rumba dance pose

Salsa and Rumba The Amazing Connection

couple dance salsa using rumba moves

Discover the strong connection between salsa and rumba with this easy-to-follow guide on salsa history. Along the way you will also discover that the best way for you to learn salsa is to go back to rumba. 

1. What is Rumba? 

When we talk about salsa, the term rumba referred to the popular Afro-Cuban dance style of Cuba. However, for many foreigners, rumba is confined to the ballroom style performed by dancers with long pant, shinny skirts and slick hair style. In fact this dance created by the black/mulato community in the late 19th century. When the Cuban revolution happened, the government gave this dance a strong push by making it the flagship of traditional Cuban dances. 

■ Types of rumba

There are 3 major types of rumba dances: Yambu, Guaguanco, and Columbia. In the first two types a man chases a woman using his dancing skills. Seduction is the key in Yambu where the rhythm is slower than Guaguanco. In the later, the male tries to ”vaccinate” the lady using multiple strikes that he disguises beneath his dance skills. In both dance styles the partners match each other’s steps using different parts of their body.
As for Columbia, it’s involves a number of male soloists. They dance one after the other trying to display better skills than the previous dancer.

Head over my posts on the most popular cuban dances to see how each of these styles is performed and the connection between salsa and rumba.

1.1. Is Rumba a salsa?

If you ask yourself such a question, chances are you have heard the name rumba when you or your teacher executed a salsa move. Most people don’t know it, but this dance is one of the predecessors of salsa and is an integral part of it. Salsa (especially the cuban style called casino) is made of different ballroom dances such as Son, Chachacha; as well as Afro-Cuban dances such as Rumba or Chango. In my 5 level training videos, you will discover why you need to listen to rumba if you want to see results in your salsa training. In fact, I advise any salsa dancers to find the beat using rumba dances and songs. Indeed, there are two advantages with Rumba: You can hear the clave clearly (which is the key instrument salsa dancers dance on). Moreover, you can apply salsa moves into rumba dances, which is a great way to teach you how to dance to the rhythm.  

2. Where do salsa and rumba come from?

Salsa itself was created in New York in the 1960’s following the migration of talented Latin American musicians. Pioneers like Eddie Torres brought a studio style to the dance, so that dancers could have a code between each other. He developed the system called “on 2” which basically means that the dancer breaks on the second note of a basic salsa step. 
However, most of the dance moves that influenced New York salsa emanated from Cuba with dance styles such as Son, Mambo, Chachacha, Rumba and others. 

2.1. Connection Salsa and Rumba

The influence of rumba on salsa is more heavily felt on the dance style people refer to as Cuban salsa. Cuban salsa dancers use a variation of dance technique depending on what music they listen to. You might witness a male dancer breaking away, bend his knees, expand his torso and engage in a slow pace movement with his partner. You would have witnessed a typical rumba move. Unlike Son, Rumba is more physical and playful, and requires that both dancers to be in good physical conditions.

Cuban rumba dance

Simple dance move - both partners

■ Simple Rumba step you can use in Salsa

On the first note of a basic salsa step timing, you take a step on the side (shifting your weight on that lead leg). Then, you come back to centre on the count of 3. After this, you do the same movement in the opposite direction and go back on 7. In order to execute this move properly, bend your leg slightly and use your opposite shoulder as a counter balance to the moving leg.

3. Example of salsa and rumba fused together

4. Discover new, untapped materials

Learn Cuban Salsa, Bachata, Improv’ and many other dance styles. Check out these videos and see what you can achieve in less than 3 months. Private lessons available for just £35/Hour. Free body movement and basic salsa and bachata lessons provided.

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