Ballroom Dancing – Components of the Rumba

    Published: 06-16-2009
    Views: 52,790
    Professional dance instructor Terry Dean demonstrates the components of the Rumba.

    Terry Dean

    Terry is the owner and principal male dance instructor of Terry Dean’s Dance Studio, in Charlottesville, Virginia. He has been teaching ballroom dancing for 30 years and opened his own successful studio following a 19 year career with Arthur Murray Dance Studios. Terry has received accolades for his choreography and has been honored as Virginia State’s Top Studio and Top Teacher twice. He and his staff teach students of all levels, whether they are interested in social dancing, exhibition dancing, or competitive ballroom dance sport. He has led many of his students to win top level gold medal competitions, and he is pleased to share his expertise with you today.

    Terry Dean: Hi! I am Terry Dean from Terry Deans Dance Studio. We are teaching you the Rumba. Right now, I am going to be going over the basic components of the rumba and the different things that you are going to need in order to be able to do a very nice rumba.

    Basically, we are going to have walking steps and side steps, which are just forward and back. When the man goes forward; the lady goes backwards and vice versa. Man goes sideways, the lady goes sideways, so we are going together. I go forward, she goes back. I go back, she comes forward. I go side, se goes side and I go to the other side, and she comes with me.

    Now, in the rhythm dances, we walk a little bit differently. What we are going to do, is we are going to try to have this what we call Cuban Motion. In order to do that, we have to make sure that when we walk, we walk on the balls of our feet. So, when I touch the ball of my foot it makes my knee bend, so that when I switch, I can work my hips and my upper body. So, its the ball of the foot and then a switch. Ball of the foot and switch, so I first move my foot then I move my body, my foot and then my body, as opposed to moving your body and your foot all at the same time. So, its very important and this is one of the trickier things to get, but if you slow down the tape and do it, you will go nice and easy body and foot, foot then body. Same thing backwards, side, side.

    Now, one of the most important things when you are learning Cuban Motion is to learn practice body isolations. Body isolations are just taking the different parts of your body and moving them independently of the other.

    So, the first action we are going to do, is we are going to do hip isolations. So, the best way to do this is to kind of bend your knees and then we are going to take out the rest of the body and just move the hips independently. So, we are going to do the hip to the left and then back to the center. Always know where center is and to the right and back to the center.

    So goes, hip, center, hip, center. Then we are going to do forward, forward, center, back, center. Then you are going to do like a clock exercise; forward, center. Then take your right hip to 1 oclock and then back to center, then to 2 oclock, back to center, 3 oclock, back to center, 4 oclock, back to center, 5 oclock, back to center, 6 oclock, center, 7, center, 8, center, 9, center, 10, center, 11, center, 12, center. This is simple exercise; but practice it. The most important thing is to get control over your hips because in the Latin dances, its all about body movement. So, you are going to really need to know how to move.

    Next thing you will do is ribcage isolations and they are going to be very much the same as the hips, but they work in opposition. So, your ribs go to the left, and then back to the center, the right and back to the center. Left, center, right, center, forward, center, back, center. Then the same clock exercise; 12 oclock, center, 1 oclock, center, 2 oclock, center, 3, center, 4, center, 5, center, 6, 7, 8, center, 9, ten, 11 and 12. These are exercises to practice so that you have dexterity to be able to do the Cuban Motion in the way you are going to be learning it. One of the things to remember that, whenever my hips go one way, my ribs go the opposite way, so I am going opposite direction. Hips go one way, ribs go the other way; boom, boom. So, we are constantly moving our body in all of the rhythm dancers. These are the basic components, but if you learn them, they are little tricky in the beginning, but If you learn how to move your body like this, the steps are very easy.

    So, next what we are going to do is the basic pattern in the rumba.