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The Rumba mostly evolved in Cuba in the 16th century with great influence from the African slaves. Although this Spanish/African mix is considered to be cuban, versions of this dance were common on other Caribbean islands and in Latin America generally. In the late 1920s, the Rumba was introduced to the United States and in the 1930s the dance became popular in London. The Rumba is built around the famous "Cuban Box", and features "Cuban Motion".


Danced in 4/4 timing, the music has 4 even beats with the accent on the first beat of the bar. Slow sensual melodies are used, often with vocals.


Using "Cuban Motion", this dance should display a sensuous movement of the hips and a sense of flirtation between the man and lady. The various rhythms and body expressions make this a very popular dance to watch and participate in.

Normal Hold and Poise:

Stand with feet apart, facing partner about 6 inches apart, with the head erect, the body naturally upright and the shoulders down.

The Man's right hand is placed on the Lady's left shoulder blade and the Lady's arm rests lightly on his right arm following the curve of his arm to the shoulder. The Man's left hand is raised in a gentle curve to the level of the eyes. The Lady's right hand is placed in the Man's left hand with her fingers between his thumb and first finger. The hands are lightly clasped.

Use of Arms:

The arms are held in a natural and unaffected way. In many figures the partner is held with only one hand and in some cases there is no hold. The free arms are never static.

Movement of the arms is subtle and rhythmically coordinated with the movement of the body allowing for personal expression.

Hip Movement:

Every step commences to move with a slightly flexed knee. On steps taking a full beat of music the knee straightens just before it reaches its position. As weight is taken fully on the step the hips move naturally in the direction of the leg receiving the weight. The action used on counts "4 and" is described in the Cha Cha Cha Chasse section.

Settling - The body weight is settled over a straight standing leg which commences the hip movement. (Used to commence movement of the body weight).

Lateral - The hips move to left or right with minimal rotation (As step 2 of chasse to Left or Right).

Rotational - The hips rotate around the vertical line of the spinal column. (Occurs in varying degrees throughout).

Twisting - An action where the turn commences in the hips only. (Example Lady's Hip Twists).

Rhythmical Expression:

Musical expression is achieved by varying the speed of the body weight change. The time taken for the weight change may differ, depending on how many beats of music are used. Normally a 1/2 beat of music is taken to achieve the desired foot position, and the "settling" of weight is completed over the remaining 1./2 or 1 1/2 beats.

Although the first step of each figure is taken on the second beat of music (count 2) the dance is commenced with the hips already moving on a preceding beats 4 1. This is normally achieved by taking a preliminary step to the side or by changing the weight to the opposite foot on beats 4 1.

Forward Walks:

First commence, for example, with RF forward , LF held back with pressure on the inside edge of the toe. Then using the "settling" hip movement commence to move body weight forward. Move LF forward with the knee slightly flexed, first onto the toe, then on the ball of the foot. Lower the heel and straighten the leg just before the extent of the stride. Release the right heel. With a smooth action take your weight over LF at a rate depending on the beat value of the step. Allow RF to turn out, completing the rotation of the hip movement. Retain tone in the right leg with pressure on the inside edge of the tow. Both legs should now be straight. Continue with a RF walk in the same manner. Because of the turn out of the RF the toe will end in line with the heel of the LF.

When a forward walk is followed by a weight transference back the following differences occur (example, step 1 of Man's Closed Basic Movement). The toe of the front foot is turned out and the body is not committed to continue to move forward after the step is placed. The back knee will flex and veer towards the front knee causing no turn out of the back foot. End with pressure on the ball of the back foot.

Backward Walks:

First commence, for example, with LF back, RF held forward with heel released and pressure on toe and both legs straight. Using the "settling" hip movement commence to move RF back on the ball of the foot, knee slightly flexed, until it passes under the body then extend back to the toe. With a smooth action take weight over RF. Straighten the right knee. Lower right heel, at a rate depending on the beat value of the step. A natural turn out of RF occurs, completing the "rotational" hip action. During the weight change release left heel without bending the knee, allowing a slight straightening of the LF. Retain tone in the left leg, with pressure on the left toe. Both legs should now be straight. Continue with a LF walk in the same manner. Because of the turn out of the RF the toe will end in line with the heel of the LF.

Pressed Forward Walk:

Place foot forward on the ball of the foot with part weight, small step. Keep the knee flexed. Take full weight onto the foot, lowering the heel and straightening the knee during the last 1/2 beat of music (example, third step of Lady's Closed Hip Twist).



Pressed Backward Walk:

Place the foot back on the ball of the foot with part weight. The knee stays flexed. Take full weight onto the foot, lowering the heel and straightening the knee during the last 1/2 beat of music (example, Cuban Cross position on step one of the Man's Natural Top).

Extended Forward Walk:

Point the foot forward with slight pressure on the outside edge of the toe. Keep the knee straight. Transfer weight onto the foot, lowering the heel during the last 1/2 beat of music (example, step 4 of Lady's Alemana when alternative method is used).

