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Rumba-Legend

Around 1930, the Cuban sound was renamed rhumba in the United States, under the impulse of Xavier Cugat, and rumba became a ballroom dance, which will be part of the Latin dances in sport dance (despite its name, it is rather danced on Cuban or Mexican boleros).

In its current form, the basic figures keep the old images of the female intentions to dominate the men by their charms.

During a good rumba choreography, one should always see the elements of attraction and rejection between man and woman.
The erotic and sensual movements of women will obtain a response of desire and male domination; it's the man who always wins at the end.

Rumba is danced all over the world today. It is popular in many countries and rumba lessons are available in some major cities.

The rhythm of the "rumba" is counted in 4 steps. The basic step is to make a suspension then a step on each of the following 3 beats. ("nothing [actually a hip sag] -2-3-4"; "nothing, 2,3,4". It takes two measurements to make a full box.

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Rumba was born in the patios of the solares and the port docks in Havana (yambù and guaguanco) and in Matanzas (Siguirya and Columbia) during the 1800s in Afro-Cuban circles. The term (perhaps derived from the Spanish rumbo, en route…) designates the nocturnal parties where we gather (often in building courtyards, the “solares”) to sing and dance.

It is music made up of songs and percussion. At the very beginning, we used the drawers of the cupboards (cajones) or crates of cod, the crates of the sails of ships, the boxes of cigars struck with bare hands or with small wooden spoons (cucharas), but also the congas (called in Cuba, tumbadoras).

The tumbadoras being drums of Congolese origin used for rituals of Bantu origin (palo, makuta, garabato); transformation of barrels, without bottoms and on which dried animal skins are stretched.

The influence of ethnic groups of Nkua origin (abakua, efi, efo ...) is also predominant in the rhythm, song and dance of rumba. There are four forms:

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The oldest and fastest is the siguirya, a term found in the flamenca nomenclature; the rhythm is 6/8, extremely fast and was played on Congo drums. It is a derivative of what is called Palo Congo. Pelladito was one of the few who could still play it. -mime of the slave freeing himself from his shackles. It is originally a dance of virtuoso men, with a fast rhythm. It can be used as a joust, each in turn shows his skill, immediately followed by another who will try to surpass him.

Yambú: the term derives from yambula, the “tierra de les remolinos”, land of whirlpools (African lands of the Briyumba hills where aerial whirlpools are not uncommon). Its traditional dance consists of turns on oneself, both of men and women. Undoubtedly, turning on oneself provokes a modified state of consciousness which the African populations interpreted as the possession by the spirit of the ancestors.

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This dance, a bit out of fashion, is preserved by the older generations, so their dance is like them, tired! The youngest who dare there therefore imitate the awkwardness of age. It is also mimed on this rhythm the Saint Lazare-Babalu Aye-Coballende, protective deity of the sick and himself affected by leprosy, walking trembling on his crutches.

The yambu begins with a fairly long introduction called "diana", drum call and voice arpeggios, in imitation of the military bugler buzzer sounds and also a souvenir of the lalaeo of the gypsies of Andalusia.

Then, the gallo (the rooster) sings a decima, a poetic form from the Andalusian romance, ten octosyllabic verses, then it is the montuno which progresses until its conclusion by increasingly short choruses and a real acceleration of the tempo , another evocation of African whirlpools.

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Guaguancó is the most popular form of rumba today. The narrative texts deal with daily life: politics, love ... The dance revolves around the "vacunao" with erotic meaning, symbolized by a gesture of the dancer or by a scarf that will pursue the dancer, and that this one seeks to avoid it throughout the dance. In the guaguancó, the rhythm is in 2/2.

Rhese last three musical forms are built around the clave, originally in 6/8, then having drifted in 2/2, due to the polyrhythmic “filling” in four flows over three decompositions of time.

In addition and on the contrary, in columbia, the “soloist” discourse of the quinto frequently marks four flows on the ternary decomposition of the pulsations.

Rumba is one of the most Andalusian-African genres in Cuba.

Rumba Flamenca        Rumba Catalane       Rumba Congolaise     Rumba (danse de salon)

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