Rumba Cubana

In Cuba, rumba is a generic term for several types of rhythms and the dances that accompany them

Cuban Rumba has its roots in the music brought by slaves from Africa and spanish colonists.

Rumba is more than a music style; it is the collective voice of Creole population in the island.

It emerged in the Havana and Matanazas provinces in Cuba at the end of the 19th century, as a combination between the drum rhythms from Congo and the Spanish flamenco.

Being a dance with a sexual charge, rumba was often cornered and even forbidden, as it was considered dangerous and indecent.

There are three main types of Rumba Cubana: Yambu (the old style, from the colonial period), Guaguanco (the most popular) and Columbia (with the most powerful African influence and with the fastest rhythm)


Yambú is the oldest and the slowest type of rumba, it’s known as the old people rumba. It has the slowest rhythm and the specific moves are cursive and slow. It can be danced by a single dancer (usually by women) or by men together with women. Even though it’s possible that the man flirts with the woman, you will never see a vacunao like in guaguanco.


Rumba Guaguanco is faster than yambu, with a more complex rhythm, the dance is characterized by sensual flirting moves between a man and a woman. The woman is teasing the man, but at the same time she tries “to protect” herself from him. The man tries to catch the woman unprepared with a vacunao – by “throwing” a scarf or a hand, foot or pelvis movement in her direction as a symbolic sexual contact. In order to protect herself, the woman covers her pelvis with her hand or she can use her skirt / a scarf to reject the man’s sexual energy.


Rumba Columbia (not “Colombia”) is a fast and dynamic rumba type .Columbia is a demonstrative dance, usually danced by men. The dancers provoke the drum singers, especially the one with the small drum (Quinto), to sing complex rhythms that he will imitate with his creative moves, occasionally acrobatic moves are performed.  Most of the times there are several dancers in competition to demonstrate their agility, force, confidence and even humor.