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Rumba Technique

Rumba Technique

See Latin Technique for basic Latin actions and technique.  Rumba and Cha Cha Cha have a lot of similarities, the music for Rumba is slower giving it more time for hip actions.

Basic In Place (Switch Weight In Place)

  • Heels together. Feet slightly turned out. Bent knee drapes over the other straight leg, inside edge of foot.
  • Hip twists around spine, more
  • Dance upper body: spine weight more forward 
    • standing leg side: hip twists to maximum, around spine, side is compressed, shoulder down, which will cause the other side/chest more forward
    • body is more stretched diagonally, counter balanced. Stretch longer, stealing time, making switching appear faster.
    • shoulders are connected with chest/side, but try not to turn the shoulders while twisting (use counter balance).
  • Switch knees: fast, no intermediate stop in middle with both knees are bent. Very fast switch.
  • Look forward.


Starting position: start with weight on LF. Heels together, IE of RF. Nice draped knee line. L arm out, R arm/hand in front.

Arm is out on the side that has the leg straight. Straight leg side with straight arm out. In "2341", arm switches 3 times.

These are traditionally executed with both heels remaining on floor, it is now often seen in competitions, and acceptable, to create the line with the free foot. (Lift heel of the foot without weight, pressing with IEB for greater extension.)
    • 2: step RF step to side, do not need to be big step, just under shoulder, weight to RF. Fast feet. But keep arms soft.
      • RF placement should be sharp, land on whole foot (not toe first and then roll to heel, just whole foot). Feet is the beat.
        • When first landing on 2: R hip is still diagonal fwd, R chest fwd, but with R elbow bend and back (counter chest). elbow react, chest/elbow has the counter motion all the time. Create and keep volume.
        • There is no hip displacement, spine moves with RF (not 100% on RF)
      • Then continue with very smooth movement of arm and body.  Do not dance arm sharp, arm and hands are soft.
      • When R hip goes back, squeeze R side, R shoulder/chest goes back, R arm go to side and then fwd. 
      • Both feet heel down, do not lift heel.
    • 3: weight to LF, dance smooth arm, &: R heel up, RF press to ground more, rotate RF, R hip for more rotation (RF is very turned out to R to almost parallel to board), R hip high in the back.  L arm out to side.
    • 4: RF pulled in together with LF, heel touching, L hip twist to back. Really squeeze L side. L shoulder down, R best projects forward. Everything rotate around spine. RF no weight, IE of foot. 
    • 1: switch hip, weight on RF
      • very sharp, fast knee weight, do not shoot LF out, have a distinct position where knees switched feet are still together, really stretch the upper body (see Switch Weight In Place) L knee draper over R leg. 
      • Really compress R side, R shoulder down.L chest forward.
      • At end, finish with R arm to R out. Breathe.
    • 2: weight back to LF, repeat.
    • Always squeeze the side of the standing leg. The other side chest forward.
    • Do not tense up, try to be soft in upper body. Body should look and feel more free to move.
    • Arms need to "finish" - don't cut arm actions short, finish with elbow, hand and fingers. Back muscle is very active. Don't think about shoulder as much, think about using back muscle.
    • Lead with the ribs: (only do this for greater effect after fundamentals are solid)
      • The hips on their own can't move very much. The ribs moving in opposition to the hips creates the appearance of much more action.
      • As you transfer weight, lead with the ribs, and as the hips come over, switch move the ribs the other way. 
      • The ribs are already moving to the right before "2".

    Starting Dance in Open Position

    From Lady's perspective:
    • Lady weight is on RF, LF point fwd. Make sure R arm is lower, at Lady's belly button level, not too high (receive/react Man's lead better). Arm/elbow is not rigidly held tightly on side, it should be slightly out, there is some space at armpit, but not too high either.
    • Delayed Back Walk:
      • 2: Lady fwd rock (or check)
      • 3: weight back on RF, make sure body weight is more forward toward Man at this time, pressure into hands, with tone (but not stiff, the strong connection comes from body settling weight, spine, not holding partner tighter or harder which will be stiff and heavy), creates dynamic, while prepping L leg extend back
      • 4: delayed back walk, Quick release L leg, L leg extend back and hold
      • 1&: on &, quick step and immediately followed by 2. Example:  Going into Open Hip twist next.

    Types of Rumba Walks

    Forward Walk

    This is the typical Rumba walk, e.g. Progressive Walks.

    See details in Latin Technique.

    Check Forward Walk

    Check Forward Walk is for changing the direction of movement, from going forward to going backward, e.g. Basic Movements

    Delayed Forward Walk (Extended Forward Walk)

    Delayed Forward Walk has a delay in putting weight on the foot. It will start with pointing the leg, keep the straight line and move spine, transfer weight at the very end "&a". E.g. Alemana and Spiral.

    Pressed Forward Walk

    Pressed Forward Walk is used in Advanced Hip Twist and Sliding Doors where one will press and hold on a bent knee on "41", on "&", you will step and then turn to continue forward in a different direction.

    Forward Walk Turn

    Forward Walk Turn is a turning step and is used to turn "inside" (the side of non-supporting foot) 180 degrees. E.g.  Alemana and Spot Turns.

    Backward Walk

    This is the typical Rumba Backward Walk in figures like Basic Movements (Open Bsic) and  Progressive Walks. Be careful to keep weight forward and not fall backward.

    Delayed Backward Walk (Extended Backward Walk)

    In Delayed Backward Walk, typically the Lady points her LF back on "41", but delays moving spine back, the distance between partners will shorten, allowing more compression in connection, then Lady moves on "&a". 

    Pressed Backward Walk

    Pressed Backward Walk is used in Natural Top (for Man) or Reverse Top (for Lady), where one foot crosses behind the other foot (Latin Cross).

    Backward Walk Turn

    Backward Walk Turn is used in Basic Movements  (Closed Basic) when it is turned. It is a side step slightly back, after turning it ends to the side.


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