Basic Rumba Dance Steps for Beginners


rumba line dance step sheet

Rumba has similarities to Cha Cha and Salsa. The lessons below will teach you the most basic Rumba dance steps for men and women.

Rumba is generally regarded as the “dance of romance”, but also known as the “Latin waltz” or the “waltz with a wiggle”. Due to its slow rhythm and sensual movements, some call it the most intimate and passionate dance there is.

Learning rumba is not difficult. The ease of learning is actually one of the main reasons why it’s more popular today than most other Latin dances (except perhaps salsa). Once you learn the simple steps, the music does the rest.

A close up of a bottle

Rumba can be danced to a variety of music, from contemporary to traditional. Here are a few popular songs to give you an idea:

  • And I Love Her – The Beetles
  • It’s Now or Never – Elvis Presley
  • I’m Not Giving You Up – Gloria Estefan
  • Besame Mucho – Xavier Cugat
  • Falling Into You – Celine Dion
  • Neon Moon – Brooks and Dunn
  • Under the Boardwalk – The Drifters
  • Kokomo – Beach Boys
  • Girl from Ipanema – Frank Sinatra

First, Rumba Basic Steps

A man and a woman standing in front of a sunset

Rumba is usually danced to music written in 4/4 time, with four beats to each measure. The basic step is a very simple box step. It consist of three basic steps – two quick side steps and a slow forward or backward step.

The rhythm of the steps is slow, quick, quick. A slow step is danced over two counts of music, while a quick step is danced over one count.

Rumba is a spot dance which means the couple does not travel around the dance floor like in many other dances, but rather stays in one location. It is done to music with slow tempo and emphasizes on hip movements (what we call Cuban motion).

Men:

  • Fwd with left foot
  • Side with right foot
  • Close left foot to right foot
  • Back with right foot
  • Side with left foot
  • Close right foot to left foot

Women

  • Back with right foot
  • Side with left foot
  • Close right foot to left foot
  • Fwd with left foot
  • Side with right foot
  • Close left foot to right foot

Pro Tip:

You want to do what is called “cuban motion” latin technique – which can be achieved just by bending and straightening your knees through out this dance.

Next, How To Count The Rumba:

The way you count the Rumba dance is: “Slow, Quick, Quick” through out. The slow is 2 beats, while the quick is only 1 beat. An alternative way to count in numbers would be: 1,2 (Slow), 3,4 (Quick, Quick). The Rumba is 4/4 musical measure.

Lastly, Rumba Dance History & Character:

The American Rumba originated in Cuba, and became famous in the USA during the 1920’s. This dance’s character was an offshoot from the Bolero-Son dance, dances to afro-cuban inspired music. This dance incorporates a lot of foot an leg pressure into the floor with every weight change. There is a natural hip action that is achieved from bending and straightening the knees. In open figures there is an emphasize on arm styling by extending the “free arms”. Some of the popular songs that can fit the Rumba include “Save the last dance” by Michael buble and “Better Together” by Jack Johnson.

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