International Latin Technique/Rumba
Rumba is often danced as a "cha cha without the cha chas", and whilst this may appear correct, there are major differences, largely in the presentation of the dance. It is known as the dance of love, danced to sexy, sultry 4/4 music at a tempo of 26/27 measures per minute (105 bpm).
History and story of the dance
The Rumba originated in Cuba, and tells the story of a man and a woman in love, or more aptly, lust. The man pursues the woman, flirting with her, and she flirts back, but ultimately she rejects him and casts him away.
Mood of the dance
This is the dance with the most sexual tension, and movements should convey this. It can either be danced with the couple in lust or love, but lust tends to appear more in competition. Eye contact is essential to convey the story.
General Technique Tips
In general, basic technique for Rumba is the same as that for the Cha Cha. Please refer to that page for a basic knowledge. Differences are pointed out below.
As the music for a rumba has a slower tempo, steps can afford to be fractionally bigger than in Cha cha, for dramatic effect. This should not be overdone, as it can still lead to a dancer chasing the music, but looks effective if correctly achieved.
There is also time for side steps to be developed more. Instead of taking a side step directly onto the ball of the foot, there is sufficient time to roll onto this from the inside edge of it, creating a softer, more sensual dance.
Again, legs are kept straight as much as possible throughout this dance. Tone in the leg, and a pointed foot are what create the sexuality of this dance from the waist down, and this is particularly important with the side step mentioned above. If the tone is not maintained, it can look as though the foot has become sprained, and this is unattractive.
Hips should be softer in Rumba than in Cha Cha. The slower music allows more time for development and hence a woman's hips can be more flowery.
Rumba is less staccato than Cha Cha Cha, but movements are often delayed by more advanced dancers, such as the forward step on a basic. Weight is often not transferred until as late as possible before this step is taken, and so much of the dance is spent on the supporting leg. This is however the accepted advanced technique, and does look impressive.