Rumba developed in the Cuban provinces of Havana and Matanzas in the late 19th century.
Historically Rumba was marginalised because it was viewed as dangerous and lewd.
Cuban Rumba can be broken down into three main types: Yambú, Columbia, and Guaguancó
Rumba Yambú is the oldest and slowest known style of rumba, sometimes called the
Old People's Rumba. It uses the slowest beat of the three Rumba styles and incorporates
movements feigning frailty. It can be danced alone or by men and women together.
Although male dancers may flirt with female dancers during the dance, they do not
use the vacunao of Rumba Guaguancó.
Rumba Guaguancó is faster than yambú, with more complex rhythms, and involves overtly
flirtatious movements between a man and a woman in the roles of "Rooster" and "Hen".The
woman both entices and "protects herself" from the man, who tries to catch the woman
off-guard with a vacunao -- tagging her with the flip of a handkerchief or by throwing
his arm, leg or pelvis in her direction in an act of symbolic sexual contact. To
defend herself, she may cover with her hand, or use her skirt to protect her pelvis
and whip the sexual energy away from her body. Guaguancó most likely inherited the
idea of the 'vacunao' from yuca or macuta dances, which were both brought to Cuba
by Bantú ethnic groups.
Rumba Columbia Solo, traditionally male, dancers displays acrobatic movements. Men
may also compete with other men to display their agility, strength, confidence and
even sense of humour