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The music and dance known as rumba (sometimes spelled “rhumba”) is an Americanized, ballroom-style adaption of several Cuban rhythms. The main Cuban Rhythm was known as, the "son", which was mixed with other rhythms to make different styles of music. The secondary style of music used for Rumba was Afro-Cuban rumba rhythms. Originating in the late 19th century among the Black population of the eastern Cuban province of Oriente, the "son" is a vocal, instrumental, and dance genre also derived from African and Spanish influences. The Afro-Cuban rumba developed in the poverty-stricken neighborhoods of Cuba in the mid-19th century. It encompasses vocal performance, drumming, and improvisational dancing. In the 1920s, Cuban composers and performers combined elements of both son and rumba in their music and dance, and their exciting and exotic rumba de salón became popular in the nightclubs and cabarets of Europe. In the early 1930s, rumba was introduced in the United States, but the music, which became popular in the 1930s and 1940s, featured tame English lyrics combined with “Americanized” orchestrations or, as it is often termed, “watered-down” Cuban music. The dance that emerged resembled the Cuban ballroom son with other, added dance moves.

Check out this awesome performance by one of our students!

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