The word “Rumba” is a generic term, covegring a variety of names for a type of West Indian music and dance (i.e., Son, Danzon, and Bolero). Although the main growth was in Cuba, there were similar dance developments that took place in other Caribbean islands and in Latin America generally. Traditionally, the music was played with a staccato beat using instruments including the maracas, claves, marimba, guiro, and bongo or timbales drums. The native Rumba folk dance is very sexual and danced extremely fast with exaggerated hip movements.
Today’s Rumba is danced very slowly and has romantic, flirtatious overtones. The American style version is done in a “Box” pattern to a “Slow Quick Quick” timing. It is a spot dance like most of the Latin dances, which means that it does not travel around the room.In the Ballrooms we call it either the “Dance of Love” (because you stare into each others eyes as you dance) or “The Ladies’ Dance” (because is shows off women to advantage). Many modern Pop, Soul and Latin love songs are ideal for Rumbas.