Dance Tidbits – The Rumba

Come party! That is the original meaning of Rumba taken from the Cuban/Spanish word rumbo which means to party. This is kind of an interesting name for a dance that did not start out to be a party at all.

Rumba was first danced in the 16th century originating in Cuba. This famous dance has influences from several countries. The music of the Rumba has

Image c/o Phoenix Dance Blog

strong rhythms as danced by the African people. The African people were brought to Cuba against their will by the Spanish colonists and forced into labor to become slaves in Cuba. These three different cultures came together to tell their story through adversity by dancing, creating a social environment and even a “party” situation. Many versions of the Rumba were developed through these circumstances and lifestyles. The difference is usually depicted in the tempo of music either making the Rumba much slower or faster depending on what country it came from.

Primarily a Rumba dance has hip movements that are well defined and done to the beat of the music combining intense rhythm and body expression. It is a beautiful and elegant dance done with extreme attitude. Men learn to dance with precise hip movement giving them a dominant attitude while the women have a more demur yet succinct hip action.

There is no doubt you will be learning the Rumba as a ballroom and competitive dance. It is one of five competitive International Latin dances and is known to be the slowest of the Latin dances. Embrace the Rumba and make it your own. No matter which version of the Rumba you learn, be prepared to share your synchronized style, body movement and creativity in a dance story we can appreciate and want to see over and over again!

Happy dancing,



Shane Meuwissen is the Media Specialist for Fordney Foundation.  He is a former dance instructor who know works with his company Slow Motion Dance Videos capture the beauty of dancing. If you would like to learn more about Shane and his video work, visit his website