Monday, June 26, 2017

Rumba in West Oahu

By Nancy Toyama, Kalealoa:
The rumba is from old Caribbean stock movements that had existed long before the first Europeans arrived and modified slightly by the Spanish and the freed Blacks. It has been remodified in the US and England in the last century to the present day Rumba. And we have come to accept that there are several ways of dancing Rumba. They can all be beautiful because of the music. Show business includes the International competition dancers for they are well in advanced complicated movements. The social dancers have a very different problem. It is the ordinary Rumba danced by millions just because they love to move to that music.

"Social Dancers know that the only way to make sense out of change
is to plunge into it, move with it, and join in the dance."

And it may require a syllabus of bronze and silver with less that 40 movements which can be done over and over again in sheer joy. In the Caribbean throughout the centuries, hundreds of dances have used a basic rock step and a slow step for a four count dance. To this day, the Son, Montuno, Calypso, Beguine, Mambo, Salsa, and the rest of them, the basic is the rock step and a slow step. And they usually break on the loudest beat, the accent. It had been introduced to the US in fragments by some in the big cities early in the century but it was not until Arthur Murray got a hold of it that it acquired its fascination with the American Ballroom Dancer.

"Abrazame" por Alejandro Fernandez

He made his first mistake. He figured the rock stop of the Caribbean would not be so easily acquired by the American dancers. And knowing that the square step was very "basic" he "invented" the square step for the Rumba basic, slow, quick, quick, which is still taught today even in Hawaii. After the WWII, Fred Astaire opened his own studios and used the same square step. And the Arthur Murray Studios made a second mistake and took him to the courts and they won. So Fred Astaire was a dancer and he modified the same square step to quick, quick, slow and got away with it. That split the American Style in two.

"Contigo A La Distancia" por Lucho Gatica

Then since the Latin people were so accustomed to using the rock step (quick, quick) and breaking on the accented beat, it was a natural for them to prefer the Fred Astaire American Style. The social rumba has remained a problem and is heading for a fusion using the "alternate" basic which is nothing more than the old rock step and a slow step. Now there is already an increase on Oahu, for people that have danced both styles to use the "Alternate" basic. Some men say they just start off with International basic and dance the rest of the steps American. The Arthur Murray people are not thrilled of course, but many are picking up on the new action very nicely. It is most easily accepted by those accustomed to dancing Mambo and/or Salsa. All the rest of the steps are easy and fit in very nicely.

"Social Dancers know that it isn't hard to find injustice around us, but we must never allow injustice to smear the good deeds that do occur everyday."