Originally, the word Rumba (Room-Bah) was a generic term used to describe a music style rather than a dance style. The Rumba that is danced today is not really the "Rumba of Cuba." The Ballroom Rhumba of today is really the "Son" (slower) or" Danzon" (even slower)" in Cuba, a much slower and polite version of the true sexually "frantic" (FAST) Rumba. The "Son" was a popular middle class Cuban dance which is a modified version of the Rumba and the danzon' is even a slower version than the Son.


 The Son is played in two parts (chorus and verse) while the Son dancers only dance to the chorus. The claves (instrument) create the mood of the dance. However, it may have been originally a Pantomimic dance of Africa that found its way to Cuba (Afro-Cuban.) The son as a music began to take shape in the latter half of the 19th century in Cuba's Oriente province, and gave birth to several hybrids including the afro-son, guajira-son, son-pregón and son-montuno. The son is perhaps the most important form at the root of today's popular salsa music. After a period of change and development here in the States, the Son evolved into a popular sensual couples dance known today as the "Rumba".


Lew Quinn and Joan Sawyer is said to have tried the first real attempt at introducing the Rumba to Americans as far back as 1913, followed by Emil Coleman in 1923 and by Benito Collada in 1925 at a club called "El Chico" in Greenwich Village. In 1929 a small interest was growing in Latin-American music and in 1930 a Nuevos Ritmo (new rhythm) song called "The Peanut Vendor" by Don Azpiazu's Havana Casino Orchestra was released which became a hit as a new DANCE to America dance form.

By the 1930's all of America had became knowledgeable of Latin music and the Rumba. The "American Rumba" of today is a version of the son that Quinn and Sawyer tried to introduce years ago. Today it is known as a "Latin-Ballroom" couples dance, also known as the "Dance Of Romance."


Many of the erotic movements stem from the original dancers doing the tasks of the day such as "shoeing the mare", "climbing a rope" or the "courtship of barnyard fowls." The costumes that many performers wear, represent this in the woman's long ruffled train of her skirt (hens feathers) or the mans ruffled shirt sleeves and or chest which represents the cocks hackle feathers. The Rumba is a nice dance for dancers to showcase their technique ability on a dance floor.


The Rumba is erroneously spelled Rhumba at times. The Jamaican Mento dance closely resembles the Rumba. The Rumba was replaced in popularity by the Mambo, and later the Cha-Cha.


Also a new dance (c.1975) called the Night Club-Two Step was originally known as "Disco Two Step" (Buddy Schwimmer) is a modern semi-version of the Rumba, (a few say samba), it is done to modern slow music by pop artists such as Madonna etc. NC-2 is mainly done in the West Coast Swing community.


Birth Place             Havana

Creation Date         1910s

Creator                   Cuba

Dance Type            Folk Latin / Couples