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How To Appreciate Choreography In Rumba

Posted: March 12, 2011 / in: ARTICLES, DANCE LESSONS / No comments
Nicole Scherzinger and Derek Hough

Apart from the glamorous costumes, there is much more to interpret in the choreography of Rumba. The prerequisites are some basic knowledge of figures and imagination.

Choreography is the art of arranging combination of movements in a dance. The specific choreography in Rumba will therefore consist of basic figures as well as styling variations. Together with the artistic interpretation of all these preset groups of movements by the dancers, they help to paint a mental picture for the audiences. As a result, the choreography facilitates communication between the audience and the dancer. The choreography can be broken down into two main aspects.


The Quantitative Aspect


Basic Figures And Techniques: Any Rumba choreography will include some basic syllabus figures. These figures are easily recognizable by the audiences if they happen to know some techniques. Basic figures are not necessarily boring. They allow the audience to determine the technical level of a dancing couple. High-level dancers should be able to interpret basic figures so well that audiences may not notice that they are just plain syllabus patterns. For example, there are always Rumba Walks in both the lady’s and man’s parts. This is where audiences can see if these very basic movements are executed to technical perfection.
Variations And Styles: Deriving from the basic syllabus figures, these break the monotony of dancing sheer syllabus figures. For example the Alemana in Rumba could be danced continuously in different directions led by the man instead of strictly adhering to syllabus.
Challenging Moves: It is part of human nature to crave for challenging acts, or sometimes dangerous moves or just surprises. That is the reason why there are always challenging actions like sudden splits, continuous spins and turns of the lady. These are actions to wow the audience and lead the performance to a climax.

Franco Formica and Oxana Lebedew

The Qualitative Aspect

The qualitative aspect of choreography requires the audience to use some imagination. Dancing is about bringing a story to the dance floor. Interestingly, every step in Ballroom Latin dance tells a story. This is why some figures in Rumba can easily inspire a mental image or a story line in the audience members’ minds. Rumba is often termed the dance of love. So it is not difficult to imagine the intricate male and female relationship in some figures.

The Back Basic Overturn: This portrays an image of a woman walking away from the man and then returning to him.
Sliding Door: This is a very popular figure in any Rumba routine in performances or competitions. The man is presenting the lady at first and then shadowing (or caressing) the lady as if he is protecting her in real life.
Progressive Walks: This is a technically basic but beautiful figure where man dances Rumba Walk backwards and leads the lady forward with or without handhold. It could be interpreted to portray a dominant male role in a relationship.
Cuban Rocks: When man and lady are dancing the Cuban Rocks, one can imagine them moving in harmony. The lady then moves away from the man temporarily (to a Fan Position) and than back to the man again.
The Song: The song and the music played in the dance do a lot to arouse emotional responses from the audiences.

An article written by Winni Ooi

Entire article on suite101.com

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