Ballroom Dances‎ > ‎International Style‎ > ‎Rumba‎ > ‎

Basic Movements

These are Newcomer Level figures. This online reference gives a detailed description of dance steps, including timing, and movement; a list of figures that may precede or follow the pattern; and videos providing instruction and demonstration of the figure, techniques and practice routines that include it.

Rumba Closed Basic Movements

Closed Position. Think of it as walking a "+" sign.
Turn: No Turn, 1/8 to 1/4 turn are allowed. 1/8 Turn is described below.

Leader

Step Timing Movement
Turn Notes
1 2
LF fwd

body lift up, Check/settle on "a". Check before switching direction, as late as possible.
2 3
Transfer weight on RF
1/8 to L over 2-3
on "a", collect LF to closer to RF before stepping to side.
3 4 1
LF to side and slightly back

hold on 4 1, rotating hips, on "a", collect RF, step back.
4 2 RF back


5 3 Transfer weight to LF
1/8 to L over 5-6

6 4 1
RF to side


Follower

Step Timing Movement
Turn Notes
1 2
RF back

In closed hold, squeeze opposite side of shoulder blade, diagonally toward the settling hip.
This is backward action, so contract left side laterally, RF back (RF goes through demi-pointe, flat to receive weight. See Latin Technique for more description.
Then, twist right side to cause LF to move forward, pendulum hip action diagonally. (Don't take hip all the way back too early. The twisting is causing opposite foot to move fwd.)
2 3
Transfer weight on LF
1/8 to L over 2-3
Continue pendulum action forward. L hip high, then twist, simultaneously RF to side.
3 4 1
RF to side

some coach says this would be "side and slightly forward, not directly to the side". Feel the energy in upper body.
Hip pendulum diagonally forward to R.
Transfer weight to RF. Twist right side to cause LF fwd.
4
2 LF fwd

Sharp, quick foot movement on previous "&". This is Forward Checked Walk.
Hip pendulum diagonally forward to left. Split weight with flat foot, then
On &, allow hip to "finish" (Finish all the way with spine over the foot), then twisting to neutral position. Twisting causes R leg knee checking action, with R knee goes to the spot. RF 90 degree arch.
5 3 Transfer weight to RF
1/8 to L over 5-6
RF ball flat.
Hip is laterally to right. Then twist to move LF to side
6 4 1
LF to side and slightly back

R side twist to move L leg to side. L hip will be pendulum diagonally fwd (yes, fwd, because it's a side step.)
Compress into left side, at the same time, RF start moving back (continuing with closed basic.)
  • One should feel a continuous figure 8 action all the time.
  • Closed Basic Movement may end with taking step 6 in Open CPP, Man turning 1/8 R, Lady 1/8 L, Man release R hand hold.
  • Silver & Gold: Turn 3/8 to L over 4-6 to get to Contact Position.
    • step 3: RF side and slightly fwd. Lady LF behind RF as Cuban Cross.
    • Follow with 4-6 or 4-9 of Reverse Top.

Rumba Open Basic Movements

  • May be danced in Closed or Open Position.
  • Normal hold, L to R hand hold, No hold.
  • Thinking of walking "|" straight vertical line.
  • Man: step 3 is LF back. Step 6: is RF fwd. Lady: opposite.
  • In Open hold, squeeze the same side shoulder blade.

Basic In Place

  • 3 steps are danced in place with feet together.
  • Closed Position, No Turn.
  • This can be danced in place of Closed Basic Movements.

Alternative Basic

  • Closed Position, start with feet apart.
  • Normal hold, L to R hand hold, no hold.
  • Think of walking "--" horizontal line.
  • This can be danced in place of Closed Basic Movements.
  • LF Alternative Basic Movement may end in Open PP, Man turning 1/8 L and Lady 1/8 R on 3. Likewise, RF Alternative Basic may end in Open CPP.

Leader

Step Timing Movement
Turn Notes
1 2
LF closes to RF
--
This is LF Alternative Basic Movement.
2 3
Transfer weight on RF


3 4 1
LF to side


4 2 RF closes to LF

This is RF Alternative Basic Movement.
5 3 Transfer weight to LF


6 4 1
RF to side


Follower

Step Timing Movement
Turn Notes
1 2
RF closes to LF
--
This is LF Alternative Basic Movement.
Lady could do normal basic action, allowing body to move back more (pushing LF, try not to think about pulling center or foot back), allow R arm to extend.
Still need to have forward energy toward partner.
Create more separation from partner.
2 3
Transfer weight on LF


3 4 1
RF to side


4
2 LF closes to RF

This is RF Alternative Basic Movement.
5 3 Transfer weight to RF


6 4 1
LF to side



Silver & Gold:
  • may dance this figure as: (may start with the other foot).
    1. count 2: close LF to RF without weight but with pressure.  slight hip action
    2. count 3: hold position with weight on RF. Footwork: flat. Slight hip action.
    3. count 4 1: then LF side.
  • Man may dance LF Alternative Basic in place of first 3 steps of any figure commenced in Open Position or Fan position, while leading Lady to dance her normal first 3 steps of figure selected.
    • when commenced in Fan position, step 3 will be very small to keep correct positon in relation to Lady.
  • When Man dances a LF Alternative Basic from Open Position as precede to Natural Top, he turns slightly R on step 3.
    • Lady will dance "close fwd fwd" (RF LF RF)

Videos