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Duet Dance Studio

2412 W North Ave., #201, Chicago, IL 60647

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2412 West North Avenue, Suite 201
Chicago, IL, 60647
United States


Duet Dance Studio Chicago offers ballroom dance lessons and wedding dance classes. We teach salsa, swing, tango and waltz dance lessons. Privately and in groups, for adults and kids.

What is Rumba and How to Dance the Rumba Basic


Get useful tips on ballroom dancing and wedding dance preparation and watch tutorial videos created by Szewai Lee, founder of Duet Dance Studio.

What is Rumba and How to Dance the Rumba Basic

Szewai Lee

“Rumbrear”. Definition: A Spanish verb meaning to go to parties, having fun and dancing. Sound familiar? This is how the dance style, rumba, got it’s name. Today rumba is a fun, sassy latin-style of ballroom dance that fits nicely with most modern types of music. In this blog we will take a quick glance at the history of rumba and even learn some of the basic steps and nuances of this smooth and sassy latin style of dance.

Rumba History

Quite simply, Rumba was born all over the West Indies and but really grew up in Cuba. Several styles developed on different islands that include Son, Danzon, Guagira, Guaracha, Naningo. Aside from the latin influence of Spanish culture, African folk dances played a huge role in creating the rumba, with the ladies dancing with a defensive attitude towards their male partners. American Rumba was modified from a popular Cuban “Bolero-Son” dance, incorporating small steps of the dancers and the hip movements as a result of the bending knees. Because of the movie industry, rumba became even more well-known during the 1930’s. It began to represent the essence of Latin American dance through its romantic subtleties and rhythmic body motions.

Rumba Characteristics

The dancers of rumba usually embody a sassy, smooth, and sensual demeanor. The moveset is very particular in the details but the most important feature is keeping a connection with your partner. The toes should be at a slight diagonal to allow us to achieve our favorite hip movement, Cuban motion, just like in Salsa. Fun fact, rumba is the slowest of the competitive international latin styles!

Rumba Music

The music in rumba is usually in an even 4/4 time signature.Traditionally, Cuban rumba music is used with strong percussions and a smooth, steady beat. Luckily, the rhythm in rumba is very widespread in today’s pop music and it is fairly easy to find a contemporary pop song without latin beats that would work nicely for dancing the rumba. This makes rumba highly versatile and super fun to learn and dance!

Rumba Steps

The basic rhythm in rumba is slow-quick-quick, with the first step taking 2 beats and the last two steps each taking one beat. It is done as a box step, just like waltz! However, that’s where the similarity ends. Since rumba is a latin style, the hips are active and always moving in “cuban motion”. It also borrows some of our favorite steps from salsa such as cross-body leads and shoulder checks.

Rumba Dance Hold

The arms are held in a traditional frame position to connect the two dancers in rumba. However, similar to other latin styles, the leader’s left arm is held at a 90 degree angle to the floor. This creates a tighter frame between the dancers and adds a pinch of intimate flavor to the dancing.

How To Do The Rumba Basic

Learn how to do the rumba box step in this video!

What is your favorite ballroom dance style? Please share with us. Wanna learn how to dance?

The Duet Team is a group of friendly dancers who are passionate about helping people and sharing the joy of ballroom dance. And we love to make new friends and have fun at work! Duet Dance Studio is located in Chicago West Bucktown. We offer ballroom dance lessonswedding dance instruction and private dance parties. Online Wedding Dance Lessons and Skype dance lessons are also available! Dances we teach include Salsa, Swing, Tango, Bachata, Merengue, Waltz and Foxtrot. Sign up for an introductory dance lesson now to get started!