Rumba (or “ballroom-rumba”), is one of the ballroom dances which occurs in social dance and in international competitions. It is the slowest of the five competitive International Latin dances: the Paso Doble, the Samba, the Cha Cha, and the Jive being the others. This ballroom Rumba was derived from a Cuban rhythm and dance called the Bolero-Son; the international style was derived from studies of dance in Cuba in the pre-revolutionary period which was then popularized by the descendents of African slaves of Cuba. Its tantalizing rhythm first invaded the United Sates in the early 1930s, and has remained one of the most popular social dances. The Rumba is characterized by a smooth, subtle hip motion and a heavy walking step.
Of the three styles of Rumba that 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 survived the test of time. The Guaracha-Rumba quickly faded in popularity when the more exciting Mambo was introduced to Americans in the late 1940s.
The Rumba is danced in place as the steps are quite compact. Although the Rumba is not danced with the same body contact that is used in smooth-style dances, there may be times when partnership looks and feels more attractive when a closer contact is felt. A smooth and subtle movement of the hips is characteristic of the Rumba.