the Cuban Rumba was further differentiated into three sub-styles. The first was the older Rumba Yambu which is most reminiscent of the folk dance from which Rumba comes, where men and women can dance in pairs or women can dance alone. Rumba Yambu is danced at a slower pace than other rumbas, and retains folk dance sensuality and flirtation. The movements of human dancers are more nuanced than in other room bases, and avoid open humble movements such as pelvic support.
Rumba Guaguanaco is faster and contains more sexually charged movements than Rumba Yambo and more moving between dance partners.
Rumba Columbia is finally a 6/8 time dance traditionally performed by men, who use the dance as a competition to show off physical and dance moves.
American and international style rumba
When Cuban Rumba came to the United States in the 1920s, it soon developed into two different schools: American Rumba and International Style Cuban Rumba. American Rumba used fox trotting as the basic step for rumba, which was added to Cuba’s rumba hip movements and used fast music that left out much of the sensuality of Cuban dance. International Style retained the diamond pattern used in Cuban Rumba and used slower music more like what was played in Cuba for rumba dance. Today, both styles are read; Today it is called the American Rumba mambo.
Modern ballroom rumba
Modern ballroom rumba contains steps two, three and four of each action, with beat one reserved for laps, hip movements and other embellishments. The music used today is generally moderate tempo, at 104 to 108 beats per measure. Although the dance has changed significantly from Africa’s unspoiled mating game, it’s still a sexy, highly charged dance. Rumba, also known as son and / or danzon, is a slow and sensual dance for two dancers, traditionally a man and a woman. Rumba’s roots are found in Native American dances from Africa and over time the dance has become very recognizable and has created several related dances, such as mambo.