Have you ever watched Karate Kid?
Remember how Mr. Miyagi asked Daniel to wipe and wax all the cars in his garage to start training him for Karate - which frustrated Daniel a lot because he wanted to get to the ass kicking right away? Only to find out later on that the action of wiping actually set the fundamental movements of blocking and flow needed in Karate.
Well, Rumba Walks are like that. You might not realize it at first, but detailed movements of the Rumba walks actually set the fundamental movements of Latin dancing.
I am not saying it is the ONLY thing that you need to practice, I’m saying it helps you get your foundations right, to prepare you for the next.
Let me break it down for you:
Click on the tabs below each illustration for descriptions on how to practice. But remember, I can only try and put Rumba Walks in as many words and illustrations, but nothing can substitute actual movement and one-on-one guided studio lessons.
- Footwork – Because of the slow nature of the dance, each tiny little detail is seen by the audience. The Rumba requires beautifully pointed feet and foot articulation.
- Balance & Control – Balance can be improved by learning how to efficiently transfer the body weight from one foot to another. And with it comes control. If you arrive on a foot too early, the tendency will be to overbalance and not be able to stop the momentum. If you arrive too late, the tendency is to be back-weighted and try to catch up and fall. With the Rumba, you have so much time. You need to fill in those slow parts in the music by distributing transfer of weight efficiently, which improves your balance and works those core muscles. Because of the slow tempo of the Rumba, the dance requires the most control of a dancer’s muscles.
- Hip Movement – the primary action of the Latin dances is the Cuban motion or the “figure 8” that is done in the hips. This action tends to be more noticeable when slow, such when dancing the Rumba.
- Body Action – dancing is not just about arms and legs. This is a common mistake I see in dancers where they focus too much on the limbs and forget about the part of the body that is the reason why those limbs move in the first place.
- Posture – Posture is important no matter what figure you do. Doing your Rumba Walks is a good avenue to practice your posture as well.
Always wear your invisible crown! ;)
And that’s how an hour of Rumba Walks can help your dancing. You may choose to work on one aspect such as Hip Movement one day and then Balance the next day, or maybe focus on 2 aspects in a day, devoting 30 minutes for each. It really depends on your own pace and level of mastery.
Think of it as going to the gym where you work on and focus on each body part at a time.
Again, don’t worry if you feel awkward at first, keep doing it everyday until it is ingrained into your system and it becomes as easy as tying a shoelace.
So don’t be impatient and hop on to the “ass-kicking” right away. Practice your fundamentals, and everything else will be easy.