Rumba is another simple Latin dance. You can actually dance the rumba to a lot of different music. Well, originally rumba is danced to Latin music but nowadays you can use the same steps to dance to a lot of other popular songs have the same rhythm and tempo as the original songs. Again, you should practice the steps described here and then try them with a partner. If you have a partner who can lead then you can learn from him or her too.
Learn How to Position the Body
This dance, just like the other dances we have discussed takes on the closed position. One of the first things that you should know is how to properly hold your frame. Clasp hands with your partner but make sure that your elbow maintains a 90-degree angle. Remember that the leader will be raising his left arm.
He will hold the follower’s right hand with his left hand. As the leader, you should keep your elbow close to the follower’s elbow. It would be as if your elbows are touching but please come some distance to make it easier to execute the steps.
Place your other arm around your partner and rest your right hand behind your partner’s left shoulder. The follower will put his or her left hand behind the right shoulder of the dance leader. Remember to keep your arm straight and keep it close to your partner’s arm.
The starting position of your feet will be close together with the feet positioned side by side. As you perform the steps of the rumba you will be moving your feet to the side and then you will be moving them back together again. Remember to keep your foot movements tight.
Maintain Your Posture
To facilitate this movement you should keep your body centered. Put the weight of your body at the balls of your feet. Remember that the foot movements in rumba will require you to make quick movements. Never lean forward or backward – keep yourself balanced and you will be able to perform the steps in this dance easily.
Maintain Eye Contact
It is important to maintain eye contact with your partner as you dance the rumba. This is the best way that you can stay in sync with one another. Beginners often make the mistake of watching their feet as they execute the steps. This will break your balanced posture and will make things more difficult for you.
You will also tend to lose rhythm if you do so. So, what if you and your partner have varying height? Well, you should work together to deal with the height difference. The taller partner should tilt his or her head down slightly and the shorter one should tilt his or her head up slightly.
Taking the Lead
The man traditionally leads the steps in rumba, so we’ll just go with that. But of course, you can stick to this tradition or not, it’s up to you. Who says women can’t lead the dance?
Steps for the leader
1. Using your left foot, you should first take a step forward. You should slide your foot gently and not stomp it on the dance floor. There is no need to lift your foot. You will be counting two beats when you take this forward step. Remember to keep things light and make sure to stay on the ball of your left foot.
This serves as count 1 and 2, which is the equivalent of the first step and the fourth step. Count 3 is for the second step and the fifth step. Count 4 is for the third step and the sixth step. The counting pattern is slow-quick-quick. Note that the follower will be mirroring the steps of the dance leader.
2. With the right foot, step away from the starting position at a 45 degree angle. This is a sideward movement. After making this step your feet should be about shoulder width apart. Don’t make really big steps. Your feet should also end up in line from the left foot to the right foot.
This step takes one beat or one count but the next step will follow quickly (the quick count). Make sure to keep your toes pointing downward when you put your feet down.
3. Slide the left foot moving it right next to the right foot. This will close the gap between both feet. This is a quick step, remember, even though it will last one beat of music. Note that when you finish this step that your feet should be almost touching. Center your body weight on both of your feet.
Don’t slide your foot when you bring it closer. You should lift it ever so slightly which will facilitate a faster movement. If you slide your foot it will slow down your movement. Make sure to make any minor adjustments as you enter the second phase of the dance steps in the rumba.
4. Step backward with your right foot. Make this step slowly. Make sure to keep it in line to your foot’s original position. Since this step should last two beats you should first plant the ball of your foot (first count for this step) and then you should lower the heel to the floor (second count for this step).
Note that the next step is a quick step and it will follow right after making this step. Make sure to stay balanced as you transition to the next step.
5. This next step lasts for one beat. Slide your left foot diagonally placing it back to where it started. This should be a quick step. Make sure that you end up with your feet at shoulder width apart. Now, here’s a tip: shift your weight slightly to the left which will prepare you to make the next step.
6. Finally, you should put your feet back together together again closing the gap in between. This should be another quick step and it will last only 1 beat. Keep your weight centered on both feet. It should have taken you a total of 8 beats to perform all of these steps.
Steps for the Follower
Note that you should follow the same footwork techniques described earlier since the follower will just be mirroring the steps taken by the leader.
1. With the right foot take a step back – do it slowly.
2. Take a quick diagonal step with the left foot.
3. Slide the right foot and position it quickly next to the left foot.
4. Move the left foot forward – do it slowly.
5. Take another quick step but this time with the right foot. Make sure to maintain an 45 degree angle.
6. Finally, slide your left foot moving it right next to the right foot.
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