Introduction: Rumba is the basic for all the other latin dances. It may seem slow, boring, and easy to grasp the moves, but to do them perfectly is very difficult. Strive for perfection here and use the slow tempo to your advantage by understanding how eery muscle in your body moves. That way, when you do faster and more complicated dances, you'll have a good foundation to work off of.
Frame: Standard. Count: 4 beats. Start on the 2nd beat.

Leaders and Followers: The exact same moves, simply mirrored. When the leader steps to the left, the follower steps to the right. When the leader steps forward, the follower steps back. You get the idea.

Instructions (Leader Perspective)
Start with your weight on the right leg. Your left foot should be pointed and with a lifted heel. Both legs are straight.
Pay attention to where your legs are straight and where they are bent.
Below is the beat count and the corresponding steps.

2. Left foot slides to your right foot. Weight is still on your right leg. Consequently, your right leg is still straight while your left leg is slightly bent.
From there, your left leg shoots forward into a lock position. Weight is now evenly distributed between your legs. Lock Position: Front leg is straight. Back leg is bent such that its knee fits into the crook of the front knee. Back heel should be up. Feet should form a 90 degree angle.
3. Rock back so that your weight is on your right leg. Both legs straight. Right foot is flat; left foot is pointed.
4. This count is extra long. Use that time to your advantage. Do the opposite of what you did in Beat 2. Your left foot now slides back to your right foot. Weight is still on your right leg. Right leg straight; left leg bent. From there, your left leg shoots out to the left. Left leg is now straight. You are now currently in the position you originally started in.
Continuing, over the course of this beat, you shift your weight from your right leg to your left leg. The moment beat 4 ends is the exact moment as when you should finish shifting your weight. In your final position, you should be opposite that of how you started. Both legs straight, weight on the left leg, right foot pointed.
2. Slide your right foot next to your left. Your weight is still on your left leg. Now shoot your right leg back. Both legs should be straight, weight evenly divided. Plant your back heel. It is very easy to cheat here and only shift your weight slightly. Shift it so that your back foot is planted.
3. Rock back so that your weight is on your left leg. Both legs straight. Left foot is flat; right foot is pointed.
Repeat Beat 4, in the opposite direction.
You are now in your original position.

Instructions (Follower Perspective)
Exactly the same as the leader.

Tips and Tricks
  • Take it Slow. Seriously, when you practice rumba, use its slow tempo to your advantage. If you've got free time to practice, practice Rumba. You will see your other dances improve significantly if you practice the basics of weight transfer.
  • Legs And Weight. This cannot be said enough. It is very important for you to be extremely aware at all times of where your weight is and whether your legs are straight or not.
  • Pushing Off. The whole idea behind shifting weight is to make dancing efficient and easy. Instead of lifting your foot and placing it where you want, it is much easier to instead push off the floor and use weight transfer as your way of moving about, gliding and shifting.
  • Beat. It's easy to rush the beats such that when you're done transferring your weight, there's still about half a beat to go and you're just standing there, doing nothing. Take your time: you have more than enough time to complete whatever move you're doing. Make your moves look effortless with gliding, not stilted with stopping.
  • Toe-Ball-Heel. This is how your foot should be hitting the ground when you take a step. First with the toes, then with the ball, then with the heel. This makes your weight transfer look sexy.


Advanced Concepts
Hips. Hips are an essential styling element in rumba. Next to posture, proper hip motion is one of the key factors that make a dancer look good on the floor. Unfortunately, this is easier said than done, and even most silver level dancers don't do this correctly. Here are some essential points to remember:
  • Sequence of actions in Rumba is: Step, Weight transfer, then Hip action
  • Basic hip movement is a semicircular rotation over the standing leg, forward to back. This action is caused by a contraction of the lat muscle (as opposed to a movement in the non-standing leg, which only the case in American Rumba).
  • Keep in mind that hip movement is always initiated on the standing leg. This means, if you do not have your weight on your leg, don't move that hip
  • In the Rumba basic, every weight transfer should be accompanied by a full hip action. Remember that "3" is also a weight transfer. You must therefore rotate your hip back prior to stepping on 4.
  • In general, hip motion provides a way to "fill in" the spaces between steps, Use it to make your dancing more fluid, dynamic, and sexy
  • The visual impact of hips depends on isolation. Therefore practice hip motion that does not interfere with the rest of your upper frame. Think about having softer hips -- you should not feel like you're spending energy moving your hips; rather they should follow naturally from your leg actions and weight transfers. It will take time to develop flexible hips; as usual, it is better to start small than to overextend yourself.