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Rumba History

With two primary sources of the dance, one Spanish, the other African, Rumba's main growth was in Cuba, though similar dance developments took place in other Caribbean islands, and in Latin America generally.

The "rumba influence" came in the 16th century with slaves imported from Africa. The native Rumba folk dance is essentially a sex pantomime danced extremely fast with exaggerated hip movements, the man's sensually aggressive attitude countered by a defensive one on the part of the woman.

As recently as the second world war, the "Son," a modified, slower and more refined version of the native Rumba, was a popular dance of the middle classes in Cuba, and the still slower "Danzon" was preferred by the wealthy. Very small steps are taken, with the women producing a very subtle tilting of the hips, alternately bending and straightening the knees.

Rumba Page 2
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