Rumba, also known as the “ballroom-rumba”, is one dance which is common in social dance and in international competitions. Of the five competitive International Latin dances, it is the slowest: the Cha Cha, the Jive, the Paso Doble, and the Samba being the others. This ballroom Rumba was derived from the the Bolero-Son, a Cuban rhythm and dance; during the pre-revolutionary period, the international style was popularized by the descendants of African slaves of Cuba and derived from studies of dance in Cuba. Its tantalizing rhythm first came to dancers of the United Sates in the early 1930s, and has remained one of the most popular social dances. The Rumba is characterized by a heavy walking step and a smooth, subtle hip motion.
Three styles of Rumba were introduced to the United States, the Bolero-Rumba, the Son-Rumba and the Guaracha-Rumba. Only the Bolero-Rumba (shortened to Bolero) and the Son-Rumba (shortened to Rumba) have remained as popular dances over time. The Guaracha-Rumba faded in popular demand when the more exciting Mambo was learned by Americans in the late 1940s.
The Rumba steps are a compact dance, danced in place. The Rumba is not danced with the same body contact that is used in smooth-style dances. However, there may be times when the partnership looks and feels more attractive when a closer contact is felt. The hips moving in a smooth and subtle movement is characteristic of the Rumba.