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Rumba Technique Notes

In Place Switch Weight

  • 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, that side more compressed, which will cause the other side/chest more forward
    • body is more stretched diagonally, counter balanced
    • 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.


Arms: arm is out on the side that has the leg straight. Straight leg side with straight out arm.
Example: start with weight on LF. L arm out, R arm/hand in front.
  • 2: weight to RF, both feet heel down, do not lift heel. R arm to side.
  • 3: weight to LF, both feet heel down, do not lift heel. L arm out to side.
  • 4 1: 
    • 4: weight fully to RF, left foot press ground more, heel lift up, rotate LF, left hip for more rotation
    • 1: LF pulled in together with RF, and switch hip very sharp, fast, do not shoot RF out, have a distinct position where knees switched feet are still together, really stretch the upper body (see In Place Switch Weight)
    • At end, finish with R arm to R out.
  • 2: weight back to LF, repeat.
2341: arm switches 3 times, 

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.

Rumba Walk

Example: start with LF front, RF back, split weight
  • 2 feet are on 2 lines, do not swivel on one foot and step cross lines. Maintain 2 lines.
  • Feet are turned out, but not too much turn out
  • Long neck, look forward. 
  • Weight onto front LF, RF push floor, rotate RF and R hip, there is still pressure on R toe, to keep more balanced. R hip high. Finish the R feet, R heel down. pushing upper thigh/hip forward for pendulum action. (which goes with heel down, finishing the feet)
  • Hip pendulum action, L hip high, full weight on LF before twisting L hip to left, for bigger movement, use upper leg back muscle push forward.
  • When hip is neutral, stepping R foot forward. (Keep shoulder flat, think leg forward is relative to shoulder, not relative to rotated L hip.) stretch upper body, dancing body diagonally. Always dance body first, then strike RF under shoulder. Keep upper body calm. (When practicing, keep arm forward, it will keep help keep shoulder flat.)
  • Smooth the hip movement (hip diagonally forward and around), not choppy, when bringing back leg in and switch hip. But when placing foot forward, that needs to be sharp.

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. 
  • Delayed 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), creates dynamic, while prepping L leg extend back
    • 4: delayed back walk, L leg extend back and hold
    • 1&: on &, quick step and immediately followed by 2. Example:  Going into Open Hip twist next:
  • Open Hip Twist: 
    • 2: RF back, make sure to fully settle on R hip, rotate R hip more, tension with Man in R hand. Really settle into R hip, not afraid to take center backR side compression, R shoulder down.
    • 3&: (delay), (LF)4: fast, RF fwd to Man, then turn to R on 1: Again, settle R side, R arm/elbow slightly out. Center back. Compress.
    • 2 3: Lady walk into her own arm. Thighs tight, collect center. &: turn 180 to left, into Man's hand with tension first before stepping LF back to Fan position.
    • 4 1: LF back into Fan position.
  • Hockey Stick:
    • 2: really settle right side.
    • 3&: delay, 4: RF fwd quick into Man's arm
    • 2 3&: turn on &: thighs tight together, compact, quick turn (start with shoulder turn first), after turning, body fwd, into Man.
    • 41: delayed walk back.
Keep thighs tight, butt muscle and center strong, especially when there are fast turns.