The word Rumba is
a generic term, covering a variety of names (i.e., Son, Danzon,
Guagira, Guaracha, Naningo), for a type of West Indian music or
dancing. The exact meaning varies from island to island.
There are two sources of the dances: one Spanish and the other
African. Although the main growth was in Cuba, there were
similar dance developments which took place in other Caribbean
islands and in Latin America generally.
The "rumba influence" came in the 16th century with the black
slaves imported from Africa. The native Rumba folk dance is
essentially a sex pantomime danced extremely fast with
exaggerated hip movements and with a sensually aggressive
attitude on the part of the man and a defensive attitude on the
part of the woman. The music is played with a staccato beat in
keeping with the vigorous expressive movements of the dancers.
Accompanying instruments include the maracas, the claves, the
marimbola, and the drums.