The Cuban Rumba began around the 1940’s and involves song, percussion, and dance. The dance form itself is only performed to specific music created using certain instruments such as the cajones, chekere, palitos, guagua, claves, Quinto, and tumbadoras. The origins of the Rumba can be traced back to the urban areas of Matanzas and Havana. The dance is actually based on African dance and music traditions along with the Spanish coros de clave.
At first, the Rumba was mainly performed in courtyards and streets while the musicians used wooden boxes for drums which were changed to conga drums as time moved forward.
There are three main styles of rumba which are Yambu, Guaguanco, and Columbia. The oldest style is believed to be the Yambu as it can be traced back to colonial times. The tempo for the dance moves is the slowest of the three and is mainly danced without a partner. In the majority of cases, it is women that do the Yambu, however, the dance if done with partners; the dance moves of the man are often flirtatious. Since the dance goes along with the music, during the first measure it is tone, then slap, and then tone. For the second measure, you just reverse and all regular notes are slaps.
Guaguanco is faster created using the coros de clave and is performed by couples. The movement of the dance is mainly made using the pelvic area in which the man tries to catch the woman with only one thrust of the pelvis. The woman open and closes her skirt dancing sexy and seductive or she can cover her pelvic area with her hands to block the advancement.
Columbia is the fastest and most energetic style of rumba mainly performed by men. With this style, the drum patterns are often created using sticks with the first measure being tone, slap, tone and the second measure reversed. Actually, the musician must be prepared to change the way he plays the drum pattern according to the dancer’s moves.