The Rumba, which began with the African slaves of Cuba more than 400 years ago, is that tantalizing rhythm that first invaded the US in the early 30's, and remained one of our most popular social dances. The earliest form of the Rumba was an expressive pantomime danced by natives under the spell of elemental music. Our social Rumba is, of course, a far cry from these fascinating native demonstrations. Danced properly, the Rumba is a delightful favorite, characterized by a smooth, subtle hip motion and a rather heavy walking step. Of the three styles of Rumba introduced to the US, the Bolero-Rumba, the Son-Rumba and the Guaracha-Rumba, only the Bolero-Rumba (shortened to Bolero) and the Son-Rumba (shortened to Rumba), have survived the test of time. The Guaracha-Rumba quickly faded from vogue when the more exciting Mambo was introduced to Americans in the late 40's.
The (American) style Rumba music is written in 4/4 time and should be played at a tempo of 34-36 Measures per minute for examinations and competitions. The following rhythms are accepted: Q, Q, S - Q, Q, S OR S, Q, Q - S, Q, Q.
The Rumba is a spot dance -- not moving along the Line of Dance. Steps are quite compact, with the feet usually no more than 12 inches apart. Latin hip movement is used throughout the Rumba, unless otherwise indicated. A smooth, subtle hip movement is characteristic of the Rumba.
* As quoted by the Fred Astaire Dance Studios.