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Cuban Rumba Essay

Cuban music is a combination of genres and styles, which encompasses quite a long history. Cuban music has been molded by the music and voices of Latin America, Europe, and even Jazz. Of course, Spain and Africa did also have an evident influence on the music as well. There are many different types of Cuban music; all of which is meant for the soul to enjoy. Rumba is a actually a secular folkloric form of music, which consists of drumming, dancing and singing of both African and Spanish languages that has been performed for ages. The rumba term or influence is actually derived from the 16th century when black slaves were imported

from Africa, and the word Rumba can cover a variety of terms such as Son, Guagira, Guaracha, and Naningo. However, the exact meaning of the word varies from location to location. Still, it is strongly evident that the Cuban Rumba dance hails originally from Africa where the native Rumba folk dance was essentially a sexual dance that was vigorously fast with strong and forceful hip movements as well as sensually aggressive attitudes on the part of a man and a defensive attitude on the part of a woman. The music, itself was played with a staccato beat, keeping up with the thrusting and vigorous movements

of the passionate dancers. Instruments that were also included were the marimbola, the claves, and the drums. The “Son” was the popular dance of middle class Cuba. It is, in fact, a modified slower and even more refined version of the native Rumba. The instruments are basically still the same as are the movements. However, they are toned down a bit. And, even slower than this dance is the “Danzon”. The Danzon is the dance of wealthy Cuban society. In this dance, very small steps are taken, while the women producea very subtle tilting

of the hips by alternately bending and straightening the knees. The dance known in the United States today as the Rumba is a composite of several dances popular in Cuba, including the guaracha, the Cuban bolero, the Cuban son, and the rural rumba. All of the dances have very similar rhythms that can be traced back to religious and ceremonial dances of Africa. The same pulsating dance rhythms may still be found in parts of Africa, but the dances have been altered by contact with other cultures and races. For example, The rural rumba is a pantomimic dance originating in the rural areas.

It depicts the movements of various barnyard animals in an amusing manner, and is basically an exhibition, rather than a participation dance. Both the Cuban son and the Cuban bolero are moderate tempo dances in traditional ballroom form. The guaracha is distinguished by its fast, cheerful tempo. Ten after Americans modified the tempo of the Cuban rumba, later band leader Emil Coleman imported Rumba musicians and dancers to New York but no interest developed. Real interest in Latin music began about 1929 as a result of increased American tourism to Latin America. In 1935 George

Raft appeared with Carole Lombard in a movie called “Rumba” in which he played a suave dancer who wins the lady through dancing. Rumba’s unique styling and unusual musical rhythms immediately captured the fancy of ballroom dance enthusiasts, and it has retained its popularity to the present time. The Cuban style is characterized by forward and backward steps. The American version is done in a box pattern with “Cuban motion” as it’s chief characteristic. “Cuban motion” is a discreet, expressive hip motion achieved by bending and straightening the legs and carefully timed weight changes. American Rumba is one of the most

popular ballroom dances today. The rumba itself refers to several Latin dance forms, which can all differ greatly. Almost all rumba dances are meant to infer the sexual relationship between partners. The moves can be subtle or quite obvious, which is all depending on the type of form danced The Cuban rumba is very different than what one would see in a ballroom dancing competition. The dance is highly energetic and was thought to have derived directly from the dancing of African slaves from around the West Indies and the Caribbean. Dance historians date performance of this form of rumba back as

early as the late 16th century. Some of the moves are so suggestive and frank, that the dance was often considered unacceptable in the countries it was performed, and was actually prohibited. The Cuban rumba requires a high degree of athleticism, as it is very fast. The dance represents a seduction attempt on the part of the male, with the female standing resistant to the man’s charms. This form of rumba frequently includes acrobatic moves, like handstands, flips and cartwheels, usually performed by the male. In order to achieve sexual gratification, he must impress his female partner.

The second part of the Cuban rumba usually brings the dancers close together, and the movements are easily indicative of sexual longing. There is much what one might deem “inappropriate” body contact when the couples connect, and many moves indicate various sexual positions with the male clearly dominant. The partners are often hip to hip in dance connections. This type of form is rarely seen except in exhibitions since it requires a great deal of space to perform it properly. The dancers are mostly apart, and utilize a significant amount of floor space while performing very different acrobatic moves far apart from each other.

In conclusion, today the rumba is known to be one of the most popular ballroom dances because of it’s interesting movements and rhythms. The Cuban Rumba is one of the most important and popular folkloric styles still played frequently in Cuba at musical parties. This is one of the most difficult and syncopated of all Cuban musical styles in popular folklore, both in its music and dance. Guaguanco is a medium paced rumba style that is danced by a couple. BIBLIOGRAPHY http://www. centralhome. com/ballroomcountry/rumba. htm http://www. ibiblio. org/mao/cuba/music. html


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