The first dance, as promised in this educational series, that I am going to learn about is the Rumba. Why? This dance was the first one that Lulu took my breath away performing back when she was just a Bronze I dancer. She had been dancing only two months when her instructor siad she was ready to perform in an exhibition called Winter White ball. The event was an all day, six hour, watch everyone perform kind of day. My heart was pounding the entire time (plus I was on call, so I was freaking out that I would be called out to see a patient and would miss her performance.) She was giddy, nervous, all smiles. This by no means was her first time dancing in front of a crowd. For six years prior she had been dancing, performing, and competing in jazz, ballet, tap, and musical theater. She tends to be one of thise kids who thrive on attention and loves the limelight. When she danced, my heart was racing and tears welled in my eyes. She had found her niche in the world of dance, and from that moment forward I have known this is what she is supposed to do.
The modern international style of dancing the rumba derives from studies made by dance teacher Monsieur Pierre (Pierre Zurcher-Margolle), who partnered Doris Lavelle. Pierre, then from London, visited Cuba in 1947, 1951 and 1953 to find out how and what Cubans were dancing at the time.
The international ballroom rumba is a slower dance of about 120 beats per minute which corresponds, both in music and in dance to what the Cubans of an older generation called the bolero–son. It is easy to see why, for ease of reference and for marketing, rumba is a better name, however inaccurate; it is the same kind of reason that led later on to the use of salsa as an overall term for popular music of Cuban origin.
All social dances in Cuba involve a hip-sway over the standing leg and, though this is scarcely noticeable in fast salsa, it is more pronounced in the slow ballroom rumba. In general, steps are kept compact and the dance is danced generally without any rise and fall. This style is authentic, as is the use of free arms in various figures. The basic figures derive from dance moves observed in Havana in the pre-revolutionary period, and have developed their own life since then. Competition figures are often complex, and this is where competition dance separates from social dance. Details can be obtained from the syllabi of dance teaching organizations and from standard texts.“
- ^ Imperial Society of Teachers of Dancing 2004. 100 years of dance: a history of the ISTD Examinations Board. London. p62
- ^ Julie McMain’s Glamour Addiction notes that Pierre Margolle’s professional name was Monsieur Pierre; he and his partner were commonly referred to as “Monsieur Pierre and Doris Lavelle”; therefore some writers have incorrectly assumed that Pierre’s last name was Lavelle.
- ^ Lavelle, Doris 1983. Latin & American dances. 3rd ed, Black, London. The introduction tells the story of Pierre’s visits to Cuba, but with inaccurate dates.
- ^ Laird, Walter 2003. The Laird Technique of Latin Dancing. International Dance Publications Ltd. p9, puts it like this (after taking a step to side) “Transfer full weight to this foot allowing the pelvis to move sideways and back so that the weight is felt to be near the heel of the standing foot. The knee of the supporting leg is locked back.” This description incidentally illustrates the difficulty of describing body movements in print.
- ^ bronze and silver medals of dance teaching organizations. (Medal examinations (dance))
- ^ Lavelle, Doris 1983. Latin & American dances. 3rd ed, Black, London.
- ^ Laird, Walter 2003. The Laird Technique of Latin Dancing. International Dance Publications Ltd.
- ^ McMains, Juliet E. 2006. Glamour addiction: inside the American ballroom dance industry.
Another site, “The Dance Store Online,” has some interesting information: “In Rumba, three steps are taken during each measure of music. In other words, three steps are taken to four beats of music. The steps are actually taken on beats 2, 3, and 4 of each measure and knee straightening, weight transfer, and turns are performed on the intervening half beats. No step is actually taken on count 1, but hip movement does occur on count 1. In American style Rumba, the step timing is sometimes counted quick, quick, slow; quick, quick, slow.
In International style Rumba, the step timing is counted 2,3,4-1, 2,3,4-1. Recall that stepping action only occurs on counts 2,3, and 4. Hip movement and spiral turning actions occur on count 1. Learning to count the music correctly is the first big hurdle for beginners. Students are seldom able to dance the Rumba correctly until they are able to count it correctly.”
The Rumba box is danced in America, but is nixed in thee international style. Lulu dances the box, which I think is so confusing. I am NOT a dancer… Any time I have attempted to learn a dance I have failed miserably. Maybe one day she will drag me out to the floor to learn more with her, but not today. That’s another peice of dance momma drama all together.
My first guest poster will be Lulu herself…she is a writer as well who has her own blog that highlights her favorite things: reading, dancing, living life to the fullest. Her assignment on my site is to tell all of you, from the perspective of a nine year old ballroom dancer, what the Rumba is like to her.