Turn Out:

There is a natural turn out of the foot on backward and side steps. The amount of turn out will be approximately 1/16th to 1/8t depending on the dancer's own physique. This turn out also occurs on a forward step when the forward movement is checked and followed by a weight change to the back foot, for example step 1 of Closed Basic Movement. On other forward steps the tracking of the moving foot is straighter, and as the weight is taken onto the front foot the back foot is allowed to turn out naturally.


The leads can be divided into four categories as follows:

Weight changes - Lady will follow the Man's change of weight.

Physical - Man conveys the lead by increasing the tone in his arm(s) resulting in pressure felt through the hands. Lady responds with matching tone and will continue to move in the direction indicated, until the Man's hand restricts her movement, then she will turn to a different direction.

Shaping - Man conveys the position required by "shaping" his body and arms. For example, on steps 4-6 of an Alemana, the Lady accepts the direction of movement indicated by the Man's left hand. Man must ensure that the Lady's right hand is over her own right shoulder, above head level, so that her balance remains undisturbed. He will then circle his hand in a clockwise direction when turning the Lady to the right and in an anti-clockwise direction when turning the Lady to her left.

Visual - When dancing without hold Lady may copy the Man's steps.

Rumba Closed Syllabus


1. Basic Movements (Closed, Open, & In Place)

2. New York

3. Cucarachas (LF and RF)

4. Shoulder to Shoulder

5. Hand to Hand

6. Progressive Walks Forward or Back

7. Side Steps (LF and RF)

8. Cuban Rocks

9. Spot Turns Left and Right


1. Fan

2. Alemana

3. Hockey Stick

4. Natural Top

5. Opening Out to Right and Left

6. Natural Opening Out Movement

7. Closed Hip Twist


1. Open Hip Twist

2. Reverse Top

3. Opening Out from Reverse Top

4. Aida

5. Spiral Turns (Spiral, Curl, & Rope Spinning)


1. Sliding Doors

2. Fencing

3. Three Threes

4. Three Alemana

5. Hip Twists (Advanced, Continuous and Circular)


Bronze Class Choreography

1. Cucaracha LF & RF (2341, 2341)

2. Closed Basic 1/4 Turn L (2341, 2341)

3. New York LSP (2341)

4. Hand to Hand LSP (2341)

5. Hand to Hand RSP (2341)

6. Progressive Walks Forward in RSP (2341, 2341)

7. RF Cuban Rock (2341)

8. Spot Turn R (2341)

9. Under Arm Turn (2341)

10. Closed Hip Twist (2341)

11. 4-6 Fan (2341)

12. Hockey Stick (2341, 2341)

13. Shoulder to Shoulder x2 (2341, 2341)

14. Side Steps RF (2341, 2341, 2341)

15. Cucaracha RF (2341)

16. Fan (2341, 2341)

17. Alemana (2341, 2341)

18. Opening Outs to Right then Left (2341, 2341)

19. Closed Hip Twist (2341)

20. Open Basic (2341)

21. Progressive Walks Back (2341, 2341)

22. Natural Top (2341, 2341)

23. Natural Opening Out (2341, 2341)


Silver Class Choreography

1. Open Basic (Man starts back on 2) (234 hold 1)

2. Curl from Open Position into Fan Position (2341, 234 hold 1)

3. Hockey Stick (234 hold 1, 234 hold 1)

4. Cuban Rock Back; Man LF Back; Lady RF Fwd (234 hold 1)

5. Cuban Rock Back; Man RF Back; Lady LF Fwd (234 hold 1)

6. Cucaracha Man Left, Lady Right (2341)

7. Aida w/ending #2 - Double Spot Turn (234 hold 1) x3

8. Rope Spinning (&234 hold 1, 234 hold1)

9. Closed Hip Twist (2341)

10. Reverse Top (234 hold 1, 234 hold 1)

11. Opening Out from Reverse Top (234 hold 1)

12. Alemana (234 hold 1, 234 hold 1)

13. Opening Outs from L to R (234 hold1)

14. Opening Outs from R to L (234 hold1)

15. Opening Outs from L to R (234 hold 1)

16. Alemana with Open Finish (234 hold 1)

17. Open Hip Twist into Fan Position (234 hold 1, 234 hold 1)

18. Alemana (234 hold1)

19. Closed Spiral (234 hold 1)

20. Reverse Top (234 hold 1, 234 hold 1)

21. Spiral into Aida and w/ending #2 - Cuban Rock Fwd with Spot Turn (& 234 hold 1, 234 hold 1)

22. Hand to Hand in RSP (234 hold 1)

23. Progressive Walks in RSP (234 hold 1, 234 hold 1)

24. Hand to Hand in LSP (234 hold 1)

25. Under Arm Turn to the Lady's Left (234 hold 1)

26. Open Basic (234 hold 1)



Rumba Choreography Demonstrations

Silver Rumba:



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