Music and dance play an important role and is very
popular in Cuba. In the countryside or in the towns
it punctuates the life of the Cubans. The island has
a vibrant dance culture. Cuba has a vibrant dance
culture. Music and dance strongly linked in the
island is very popular. Son, Danzon, Chachacha,
Rhumba, Mambo, Pilon and Ruedo are among the most
popular Cuban dances. Among them all some have
crossed the Cuban frontiers.
The ‘Son’ originated from the Maestria Mountains and
the starting point of all the dances of Cuba. Coming
from the Oriente province of Cuba, it has African
and Hispanic roots. When the son arrived to Havana
and gave way to different types of Son namely the
Son montuno, the Son urbano and the sucu sucu. The
Son is danced by a couple where the male partner
performs many postures both simple and difficult
with his female partner for example the tornillo
(made up of rotations of the body till it is
parallel to the floor).
The cha-cha-cha or cha-cha, derived from the Mambo,
is Cuban dance music. This dance was introduced in
1951 by Cuban composer and violinist Enrique Jorrin.
According to him, the sound made the dancers’ shoes
made the sound cha-cha-cha while they tried to
follow the rhythm. The cha-cha is the named of some
seeds in the Caribbean islands.
The first Danzon was played by Miguel Failde a
musician. It is an adaptation the contradanza. The
danced not well accepted at first but is now
considered as a national dance. There are different
types of Danzon coming from the various regions of
Cuba. In the Danzon dance, there are two parts that
alternate; the dancing part and the relaxing part.
It is in relation with the music. Danced in couple
the introduction and the relaxing part are not
danced (the dancers have time to talk with their
partners or other couples) the active part and the
‘montuno’ or final part where the dancers are given
the opportunity to perform more difficult postures.
Pilon is a Cuban musical style and dance which was
very popular in the 1950s. Originating from the
village of the same name, it imitates the movements,
rhythms and steps are according the movements of
pounding the sugar cane. Pacho Alonso is believed to
be the father of the Pilon.
Rumba bears many similarities with the Santeria
music and dance but unlike it is not danced for
religious purposes or in religious ceremonies. It
originates from the African slaves who blended their
African traditional dance with the European /Spanish
influences Cuban in the 18th and 19th centuries to
create a purely Cuban dance that is part of the
Cuban inheritage and count as national dance of the
The rumba is a variety of musical rhythms associated
with dances. Of the many types of rumba, only three
survived after the 1950s, there are three main types
of rumba (American version rhumba) namely the yambł
the guaguanco and the columbia. All the three types
of rumba though having different instruments
accompanying the dance lyrics and choreography are
The yambł is danced with a very slow tempo. It is
said to be an old aged dance because of its slow
pace and it imitates the difficult movements of the
elderly people in their daily life. In this dance
the pelvis movement is not performed.
The guaguancó the most popular form of rumba is a
new form of rumba coming from the towns. This dance
is very aggressive and sensual at the same time. The
guaguanco is danced by a couple and is the
simulation a man pursuit of her female partner her
attempts to turn him down and her conquest at the
end her capitulation and the sexual conquest of the
The Columbia originated from the Matazas region. It
is danced by a man in solo who mimes many people at
work or in their daily activities for example the
football player, the cyclist the driver the cane
cutters or farmers. The dancer’s body must be supple
for it requires many acrobatic movements.
Bolero is danced by either a solist or a coup it is
a 3 / 4 tempo. Originate from spain and a lending of
sevillana and contradanza . Accompanied by castanets
and guitars and music that is sung.